Rest days need to be spent in one of two ways. Spend your rest day, not vegging, but recovering. There’s a difference!
Recovering is active – proactive – and requires a level of attention while chillin and peacin out does not. Recovering means applying heat, rolling out, stretching and mechanical enhancements from yourself and others. It means eating for energy and rebuilding. Recovery is beneficial, rehabilitating and adds to your physical health.
Let’s compare: (a. Doing nothing versus b. Being active)
- Resting after a long cycle of training\
- Doing nothing – you gain weight, you get soft, you get mentally weaker
- Being active – means you keep the smallest muscle fibers active so you can skip the opening regimen of a new routine.
- After a hard strength week
- Gain all your weight back
- You’re building new pathways which help your older strength moves
- After a hard cardio week
- Beginning your run again can be brutal but your cardio adaptations should last a while
- Keeps your legs going might be even keep your lactate threshold up
- After a brutal day
- Might lose your hard scrabble power gains
- Stretch – keep your power gains with mobility
What’d we say? | Podcast Transcript
What’s good. Hey, thanks for joining me. I’m Johann Francis CSCS. This right here. This is Ego Killer! This is the show where we talk all the moves you need to be making inside the gym so that you could live, move grind better outside when you’re doing your thing. Thanks for joining me. Welcome ego killer show.com. My hope that at the end of all, these shows you do a little something to help you get over. Hope you move better throughout the week. A little nugget that you could pick up today. That’s why we do these shows. It’s why I wanna make sure that I cover all hosts of topics so that you can get over. And what I mean by getting over is I want you to apply everything that we learn on the show to your life inside the gym outside when you’re doing your thing, being active, being healthy with a healthy mind, healthy mind, healthy habits, healthy habits, longer life, better.
We are at helping others around us. I like to think of every quality workout and every quality activity you do. As a story, you could tell somebody else, look, your Monday morning rolls around and you gotta water cooler story that you wanna tell about your workout. That means you went and you did the thing the right way. You want to be telling a story about how sore you are and what’d you do during your workout. What’d you do during your activity, right? You want somebody to come up to you and ask you, yo, why are you limping around up the stairs? Well, because I had the best time iron clouding my body over the weekend. Last week. My goal for you guys is that you could tell a story to somebody that’s close to you about why, why you’re so sore, why or whenever you reach for coffee, you’re cringing in, in the best possible way.
And when we tell those stories, it means that we had a deep impact with our workout. And that’s my hope for you guys. It can’t always be iron on iron, right? We do know that iron sharpens iron, it is a cliche, but it is really true, especially if you’re inside a gym or a room with other people who work exceptionally hard, not just with their bodies, but intellectually too, right? And other type ways you are inspired by greatness. As we all are. We’re inspired by people who do things a little bit better, more efficiently. And so iron does it in a way sharpen iron. But we also need to understand that in the same vein where iron sharpens iron iron needs to cool in order to set, we need to take our foot off of the throttle in order to ferment our habits. It ain’t just about freaking carving and crushing and pounding.
It’s all about the recovery. And so today what we’re gonna talk about is the best way to spend the rest day, cuz I know you guys love your rest days. We love to take our foot off of that pedal. Don’t we right? You’re in your car. You do that long climb to the top of the mountain. You’re on a road trip. There ain’t nothing better than taking your foot off that pedal and letting that thing coast. And I think that might be the operative word of the day it’s coast, right? We love the coast. We love to make our rest day our best day. And oftentimes it can be, it can be because it is oftentimes should be the reward for a week or a day. Spent working really, really hard. In fact, a rest day or as week can be the best day or best week. If we’ve spent a lot of time working exceptionally hard because it is in those times that we’re actually fermenting all of the, not just straight up muscle tissue that we built, all those neural pathways, all those motor units that we’ve acquired during our workout sessions and cycles. All of that stuff gets hardwired into our body during our rest day and arrest week. And that is a positive thing, but it also helps us set in our habits a little bit.
And so we’re gonna talk about gonna compare four things that you need to be doing. Cause look, I know that we love our rest days, but it’s how we spend those rest days. That’s actually gonna lead us to the most results at the end of the day, when you’re sitting back chilling, hoping that Monday never comes around because you had a really good Monday through Tuesday last week, Monday through Friday, excuse me, last week. And you’re hoping on a Sunday that Monday never shows up so that you can just continue to chill. You got chill mode on 10. It feels good to just relax. Your rest day is your best day. What can often happen is that you might lose some of your gains. What we should have been doing instead of making it our best day, we should have made recovery day. Our best day.
