How to do Rest Day Correct
Do you remember a couple years ago there was this craze on the internet called #nodaysoff ? Everybody joined in on the fun and if you did decide to take a day off then you were labeled “lazy”. Well, I think that is the DUMBEST thing I have ever heard! Pardon my language, but it's true!
Honestly, the joke is on all of those people raving about not taking any days off and working out 24/7. There are so many things wrong with that. For starters, your body is going to be tired so you won’t be able to hit any PR (Personal Records) in the gym, you will be more prone to injury since your muscles are fatigued, you will be hungrier since your body is burning all these calories, and it will most probably cause you to overeat or even worse, binge! But what’s majorly wrong with this is….your muscles won’t grow! Shocker, right?!
Did you know that you’re actually tearing up your muscles at the gym every time you workout? The real growth and recovery occurs while you rest. This is why it is imperative to give your body the rest it needs and to fuel it with good nutrition. Some coaches prefer an “Active” rest day which means that you do some light cardio that can involve activities like rollerblading, walking the dogs, table tennis, swimming, etc. That is all great because you increase your NEAT (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) and in turn have better chances of losing weight. However, you’re not really allowing your muscles to fully recuperate because you are using them still. This is just my philosophy and many other coaches have their own as well which is why it can be so controversial. I am just letting you know what has worked best for me and my clients.
I like to completely rest on my days off from the gym. I try to not even do cardio, however, there have been weeks where I have no other choice because of scheduling conflicts. Ideally though, I would suggest you to get a massage, drink lots of fluids, stick to your macros and really try to consume whole, nutrient dense foods so that you are properly fueling your muscles. BCAAS & Creatine are also a must on these days if you’re trying to increase muscle mass. Something else that I would recommend is to foam roll (I show you how to do it here) and do some stretching or even yoga.
How many days should you rest? Ideally you should aim for 2-3 days, unless you have a competition. I normally like to have a rest day somewhere in between the week (maybe Wednesday) and then at the end of the week (Sunday). I like to do this because it gives your muscles time to regenerate and rest in the middle of your workout week which allows you to hit the gym even harder following your rest day. I also like Sundays because that way you can start the new week fresh and ready to kill it!
What are some of the things you do on your rest days?