Once you get into the scheme of things, taking a rest day is hard-to say the least. Staying at home whilst lusting after the feeling of iron and sweet pain and fantasizing about the next day (NO HYPERBOLE!) takes serious discipline. #nodaysoff and #beastmode will make you second guess your rest day, but let’s get real- we need it.
Since high intensity workouts are the regiment of the year (I’d say century), rest and recovery is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Weightlifting, powerlifting, HIIT etc., break down muscle and demand time-out nutrition and sleep so you can be prepared for the next week. Here’s a few pointers/rest day survival hacks to incorporate in your iron daydreams…
1. Recovery workouts- Sounds counterintuitive to some, but if you’re new to the game and you workout 3 times a week, make sure one of them is low intensity if the other two are not. LISS (Low Intensity Steady State cardio) is a great way to regain mobility, flexibility and actively recover.
2. Roll, Roll, Roll and then some- Restorative techniques have found its place in a number of homes and personal initiatives to recover. Trigger releases is what gets rid of all those pesky knots that make you walk and bend like your grandpa. Using a foam roll, hard ball, dumbbell, or name anything with density that can target pressure points is a godsend. It may feel like the most painful tickle, but at the least it will have you walking like your age not your weight.
3. Rest day- If you’re a gym rat like myself, choose any one day (Sunday funday?) to recover and prepare your mind and body for the following week. It helps to have some kind of non fitness related tradition so you don’t feel like this…
4. Sleep, Nutrition and Multivitamins- Count sheep, eat your protein and get those anti inflammatory goodness in your diet. Antioxidants and Omega 3s are best kept in your bedside table. All of which are recovery’s basic hygiene.
There’s no growth in the absence of recovery, so by all means, do not ignore it.