We should have spent a lot of time recovering versus resting. Resting is optimal. It’s ideal. In fact, there are a lot of times where I see you guys go off on vacations. You go on vacation for 1, 2, 3 weeks, literally leave the continents or the country type vacation, or maybe you leave the state, whatever it is not just kind of vacation, not just the thing where you’re going, you know, from here to 150 miles away and all of a sudden there ain’t no gyms, right? No, no, no, no, no. I’m talking about leaving for vacation time. And then what happens is you guys can’t work out really as much as you can. You don’t know where the gym is. You don’t know what Thete is. You don’t know the schedule. And so you can’t work out what I notice in you guys and what oftentimes happens.
And folks, when you work out for months on end and then you do one of those vacations is you come back and your losses are very minimal. Your very strong, still the motor units are still firing. It’s what you call muscle memory is still active, but making our rest day or rest week are best week and those capacities not bad, but it’s when we sit back and kind of chill that we actually might lose some of our gains. So number one, all right, we’re gonna talk about four ways that your recovery should be proactive and it requires a level of attention versus piecing out, piecing out is fine. Piecing out is good. Piecing out is what you want to do when you’re, you know, a there’s a time and a place for doing all these things. But when we put and, and, and rest periods should be built into a good quality, yes Mezo cycle in the macro cycle, like long term training cycles, two, three week training cycles. Absolutely. You need to have a time for rest because again, rest helps ment, but when it’s your best day, that means maybe we didn’t hit it only as hard as we needed to hit it. We just didn’t hit it as hard as we needed to do. And so what we wanna do, we wanna spend time recovering from what we did.
All right, that’s the move. And look, I’ve known people that recover by doing like, instead of, you know, running five miles a day or whatever the recover would just, you know, Olympic lifting, but doing it really, really light. I know that’s not a lot of you guys, like that’s another level of recovery and rest, you know, I used to have a very good friend that when he used to recover in between hard training sessions, training himself and working his jujitsu and the like his recovery was like active stretching and, and like Pilates, you know, on the reformer, things like that. So on his day off, that’s what you would do. And I used to think, bro, how one dimensional is that isn’t that a little bit boring that all you do is work out and train. But what I didn’t realize is the volume at his work rate during the week, how much juujitsu he was doing, how much he was practicing, how much he was showing other people that volume was extremely high.
And so taking the foot off the pedal on say a Sunday, when it’s his rest day was actually really beneficial and was really a lot less in comparison to the deepness of the volume he was working. So it’s gotta be comparable volume to what you’re doing and you’re working one time a week. Then every rest day is gonna be your best day because you’re not working too hard right now, for whatever reason, maybe you really, really heavy. Maybe you’re violently injured. Maybe this is something that you’re doing just for, you know, your recover occupationally, you’re recovering through your daily life. And so the rest day is gonna be pretty straightforward and easy, but your rest day is your best day. Maybe, maybe we’re not working that hard. So, all right. In fact, now that I think about it, the same guy used to encourage me to take ice baths on his wrist day.
And I’m thinking to myself when he was telling me that, like, how is an ice bath relaxing at any description? Like your mind is racing and you’re trying to calm down. You’re in agony. As you jump into that tub full of ice, you know, a few times, how is this resemble anything having to do with rest at all? You know what I mean? But I get that there’s supposed to be a restorative process to it. So if your muscles are really inflamed, as it were doing something like a nice bath, actually gonna restrict the inflammation process. Now over time, this was many years back. Me personally, I don’t apply ice almost ever for anything unless it’s to drop inside of <laugh> a margarita or something. You know, I don’t use ice for anything on the body anymore. There’s a lot of research to support that I’ve seen myself get injured and then apply no ice to something that I would’ve applied before.
And I’ve seen benefits. I think it’s all about heat, but he used to tell me, oh yeah. Why don’t you jump in the ice pass? In fact, I’ve had a couple people tell me this and I just think yo on my rest day, I’m gonna put myself through blinding agony, hard pass. But listen, I want you guys to think of it in these ways. So what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna talk about what happens when you make rest day, your best day, and you do nothing. Or if you do what we need to do, which you spend time being active. If we’re staying active and recovering for our rest day means we’re applying heat. We’re rolling. We’re stretching. We’re doing percussion. We’re working when we’re doing our cupping, our self cupping, right? Other enhancements, you’re getting massage sports, massage, recovery compression. These are the moves you need to be making when you’re recovering rest station be your best day because what you’ve done throughout the long training cycle, the meso cycle, the daily workout is so intense that rest not only is required, but it’s actually going to help you get better for the next week.
All right, what happens when we start cold chilling on our rest day is we don’t look forward to the next week. We look forward to that other rest day, which is really, really, you know, kind of making, you know, we’re obsessing over the rest day. Instead of looking at the work as what we need to be doing, this is why I might really look past the cheat meal or a cheat day as an idea that I wanna really adhere to sometimes, because I think that we get so wrapped up in that cheat meal and that cheat day that we forget that the building and the process is actually where we need to be focused on instead of, you know, the 1500 calorie calorie day with the, with the sour cream everywhere. Okay. So what we wanna be doing is this, after a long training cycle, we have the option of doing nothing, making our rest of air best day or staying really active. Now we do nothing after a long training cycle.
