Rest days. For the gym-nut, they’re the evil necessity you believed you needed in your program. While others complain they need more motivation to stick with their workout program, you, on the other hand, complain you need motivation to rest.
Up until now, you probably took the mandatory one rest day off your program and you may have even added two or three on the advice of some ‘coach’, magazine article, or simply because it’s stated in the program you happen to be following.
But could you be being misled? Could they be steering you all wrong?
Actually, they could. Let’s go over a few reasons why you might want to consider dropping those damn rest days and getting your ass into the gym 7 days a week like you’ve always dreamt you could.
3 Good reasons to scrap rest days
You want reasons not to rest, well here’s 3 good ones:
1 It keeps you mentally in the zone
Ever have those times where you come back after a rest day and you just don’t feel like hitting the gym? We’ve all been there and it sucks. You broke your momentum and now need to pick it back up again.
By training seven days a week, even if some days are lighter and shorter, you get to stay in that gym mentality. For some, this can mean a huge difference between success and failure.
If you’re the type to eventually let one rest day turn into two and that turn into a week and the week into a month-long gym holiday, you need every day training for sure.
Even if you’re not someone who falls off the bandwagon easily, if that day off reduces your hunger, it kills your drive – and you’ll be leaving results on the table because of it.
2 It keeps your central nervous system firing
Another huge benefit of daily training is that it keeps your central nervous system (CNS) firing. This is another point you’ve likely experienced before. When you take that break off the gym, you go back and feel slightly lethargic the next day. It’s like your brain is telling your muscles to contract and they’re taking their sweet time in doing so.
This doesn’t bode well for hitting that PR. It’s typically due to your CNS getting a bit lazy. It missed a day of training and went into relaxation mode. Now you need to give it a swift kick up the butt and get it firing again.
If you don’t take that rest day, you skip over this entire problem.
3 It stokes your metabolic fire
Finally, the last reason to consider ditching those rest days for good is because hitting the gym every day, even if for just a few sets, will go a long way towards stoking your metabolic fire.
If your goal is fat loss or you want to stay lean long-term, having a higher resting metabolic rate is going to seriously help you out. The more energy you burn daily at rest, the easier it is to burn fat.
Research has demonstrated that after an exercise training program has been performed, resting metabolic rate measured the morning after training is considerably higher (around 9.4% according to research published in the Journal of Applied Physiology) than baseline. This may also enhance total lipid oxidation in the body, leading to superior weight loss results.
You can reap this benefit seven days a week if you train daily.
Workouts gone bad: How to do 7-day-a-week training wisely
Okay, hold on. Before you drop your current program and think you’ll go balls-to-the-wall seven days a week going forward, you need to note: you must do this wisely or you will end up overtrained.
All those things they said about your body needing time for recovery and your CNS getting burned out…. Yeah…turns out there is some truth to that. No worries though. You can get around it if you train in a clever manner.
Here’s what to do.
1 Short and sweet
First, keep those sessions short and sweet. Did you know that long-drawn-out workouts will beat down your CNS more than short, but intense ones? So do a few all-out sets and then get the hell out of the gym. There’s no need to sit there hammering every muscle group into oblivion. Do that and you’ll need days for recovery. That’s not what we’re after here.
Do a few sets and make them count. That’s what’s getting you gains.
2 Break it up
What’s also true is that each muscle group, when hit hard, does need that 48 hours to rest and rebuild itself up. You don’t want to hit them before that or you’re going to pay a price – the price of no progress.
So break your body up. Body part splits aren’t often recommended because they’re not as ‘beneficial’, but screw that. If you’re in the gym 7 days per week, you have time to train each muscle individually.
Sure, if you only hit a given muscle once every 10 days then yeah, it won’t be the best approach to results. But if you can hit each muscle group once every five days, you’re golden.
3 Get supplemental help
Know that there are certain supplements on the market that can speed up your recovery rate, reducing the need to take those days off the gym. Sipping some BCAA’s during your workout session for instance is one smart move, taking a whey isolate protein powder immediately post-training is another that will ensure rapid rebuilding of lean muscle tissue, and adding something like HGH-X2 to your routine will help to not only reduce your recovery time, but also promote fat loss as well.
While supplements won’t make or break your progress, they definitely can help give you a much-needed boost at times.
4 Note that intensity comes in many ways
Finally, keep in mind that intensity comes in many ways. Drop the notion that you must press heavyweight in order for it to be a ‘good’ workout. High rep training can be just as devastating to your body.
Don’t believe me?
Next time you’re in the gym, do 6 sets of 15 rep squats with 45 seconds rest in between. See if you aren’t screaming for mommy once this is over.
High rep training and heavy load training tax the body in different manners, so by alternating between them, you can prevent your CNS from getting burned out and make it possible to train daily.
Variety is the spice of life. Use it!
Rethink those rest days. They may not actually be as important as you once thought. With the right approach, you may just be able to say so-long to them and hello to doing what you love most. Every. Single. Day.
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