Starting a new routine can be tough and it’s no wonder people struggle with the motivation to begin working out. But just as tough as it is to start a workout regimen, it can be just as tough to take a break from an existing one.
And we don’t mean completely stopping your routine, we just mean taking a rest day. Seems pretty straightforward, but you’d be surprised that many people actually have a difficult time on their rest days. Working out becomes so ingrained that it becomes tough to stop.
But rest days are extremely important to see any gains, and that’s why this is a great read from Robbie Farlow, aka Side Quest Fitness for anyone taking a rest day.
Rest Day Activities
The internet if full of rest day memes.
I personally have a strong dislike for rest days. They are important in the recovery and muscle building process and they allow your nervous system a break but I really love training.
The adage of “It is not how hard you train, but how well you recover” is not too far off. Lifting heavy and staying on point with your diet is key to your goals but you also have to make sure you are getting plenty of sleep and doing your best to avoid stress in general.
Active rest days can be a great way to counteract your desire to train but also keep you from vegging out on the couch. You can go for a jog, play some basketball, play disc golf (or regular golf), yoga, take a hike and explore nature in your hometown, or do some sort of mobility work or corrective exercise routines.
Being outside is great, but sometimes mother nature decides to be a dick and throw a wrench in your plans with rain. The day is not ruined! There are some rest day activities you can do even while stuck inside when it is raining like crazy. Unless you live in CA where of course it never rains so basically you can ignore all of this.
1. Mobility/Corrective Exercises/Yoga
I am no expert when it comes to mobility. My warm-ups, for a long time, involved a Foam Roller and Lacrosse Ball with some static stretching thrown in. However, I do not want to move like Rustimus Prime when I am 60, so I have been paying more attention to mobility drills. Joe DeFranco’s Limber 11, is probably the most well-known and followed warm up routine.
As of late though I have been watching a lot of videos from my friend (and former podcast guest) Matt Ibrahim over at Mobility-101. The guy knows his stuff, and I have stolen a lot of his movements for my warm-ups with my boot camp this summer as well as for my own regiment. As Shakira said, “the hips don’t lie” and mine are not lying when they say thanks to Matt, they are feeling a lot more spry as of late.
On top of his happy hip mobility drills, Matt’s 8-Minute Flow is a great warm up to do every morning before you start your day or on rest days.
Some people love static stretching more. The great thing about static stretches is you can keep your head up and watch something in front of you while you stretch.
2. Binge Watch Netflix….while doing #1
Who doesn’t love binge watching Netflix on your day off work? They have a new show out almost every week it seems like so why not spend a rainy Saturday watching Daredevil, Orange is the New Black, Buffy the Vampire Slayer!
Instead of using this time to level up on candy crush (put the phone down!), get your foam roller out while you watch TV! You can kill two vampires with one stake!
*Side note if it is a Saturday fire up some X-Men or Spiderman or JEM and do you recovery work while watching Saturday morning cartoons!*
3. Dust off your Kinect or Pull out the Wii-motes
Motioning gaming was a big fad for a couple of years. How many of us bought a Wii, that now probably collects dust, or a Kinect because we all thought it was the future?
When it comes to active rest day activities, the Kinect or Wiimotes are still viable choices when you want some activity on a rainy rest day.
If you still have your Wii break out some Wii Sports and go a few rounds with boxing or dust off that WiiFit board and give it a go one more time.
Xbox Fitness on the Xbox One allows you to download a ton of typical exercise DVDs like P90x or Jillian Michaels, but the even better options are the athlete based workouts that Microsoft has on there from JJ Watt to Russell Wilson to NBA star Paul George. These workouts do not screw around. It is all bodyweight exercises and conditioning drills that will kick you in the face like a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick. I did the Russell Wilson workout and was on the floor begging for mercy. Hence why I started focusing on some more conditioning work myself.
Xbox Fitness also has a yoga available for less intense sessions.
Perhaps you only have a 360 with the original Kinect. Since it actually had some support for a while, there are a few more games out there for the 360. Some active games that will keep you moving would be Kinect Sports 1 & 2, Zumba, Nike+ Kinect Training, Dance Central, and yes, even the awful horrendous mess that was Kinect Star Wars.
Those games listed will keep you moving and get your heart rate up. There is one more that you can download as well, but I warn you even for seasoned lifters your arms will be SORE the next day, Fruit Ninja Kinect. Laugh if you must but rest assured 20-30 minutes of flailing your arms and hands around, and you will feel it the next day, so don’t plan to use it for an active rest the day after you train arms.
4. Rock Band Drums……or a real drum set
Hopefully, you do not try to do this after an intense leg day workout but playing drums on Rock Band for at least an hour would give you some nice calories burned on your rainy active rest day. Who doesn’t love banging on “fake” drums? Plus, you might as well put to use that $600 worth of DLC you bought, right? (yes, I spent about that much on DLC tracks for Rock Band….so I wanna feel like I am a rock star, so what?)
According to CalorieLab, a one hour drums session would net you around 252 calories burned! That would probably be less on Rock Band, unless you play expert, but if you have a real drum set wipe the dust off and bang away!
5. Clean Your House (Room)
I hate typing this one down to be honest, but unless you truly enjoy living like a college kid surrounded by overflowing garbage and half-eaten food and beer cans, then as an adult you should clean. I am not talking about throwing your laundry in a machine and picking up a “few” things, no I mean like really clean. Scrub your toilet and your bathtub until it is shiny and new. Remove the guards on your stove and clean that thing until it sparkles like a unicorn’s horn in the sun. Take out everything in your fridge and scrub it down as well. Then of course hit your floors, maybe the wall behind the stove in the kitchen, and don’t forget the fan blades. Everyone forgets the fan blades, but dust can stay up there for YEARS.
Put on some rocking tunes and dance around the house while you do this.
Say screw it and be as lazy as possible.
Probably not what you expected to hear from a coach, in that I am telling you to be lazy but hey, sometimes damn it you need it!
Work, life, family and trying to live a more active lifestyle can take its toll on us mentally as well as physically. There are times where you need to say: “I am going to sit here and play Batman Arkham Knight all day and there is nothing you can do about it!”
Sleep in until 10 or 11.
Never change out of your PJs.
Pop a beer at noon (of course if you are in a deficit plan for this)
Read that book you have been meaning to read. Pick up your guitar and strum a few chords.
Fire up all three Star Wars movies and have a marathon.
Or because it takes all day and half the night, watch all the extended cuts of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Now that, is a good 12-14 hour day of rest!
Advanced lifters, older lifters, and the best coaches around the world know the importance of rest days. It can be hard to take a day off especially if you live in places like Colorado where it’s beyond beautiful and the wild just calls to you to come out and explore. Of course, walking, hiking, some conditioning work, or biking are all fun to do on rest days because they don’t require a huge strain on the nervous system or push your muscles to the max.
The above activities are perfect for when Mother Nature decides to roll in and rain on your rest day parade.
This article has been republished with permission from SidequestFitness.com.
Coach Robbie was the socially awkward ginger kid who growing up loved Hulk Hogan, Captain America, and video games. He believes deep down we all have heroes inside waiting to shine. It’s dangerous to go alone, so he’ll help conquer your fitness quest — together.