I believe that almost all of us hard-working, committed muscle builders take on that tinge of guilt every time it’s a rest day or we feel under the weather. It’s so easy to get caught up in that mind game with that little voice in your head that spreads all sorts of self-doubt seeds-
- Am I going to lose my muscle mass?
- Am I going to get lazy now I skipped a workout?
- Am I going to put on weight?
- Will I lose my strong will and momentum?
- Am I going to go mad after being away from the metal for just one day?
Have you ever thought of the above? If you are honest, you thought of one and could add several more to my list!
I call this kind of mindset “training appraisal,” and it affects so many of us. I have a great friend who admitted how tired she was from training. I turned to her and said, “thank god it’s a rest day for me today”, and she then realised a rest day wasn’t even part of her week! No wonder she was tired. After this conversation, she became sick and then took several days off the gym forcefully.
She would have bypassed all of this by allowing her body to rest, even for one day.
Those of us who train at an intense level may naturally feel the urge to rest after a strenuous workout or two. A good strategy is to try the “2 days on, one day off” or “3 days on, one day off” depending on your training and how much energy you have. After 2–3 days of weight training, it’s ESSENTIAL to take a day off and allow your body and muscles to recuperate. Too much cortisol will negate your gains in a big way. Plus, you will be more susceptible to injury due to sore muscles, joints and stiffness. It doesn’t make sense to train when you are sore and tired.
This weekend, I trained legs on Saturday and then shoulders and back on Sunday. They were pretty intense because I went later in the day, rather than starting before the birds sing in the morning. This allowed me to fuel up on sleep and nutrition before the workout. These are, by far, your best training sessions. You can go the extra mile and know you did an all-out exercise. Then, of course, it’s time for rest. After a couple of hectic training sessions like this, I will do some light cardio…