Last night, while contemplating whether to take my rest day to today I read this from a Facebook page I read Lift Run Bang and it quickly helped me make my decision. Yes to the Rest!
“Rest” has become such an ugly word in the training paradigm now.
I attribute this, at least partially, to the “don’t be a pussy” ridiculousness I see hurled out by people who have no life outside of the gym.
When in doubt, taking an extra day of rest isn’t going to do anything in terms of setting you back. And in more cases than not, the extra rest will in fact benefit you significantly.
The problem is, we are a society of excess, and so many adhere to the belief that if 3 days a week bring great results, then 6 days a week will bring double great results. However, there will always be a point of diminishing returns with anything and everything in regards to excess.
The variables involved in rest, are unique to every individual, and where they are in their training life.
When I was 18 I could train hard as fuck, 6 days a week. In my late 20’s, with kids, a wife, and a real job, it went to 4 or so. Now I find that at 38, three days a week seems about optimal. Sometimes I can do 4 or 5 days a week for a while, however I eventually settle back into three days a week, because I always feel like I need the extra rest.
What most people do is, they feel as though they are letting themselves down if they don’t train, or that for some reason they will regress or fall behind if they miss a workout.
Please, get that out of your head. Skipping a night because you feel beat to shit is not going to put you behind, or cause regression. Do a better job of listening to your body. Especially after very tough training sessions, and you’ll be rewarded for it.
If you need time off, take it. The weights will still be there waiting to resume battle after you’re well rested.
Here’s some great information about over-training that highlights why rest is so darn important. I usually take a week straight off every quarter that coincides with a vacation and I usually take two rest days a week at minimum regularly.
Have you tried De-Loading? Many times, adding a de-load week to your training will actually help you come back stronger! Hard to believe, but it’s true!
A deload week is a “take it easy” week. It’s a break from training hard and training often, and scheduling a deload week is often how hard-charging athletes and weight lifters (a notorious bunch who never want to take a break) force themselves to recover from their pursuits. Exercise, you see, especially effective, intense, hard exercise, requires that we recover. It’s just like any injury, wound, illness, or stressor faced by our body.