I have been getting emails from competitors asking if/when they should take time off from training. Absolutley!! Intense(key word here) training physique competitors should take micro rest periods every 10-16 weeks depending on the individual's biofeedback and their current training protocol. In a study by Schjerling, Saltin, & Andersen individuals were put thru a 3 month high intensity training program and the conversion of Type 2b to Type 2a white fiber was predictable. They performed a muscle biopsy from the vastus lateralis which revealed that Type 2b was reduced from 9% to 2% during training.

When the training was stopped the researchers saw an overshoot in percentage of fibers. During the off periodthe amount of Type 2b fibers did not just return to normal but instead overshoot to previously unattainable average values of 18%, which is more than double what they started with. Another group who continued training did not attain the overshoot phenonmenon.

So they take home point is if you train with high intensity, as most should, then you need to take a break from the gym every 10-16 weeks IMO for long term progress. I've been doing this myself for the past 8 years and with my clinets as well and results, well being, and motivation couldn't be better.