It’s 5.30 Wednesday night and I’m sitting in front of the TV watching Hawaii 5-0. Sound like an average week night? Well it isn’t… Something isn’t right, there’s an itch, an urge, a desire to not be here, to be somewhere else, to be doing something else…. To be at the gym, lifting the steel, grinding through the pull, dripping sweat…
Alas, today is rest day, a break from the 7 hours already spent at the gym this week. I’ve already been to the gym this morning doing my cardio, weighted walks and plyo stuff. But that workout doesn’t count, it just doesn’t cut it. I need to struggle with the plates and bar. To push or pull a weight that a mere mortal couldn’t budge. I know that I need the rest, my quads are barely functioning, my hip flexors are so fatigued it hurts to lift my legs up to walk up the stairs, my hamstrings are feeling the pain from that crazy glute ham raise exercise.
However, I know how important rest is. It is just as important as exercise itself. Weight lifting itself places your body in a state of catabolism (ironic huh) and it is in the rested state that our bodies enter anabolism (along with plenty of food). Without adequate recovery our bodies will not have any time to adapt and we will inevitably, be training backwards and possibly get weaker. High volume training, means that our bodies are constantly in a state of recovery and unless you’re on certain ‘supplements’ your body needs regular days where it’s not being taxed and tolled past its limits.
Nutrition, training, rest & diet are the four pillars are physical development, when one is lacking, you’re body’building’ won’t be strong and stable. Rest however, doesn’t just involve not going to the gym. Active recovery is part of this, doing physical activity that isn’t as taxing as your usual workout, this could include extremely light weights, but a better option woud be to do something completely different, cardio, biking, swimming, surfing, soccer, basketball, football, hiking, rock climbing etc. This will at least mean you’re burning calories and getting the heart pumping, without overloading the nervous system & muscles. Allowing the central nervous system to recover is also important, the CNS fires up when under the stress of weight lifting, this can include some ‘Neural Charge‘ workouts popularised by Coach Thibadeau. These are short 20 minute explosive workouts designed to recharge the CNS. Most importantly, is sleep! Not getting enough sleep is like sabotage to your best training and diet efforts, aiming for 7-8 hours of sleep a night, but the more the better. If your job/lifestyle allows for it take as many naps throughout the day.
The more you rest, the more you grow!