Oh the dirty word, if you have ever spent any amount of time in a box or gym and are passionate about your gains and results. I suspect then,  you can either relate directly with this picture or at least know a few people that feel this way when they finally take a “Rest Day“?

 

 

Rest days appear to be a double edged sword for me. If you are like me, it was a monumental effort to get you finally into the gym, and even more of a feat to get excited and motivated about being there. I am sure it happened to me over night, I woke up and I was seeing results!!

  •  New PR’s
  • I was faster and stronger
  • I was looking better, and losing weight

Heck I am only hitting the gym 3 days a week, what if I just trained 5 days a week. I could get more results faster… What an Idea, right???  Then at some point I found my self going every day, afraid to miss a workout… and for a while, my great idea was paying off, and then@!!?!?!?!

Crash and burn…

When our body is telling us something different then our brain

One of the hardest concepts that I find myself able to grasp about the fitness and health world,  is how much your mind and brain (Neurological) play as much of a role in your bodies ability succeed in the gym as your physical body does.  I struggle with this,  because I  enjoy the results of my hard work, seeing the transformations and gains. Its funny that I personally cannot recognize the need for rest days myself,  because I can sit and see everyone else’s follies when it comes to their train every day mindset..

I sit in the gym and listen to them gripe because last week they could squat 40lbs. more  then they did today,  or they were able to run that mile in 8:33 and this week it was 10 minutes and they are dead tired.   All the while I sit there thinking to myself, duh… You have been training like a mad man for days on end.. You body is telling you something, REST!!

It seems so simple when your an outsider right to recognize this, but why can’t we see it ourselves, but for someone that is focused on RESULTS, it really is not that easy. Its like you have to prove to us that by taking time off from the gym,  we will come back better and stronger.. Most importantly for those of us that have the essence of weight loss attached to their training regimen.. We have to see that we will not gain any weight by taking that time off as well, and that can be unsettling!!!

 

There is some actual science and practicality to allowing your body to rest. You can only push it so far, before breakdown will start to occur! Simply put, the “Law of Diminishing Marginal Returns” – an investment/economic term but the concept is the same

You are getting less and less gains by working out more and more and at some point you will be taking steps backwards. I hate taking steps backwards, it seems useless and pointless. To avoid this, I am constantly looking for that magical quadrant between gains and degradation. When I think I have found it, then I figure out how I will inject your rest/recovery days…

 

So if you are like me, the gym life has become more then just a place that you go “work out”…  You spend hours and hours a week in your gym, and you see the same people day after day…  Its fairly common to have created some relationships, and friendships over time and now its become another place to socialize as much as getting fit…  So when we think about a rest day,  not only are we giving up our gains, but we are giving up on our time to socialize, hear about the latest PR’s, or video about the guy doing some amazing lift on Facebook…  So why would I give up a day at the gym for something as trivial as a rest day????

An answer for me is this…   “Active Recovery Days”

Your body needs some basic things to recover:

  1. Sleep
  2. Hydration
  3. Nutrition
  4. Stretching/foam rolling/mobility
  5. Heat and ice compression

Most of these things you can do outside of the gym and you should be doing every day, especially sleep and nutrition.. My favorite quote to this day is:

“You Can’t out train a bad diet”

An active recovery day allows you to still move around, get into the gym.. Maybe walk on the treadmill or row, roll out, do some stretching, etc.. Its not a total down day, it keeps you stretched out and your muscles active. It allows you to maintain that daily schedule you are used too.. Most importantly for the people that feel the guilt like I do when I miss a gym day, this helps in some small way,  helps us feel not so guilty for not going full #Beastmode today.

It goes with out saying an actual rest day should be programmed into your normal routine… There is no replacement for a off days and muscle recovery. But as I have mentioned in my previous post, EVERYONE is different in how they are wired and what it takes to keep them motivated to stay the course. Some people can take that day off and come right back at it hard. Some take that day off, and get confused and take a week or 2 off, and then come back frustrated that they have lost ground. That is why I stress that however you decide to program your fitness schedule, you have to be willing to do some trial and error and fine tune what works for you. But what I can tell you,  is working out 7 days a week for weeks on end is not a recipe for longevity, but one certain to road to disaster…

 

Remember our fitness lifestyle is not one that can happen today or over night. The person that will win, is the person that makes plans for the long-term, not just for today!