Well, I’m just going to be straight forward here. About a month and a half ago, I started working out in my house like every day for about two weeks. Then, I received a lot of work because I’m a student and cut the workout times down to about 2-3 times a week but to compensate I added more exercises(different types of pushups) in the workout, so I could further work on my arms and chest. At first, it was relaxing as my workouts felt hard but very doable. Now, it seems like I can’t do as many reps of pushups and I have to keep lowering my dumbbell weight because it’s getting harder and harder to bicep curl, even though I did the same weight easily before. So now I genuinely think my muscles are fatigued because as far as I know I am physically growing(slightly) and I believe my form and lifestyle is good. I am a 18 year old male with about a very wavering calorie intake(1800-2600) and 10 hours of sleep, but a decent amount of stress. Should I take a break for recovery purposes and if so, how long should it be before I return?

  • were you just lifting or were there also elements of recovery involved (foam rolling, stretching, etc?) high levels of stress can leave you feeling mentally drained, you may just need to swap the routine to something a bit easier on the body to keep you moving Apr 21, 2020 at 0:53
  • When I was lifting with the same weight, it was harder but for everyday activity and recovery, I felt stronger.
    – Idkanymore
    Apr 21, 2020 at 2:27

1 Answer 1


There could be multiple things to look at, but to answer your question, yes.. everyone exercising needs to take a break. The more experienced you are, the more often you take breaks. Typically this "deload" is 9 to 14 days and can include your rest days so that it just feels like a week off. Generally this is done every 6 to 8 weeks. After a deload, it's not a bad idea to swap some exercises and change your routine up so your body will adapt. This could be the second issue..if you're doing push-ups and dumbbell curls consistently maybe consider adding reps, lowering reps but adding weight, or switching exercises entirely. Maybe instead of push-ups do a floor press, or incline curls. Also are you doing a balanced workout between all muscle groups.. asymmetry can stall growth. The third thing is stress.. college is super stressful sometimes which increases cortisol and that can affect your workout in various ways such as breaking down muscle tissue and negatively impacting your gains..sound familiar? Look here fore more info on how cortisol affects you: https://www.dnafit.com/advice/fitness/cortisol-stress-and-exercise.asp The last thing is your diet. I know you said your calories are roughly 1800 to 2600 but is that consistently and are your macros good? For bulking/hypertrophy/strength you should have 50% complex carbs such as brown rice and oatmeal, and simple carbs before a workout and after like bananas or honey. 1 g protein for each pound you weigh and 20% fat. Stay hydrated as well. All of these will help your strength.

And a personal opinion but if you want to increase push-ups try a weight on your back and do as many as you can, then add weight. Simply adding reps and your exercise will go from endurance to cardio which there are more efficient ways to build then hammering out push-ups.

  • 1
    Thanks for the advice. I will take your suggestion and break at least a week and a half starting now. For my workout, it hits all muscle groups mostly the same so I don’t think asymmetry is an issue with me. For diet, it’s consistent and I am getting about 300 grams of carbs and 50 grams of protein but I always forget to drink water so that might be an issue I’ll fix. When I recover, I might add weights on my pushups and I’ll remove some excessive exercises.
    – Idkanymore
    Apr 21, 2020 at 19:10
  • @idkanymore sure no problem. I feel great after taking a break.. I am stronger when I go into the gym so I'm sure you'll feel better. I think that and drinking more water should be plenty. I don't know your thought on protein but you could try to shoot up to 100grams at least. You'd be surprised how doing less can equal more gains. I think the 3 day workout is just the right amount of training for you too
    – user32213
    Apr 24, 2020 at 3:14

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