"Bro, I Hate Rest Days"
"No Days OFF"
"Imma Go and Do Something Light Today"
Like many, I have fell into the trap of thinking that a rest day entailed me literally doing the least amount of movement possible and playing madden or 2k for hours on hours and eating whatever was convenient..
This led me to find that the next day I felt stiff and thinking that I had magically lost all my gains in one day.. There was even a time where I felt that a rest day meant I should eat less because after all I wasn't moving that much right?..
Well, both of these thoughts are actually not TOTALLY wrong... but I have definitely expanded upon these ways of thinking.
First off we need to understand the point of a rest day in the first place.
Rest days should be designed to give your body and mental a break from training in order to further help in the specific adaptations you're striving for. We could go into the weeds on General Adaptation Syndrome but essentially it details how the body must undergo a series of changes:
Alarm (Initial shock of working out, DOMS, etc), Resistance (Body begins to repair it self and acclimates to exercise), and finally Exhaustion (Brought about due to prolonged stress, decreases in performance observed).
Now, as stated earlier my old way of thinking and maybe even your current way of thinking is not entirely wrong. You should do things that are less physically/mentally demanding and eat enough to fuel yourself for the day, but be aware that if you're sticking to a strict calorie routine it could be easy to over consume on a rest day especially because you have extra free time and you're not all "stimmed" out on preworkout which typically will suppress appetite.
For me I have found that this routine works for me:
Recovery Day Routine:
1.LISS (5-10 min)
2.Foam Rolling/ SMR (5 min)
4.Flexibility/Mobility (10-15 min)
4.Total Body Recovery Circuit (15 min)
5.LISS (20 min) *Optional*
1. Beginning off with some light cardio before anything will help get things flowing before jumping right into the rest of my activities on the list. I avoid running or anything crazy, a simple incline walk or elliptical ride is all thats needed here.
2. Foam rolling and self myofascial release is often debated within the exercise community as being either pointless or only bringing about transient results. Maybe in a later posts I will dive into this topic but for my own personal purpose, foam rolling allows me to achieve a deeper ROM in certain positions and yes it "goes away" but I follow up any foam rolling with a corresponding mobility or weighted movement. For example after foam rolling my legs I will sit in a weighted goblet squat, or hold a pigeon pose for no longer than 30 seconds.
3. Flexibility and mobility is pretty self-explanatory.. move slow, but be deliberate.. make sure you go through as much range of motion as you can and if some areas feel tight then foam roll and revist that position again and see if things changed. Most Important here is to make sure you are not holding your breath.. breathe aides in relaxation, relaxation allows muscles to go into deeper stretches.
4. Total Body Circuit?! Yes, its weighted (25lb dumbbell for men, 15 for women) and the goal here is to utilize some contralateral principles and the effects it has on the peripheral heart rate system. (Stay tuned for part 2).
5. And finally another optional bout of light cardio to bring the heart rate down and close off an excellent ACTIVE rest day.
- Ready to Reign.