Rest Days and Short Breaks from the Gym
I’m not an advocate of taking long breaks from the gym. Some say you need a week off from training once or twice a year. Anytime I’ve ever taken a whole week off from the gym it seemed to set me back further than I wanted. Maybe that’s because I’m a little older now and if you don’t use it, you’ll quickly lose it. However, taking rest days here and there and short breaks from the gym can be extremely beneficial, and often necessary.
I’ve been training 5 days a week, for the most part. I woke up Thursday morning (training day number 4, which has lately been my 2nd back workout of the week) and was feeling I needed a break. So I laid back down and slept for another couple of hours. When I woke up Friday morning I was well rested and ready to train. And periodically I would go in on a Saturday and hit a light leg workout for the 2nd time of the week. I’ve recently stopped doing that as well. Overall, I feel better. There may be a time when I ramp it up again as far as training frequency, but that time isn’t now.
Don’t Burn Out
I’ve been feeling burnt out lately and we all get that way with life sometimes. I think these are the times when we may need to take an extra day or two of rest. It doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t do any kind of activity that day. In my case, I’ll still take a walk or may even do a few push-ups or something; I just won’t lift weights those days. I almost always come back the next training day more energized and my workout is probably far more intense. If you let yourself burn out, you’re probably doing more damage than good. Forgive the cliche, but sometimes less can indeed mean more.
Everything in Moderation
The same goes for your nutrition. Unless you’re getting ready for a bodybuilding or athletic competition there’s no reason to kill yourself over eating super strict and counting each calorie for every single meal. Sometimes you have to back off and relax. Maybe you’ve eaten great all week and it’s the weekend. Go grab some pizza, or a juicy burger. Heck, right now I’m sitting on my patio enjoying a Guinness! Enjoy your food and drink, but obviously in moderation.
The bottom line is you really have to listen to your body. I love training in general so my rest days are few. And as I stated I will still usually do some sort of activity on the days I don’t lift weights. You have to be in tune with your body though. If you need rest and you go train anyway, it could be counterproductive. Muscles don’t grow while we’re exhausting them in the gym; they grow when we’re giving them the proper nutrients and rest.
Train (and rest) with Passion,