Hey guys, Will Pounder here!
I’m here to talk about working out, as well as cover rest days, cheat days, and well, everything in between.
Watch the video here:
Pssst… If you’re sneakily reading this and can’t quite watch the video at work (boo), you can check out everything you need to know below too.
The importance of knowing when to rest
This is something I get asked about a LOT. I mean, dudes are always asking me about my kinda workout regimen, the types of exercises I do, as well as rest days.
Your typical workout schedule is usually five days of working out, two days off to rest. However, a rest day doesn’t necessarily mean kicking back on the couch the whole day.
What I mean by “rest days” is kinda a day a little less active than the other five. While it’s important to still get your heart pumping, maybe with a walk outdoors or a little cardio at the gym, you can hit the gym hard on the other five days and keep those two for a small amount of exercise.
But do you have to rest? Well, I think it’s important to listen to your body. When I returned to working out after Covid hit (twice!) and I suffered a few health issues. When I came back to exercising, I was pretty consistent for five days in a row, but although I was thinking about really pushing it – I had to listen to my body.
My muscle were feeling pretty sore after not exercising for a while, so I knew I had to take some time to rest. If you don’t listen to your body, you could risk an injury or burnout.
When to incorporate rest days
For this, we’re gonna work off the traditional baseline of working out for five days, and having two rest days.
For example… You want Monday to be a heavy lifting day, working your major muscle groups, say, working out your legs or your back.
But before we dive into what muscles you’re focusing on, let’s talk about rest days some more. As I mentioned earlier, this doesn’t mean two days of lounging around watching Netflix – after all, we’ve got goals to hit!
Also Read: How to get into shape post-Covid
So instead of catching up on TV, you need to be using your rest days to maximize the benefits – this means giving your body some time to rest and repair, while still burning calories and staying healthy.
Choose your two rest days. I like having them back-to-back for better recovery. During these rest days, there’s no heavy lifting, but we still need to keep active. This could be taking a walk, or doing a small amount of cardio.
If you do want to push yourself still, you can up your cardio on your rest days, but it’s important to do the right type of cardio. For example, a recent study showed the benefits of doing 7 sets of 20-second intervals with a 2-minute rest in between, which allow you to experience calorie burn without losing your muscle mass.
What about cheat days?
A-hah! Cheat days. No doubt you look forward to these as much as I do. But don’t go getting too carried away…
Cheat days are recommended to a maximum of once a week. Let’s say you’re working out in a calorie deficit 5 days a week, using the weekend as your rest days. Often, one of your rest days will also be used as your cheat day.
Let’s say you’re using the weekend as your rest days. If you also use the Sunday as your cheat day, you might wanna go out and eat a whoppin’ burger and fries, knowing that your Monday workout is gonna be hitting it hard. This cheat day allows you to pretty much load up your glycogen stores, increasing your calories for a heightened workout the following day.
This means that after splurging on a cheat meal, you’re gonna want to hit one of your main muscle groups the following day, for a really intense workout. I’d opt for your legs, or your back.
What to avoid on cheat days
- Milk/dairy-based foods
- Pork-based foods
- Loads of sugar
Regardless of your blood type or anything like that, these two foods are known for increasing inflammation. If you go eating a lot of these foods, your body is going to be pushed to repair and heal from your workouts and this type of inflammation. And you don’t want that!
Now, you’re gonna want two rest days a week to allow your body to heal and repair itself, promoting protein synthesis. But remember to get your heart pumping a little on your rest days!
Cheat meals – Tying these into your rest day, the day before a heavy lifting day is key here! Just don’t go overboard on the cheat meal… Try to avoid excess sugar, pork and dairy.
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