Few phrases strike more fear in the hearts of fitness fanatics than the dreaded “rest day.” It’s essentially a day dedicated to just thinking about training and your next workout.
For some, it’s a day filled with “lost gains” and lack of accomplishment. For Luisa and I, it’s definitely not as dramatic but certainly not easy to just casually take a rest day. We got goals to hit. We got bootys to build and pecs to sculpt…
Those that follow our/my socials, you were in tune with all the adventures that went on last week and the weekend before.
Luisa and I headed over to London to have a spot of tea and hang with the queen. It was literally 48 hours of non-stop moving. Trying to see as many of the sights as we could in as little time as possible. From Big Ben to the London Eye to sampling some of the best street food London has to offer, Luisa and I accomplished a ton in a very short amount of time.
As the weekend concluded, Luisa departed back to the states and I headed over to beautiful Reykjavik to hang with some Vikings. The vibe quickly changed from hustle and bustle of big city to the calmness of nature. I got to experience the famed Blue Lagoon and enjoyed a wonderful dinner out in the middle of nowhere of Iceland where the Northern Lights were in full effect…
*** Norther Lights were so crazy that the city of Reykjavic asked residents to turn off their lights to limit light pollution. What a sight!! ***
In the midst of all these amazing adventures, 2 things fell by the wayside;
- The gym
- Tracking macros
At the beginning of the trip, I was definitely in the mindset that I would at least hit the gym 3 – 4 times while away in Europe. I had scouted a gym close by our hotel in Reykjavic (10 minute walk) and was determined to make things happen.
However, as London started happening, I slowly started to embrace the idea of not working out and not tracking any of my calories. The physical and mental freedom/break I was experiencing was phenomenal. I was actually, truly starting to embrace “vacation mode.” I did make it to the gym one day in Reykjavic, the first day I was there. Did a semi half-assed leg work out (I know! I know! Leg day should never be half-assed).
Right after that I went to the Blue Lagoon and that pretty much wrapped it up for me. No more stressing about the gym. Time to enjoy and take some well deserved time away from the gym.
I arrived back in the states on Thursday 9/29. Made it to my apartment around 8:30pm EST and proceeded to go right to bed. I slept 10 hours that night. Then decided to walk to work (1.9 miles which took me 40 minutes) to get the engines running.
After skipping the gym 6 our of 7 days and not tracking a single calorie those 7 days, I couldn’t have been more refreshed. I also was super excited to get back to the gym.
The moral of the story here is … REST DAYS ARE THE BEST DAYS.
Some of the benefits of a calculated Rest Day include;
- Preventing Injury. We repeatedly overuse muscles and joints during our workouts that over time they wear down/breakdown. Rest allows for much needed recovery and rehab
- Muscle Growth & Repair. When you lift, you’re essentially tearing muscle fibers. You need to either stagger your training to allow for proper recovery, train full body with the following day off, or use a rest day as an “active rest day.”
- Performance Will Remain. You won’t lose gains from a rest day. It usually takes about 2 weeks to see noticeable decreases in performance/strength
- Over-training. If you’re not smart with you’re training, your body will shut down on you. Sleep patterns will be affected and progress will diminish
- Impaired Immune System. If your immune system is just constantly trying to play catch up to your “gains” in the gym, how do you think it’s going to fight off sickness?
- Mental Vacation. You know the old saying “Mind-Muscle Connection”? We lift just as much with our minds as we do with our muscles. Giving the old brain a rest never hurt anyone.
It might not seem like it and trust me, it definitely does not seem like it to me. But your body and mind need it.
Make a conscious effort to add rest days to your routine. They don’t have to be days where you just sit at home and do nothing. Go out on an adventure. Stay active in other ways. Use that time for hobbies that you have perhaps been neglecting.
Some of the best growth we’ll ever make is outside of the gym.