What Should You Do on a Rest Day?
The hardest thing about strength sports is not the actual practice of hitting the weights. It is the discipline involved in programming and nutrition. We are in a constant battle between our logical brains and our primitive brain. Our logical brain says “follow the program, eat right, and eventually I will get to where I want to be.” Our primitive brain is far less satisfied. It says, “I want results now, oh and I want that donut too.” Discipline is not just getting to the gym. It is also understanding that your body needs rest to recover and grow stronger. This is one of the hardest things for new trainees to understand: without rest days your training can become counter productive.
The other hard thing to understand is that a rest day need not be a day of sitting on the couch and eating cheetos. We can have active rests as long as the activities performed on those days support our rest and recovery. Rest days are great days to work on mobility. Working in a yoga class, getting a massage, or taking an ice bath is not a bad idea. You can also take walks, meditate, or do things to alleviate stress. These are all activities that can alleviate stress and promote strength, muscle gain, and fat loss by reducing stress.
In addition to this, you could figure out things to do to make you a more well-rounded person. Take a class, learn to cook, maybe talk to a girl . . . or your wife or girlfriend if you’re beyond the initial talk to a girl thing.
My point is this: rest days suck, but the disciplined athlete knows they are a necessity. Don’t let your ego or your primitive need for constant dopamine reward affect your larger plan for world domination and fitness. Take a day off, use it to promote your goals, and figure out productive ways to enjoy yourself!