Blair Wilson – Can Taking Time Off The Gym Increase Muscle Gain?

Blair Wilson and Rick R on MedX Lower Back
Blair “Rick, do I have to train to failure?!” Rick “Yes, Blair, I’m afraid you do …”

Blair Wilson is the co-founder of MedX Precision Fitness (@Medxfitness), a fast growing strength training facility in Toronto, Canada. Prior to starting MedX Precision Fitness, Blair was a professional water skier and long time mentee to John LittleBlair has contributed to several influential studies on the mechanisms of fitness and weight loss – two of which have been published in international publications – and he is also a founding member of the Canadian Sarcopenia Foundation.

Check out the MedX Precision Fitness Bod Pod Service – HERE

In this episode, Blair and I focus mostly on his recent findings from data on himself and his own clients. Blair has noticed that many of his trained clients have noticed significant muscle gain following periods of extending rest from regular training. This is an ideal episode for you if you’re a trained individual who is looking to optimise muscle gain over the long-term or a business owner looking to do the same for your clients.

Client data – pending

Blair Wilson on Nautilus Pull Over
Eyes closed and focused during the Discover Strength, Nautilus Pull Over.

In this episode, we cover:

  • How taking time off the gym can increase muscle gain in trained individuals
  • How this finding can inform training programming over the long term
  • Higher frequency vs lower frequency training
  • Bod Pod vs DEXA vs electric sales – what makes the most sense?
  • … and much more

All of the photos and videos on this post were taken at Discover Strength, Minneapolis, Minnesota, during the Resistance Exercise Conference in 2018. These were taken during the early morning workout on day 2. It was the hardest workout I had ever done (my photos coming soon). The Resistance Exercise Conference is an amazing experience. I had the time of my life. It is an opportunity to connect with like-minded high achievers in strength training, hear from the leading researchers and practitioners and learn a ton about strength training practice and business. Going forward, I am looking to attend every single year.

Blair Wilson
Blair on the Discover Strength, MedX Leg Press. I have no idea what he’s smiling about?!

Listen below:

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Would you like to hear more from Blair Wilson? Check out this episode where Blair talks about how he started MedX Precision Fitness, his business goals, and the HIT and nutrition protocols he uses on himself and his clients, and much more. Listen here or stream below:


This episode is brought to you by Hituni.com, providers of the best online courses in high intensity training that come highly recommended by Dr. Doug McGuff, Dr James Fisher and Luke Carlson. Course contributors include world-class exercise experts like Drew Baye, Ellington Darden and Skyler Tanner. If you want to become an excellent HIT Personal Trainer, create a great team of trainers, build a successful fitness business or significantly improve your knowledge of high intensity training, I highly recommend you use CW10 to get 10% off courses – HERE

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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: Have you experimented with periodic lay-offs from training? If so, what were the results? Let me know in the comments below.


Selected Links from the Episode

People Mentioned

  • qas

    As you say Lawrence, it’s remarkable that such interesting insights are coming out of “a local gym ” 🙂

    It seems, in layman’s terms, that maybe the body needs a long enough pause from near-term demand to permit a re-allocation of resources to building muscle. Beyond recovery to rejuvenation.

    Train harder and smarter

    • https://corporatewarrior.co Lawrence Neal

      Indeed it is! I love science but no harm in tinkering in the gym too!

      Re your point on recovery, been informed by a researcher that acute
      muscle damage = MPS and recovery but not hypertrophy (super compensation) as per Blair’s point during this, so looking to having said researcher on podcast! ????

      • Julien

        Looking forward to that teased podcast Lawrence, will the actual timecourse of these recovery and supercompensation processes be discussed as well? I wonder if limiting muscle damage somehow will speed up this process.

        • https://corporatewarrior.co Lawrence Neal

          Hey Julien, the podcast is booked, and I intend to ask everything in your comment and much more :D. It’s a fair few weeks away yet and another fews weeks to publish, but watch this space! 😀

  • enlite

    Very interesting podcast ! It doesn’t surprise me that much that Blair is discovering these types of findings because i’ve found that more time between sessions seems to increase my muscle mass . I say seems to because i’ve only taken arm measurements to confirm this , better than nothing right !

    • https://corporatewarrior.co Lawrence Neal

      Interesting! I might have to bite the bullet and experiment with longer occasional rest periods on myself.

  • Nathan Adams

    I’m not quite sure what is so surprising about Blair’s findings with his clients. I mean, there’s obviously a lag between the training stimulus and tissue growth, right? Is he saying that the lag is longer than expected?

    • https://corporatewarrior.co Lawrence Neal

      Yes in part, but he’s also saying that maybe we can get more gains by occasionally inserting 2-3 week breaks in our training. Since it might take longer for muscle to super compensate vs recover. However, I cannot tell you the last time I had as long as 2 weeks off training. It reminds me of what Mark Asanovich was telling me. He will do a program for 8-10 weeks (don’t quote me) and take a 2 week break before commencing a new program. Listen here https://corporatewarrior.co/podcast/mark-asanovich-nfl-high-intensity-training/

  • Malcolm Dick

    A fascinating and interesting interview Lawrence. I couldn’t agree more with the concept that well before you have to start using a cane or a walker, start strength training!
    It has the potential to add not only years to your life, but quality of life to your years and reduce the need for both medical intervention and also being placed into an aged care facility

    • https://corporatewarrior.co Lawrence Neal

      Hear hear Malcolm! It’s exciting stuff. I love all these gym based findings 😀 Glad you enjoyed the podcast.