How do you feel about rest day? How about unplanned rest days?

15:27 Eugene Madondo 0 Comments


Earlier in the week I was on twitter and one of the people I follow on twitter was sick and had to take an unplanned rest day. She is a beast in the gym and you can tell by her progress, so naturally being the gym junkie that she is, she hated the fact that she was ill, feeling weak and awful but what she hated even more was that she had to take an unplanned rest day. A few days later I too fell ill, so I missed a few gym sessions this week while I was recovering and all drugged up on medication. I lost my appetite but I forced myself to eat, was feeling tired and sluggish all the time (the medication added to this feeling), I basically felt like death but the worst is over now and I am looking forward  to hitting the weights again. I do not get sick often so when I do get sick, it usually hits me hard. 

rest day is the worst day of the week
Rest days are the worst day of the week
Image from: muscletown

Rest days suck but they are important


Taking a rest day sucks for a gym junkie but if you want to fully recover and continue making progress you need to have a rest day or two in your week depending on the kind of workout program you are on. The more demanding your workout is to the body the more rest days you need, for example someone on a whole body compound exercise program takes more rest days than someone who trains individual body parts every day. This is because the person who trains individual body parts can have up to 5 days rest per muscle group depending on their split even if they do not have a rest day whereas a whole body program trains all muscles groups in each workout session so you are more likely to train for only 3 days a week and rest the rest of the week to allow proper recovery.

What you lose with unplanned rest days/forced rest days


Getting back to why it sucks to have to take additional rest days or forced rest days. Imagine you have goals and a program in place to make sure you achieve such goals in the designated time. If you are on a whole body program and manage one gym session instead on three during the week that takes you a step backwards, if you are on a 5 day split and only managed to get maybe two gym sessions in this week that takes you a few steps backwards because that means there are a few muscles that have had too much rest instead of the usual 5 day rest they now have 10 days rest. Basically you are losing muscle, losing your muscle hardness and possibly the strength gains you had the week before, this little extended break may have taken your progress a week back.

What good could come out of unintentional rest days?


On a positive note the extra rest days may have been what your body really needed after a long period of extreme stress on your body. You may find that after the extended rest you will gain back all your strength that you lost, all the mass you lost out on in about week and you may even find that after this extended rest period that you break through the plateau you had hit prior to the rest. These rest days may have been all the recovery you needed to finally break through the walls you were starting to hit and being the gym addict that you are you may be even more motivated to lift with more intensity, lift heavier just because you feel bad about missing so many days of gym...after all going harder is what all gym beasts do when they get back to beast mode after a short hiatus.

Taking an extra day or two off the gym because of sickness is a good idea because like the sickness, the gym is a stress on the body and puts pressure on your immune system. If you are really sick and you continue to push yourself in the weight room, you may find yourself worse off than you would have been had you taken a few rest days off to treat the illness, giving your immune system time to fight off the sickness and recuperate instead of adding to the problem.

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