I advised that after a longer training cycle, maybe three months, two months, maybe even longer than that, if you’re training on a daily basis, what you’re probably gonna do is, Hey, you’re gonna go ahead and take some time off. And when you take some time off, what you do is you’re gonna do a passive rest. Passive rest is gonna ferment all of your motor units. What you like to call muscle memory into what you’re doing and make it so that your muscles just kind of get used to the idea of moving occupationally and freely throughout your daily life. That’s a good thing, right? So when we do nothing we do after a long training cycle, we might spend a few days doing nothing three days, four days, right? Look, no further than the fighters. All right. Fighters oftentimes will spend time going into their competition.
And then right after that, you always ask and it’s like, oh right back to the gym. I mean, why did you even ask it’s right back to the gym? And there’s this beautiful back and forth where you’re able to spend time getting healthy and getting back after it while also being able to spend the time, licking your wounds and taking in little steam out of the system, you wanna recover. You wanna reflect, you want to be in that space where you’re recollecting, what happened, what went wrong, how to recover from it. That’s important too. It helps to ferment the actions that you made, the behavior shifts that you made and make them super du active and healthy for you. But then at some point we’re languishing, right? I used to train with someone who, whenever you told us to go get a bunch of punishments, which is the things you punch.
When you’re looking for target practice inside your kickboxing training, he would always tell everybody he’s like, don’t be over there looking for your favorites. Mits. We, we have a tendency to do this, right? You pull up at the jam, you go to your favorite heavy bag. You get your favorite mat. You get your favorite foam roller. You always used to yell at it. You’d like, don’t be standing there looking for your favorite set of MITs. Because at that point we’re just stalling out. Well, I think about that extrapolate that a little bit, lick your wounds. Take time to recover from a long training cycle. Maybe you had a type of goal and then you had an event coming up. Maybe you had a wedding or whatever it is. Vacation. Take a little bit of time to decompress, take a little time to be decompress, get a couple of rest days.
But then after that, it’s time to ramp right back up. There’s time to stick your toe back into the water, test out that temperature, check it, and then start rolling on being active. And on long training cycle means you work out with high volumes. First high rep counts, low intensity, really lightweight essentially. And keep your rep counts in set counts. Really, really high 4, 5, 6 sets, 18 20, 25 30 reps at a time do that inverse pyramid set that I like to do, right? Where by the middle, you’re doing the most intense version of that lower reps, 18, but still really light doing that is gonna get the smallest muscle fibers in those big muscle groups active so that when you get full on back into your training, you’ve already done all of that hard work. You’ve already done all of the high volume, high repetition stuff, which is, you know, the hallmark of a new training cycle is doing lots of repetitions and keeping your volume high.
You already did the hard work in that capacity. And you could just roll right into your next training cycle. You know what I mean? You could roll right into that thing, roll it in, roll it in. Okay. So that’s after a long training cycle. Now let’s say you’ve had a shorter training cycle, but it’s really intense for you. And you’ve done a lot of strength work. So you’re working your Olympic lifting. You’re doing your, your not SuperDuper heavy stuff, chest pressing and back squatting front squatting. You’re putting up the kettlebells, throwing ’em around the room, jumping on that rower, doing all of the hard stuff. Well, let’s say you do nothing. You do nothing after a very intense strength week. This might be the domain of us making it our best day. Maybe your rest day becomes your best day. We might actually not in the most micro sense, lose our strength gains, but in the meso sense, we might lose our strength gains.
And what I mean is we wanna spend that rest day re actualizing all of our movement patterns. What we should be doing is actually spending time working through something that’s body, weight oriented, right? You want to jump on a micro, excuse me, a mega reformer. You wanna go ahead and do your body weight. You want do your calisthenics, do your mobility training, do all the things that keep you active and work your muscles. So if you were doing a lot of legs this week, you were working with the bar, you were doing 15 reps and the like you wanna spend that rest day doing your body weight, doing the same thing, right? You wanna spend a lot of it getting up in there, break out your mat, hit up YouTube and go and do your Calin moves right? Hit up that man, bro gains or something and start working your calisthenics, right? When you do your long hikes on those weekends, that’s where you wanna spend it, go to that place. Go farther than you did last time. Now, if you’re gonna be active, that’s what you need to be doing.
You wanna build new pathways or deepen the pathways that you, the muscle pathways, the neural neuromuscular pathways, what we like to call muscle memory. You want to deepen those, deepen those where strength, workouts kind of work. The hugest muscle fibers of very specific muscle groups and pathways doing active recovery on a hard strength week actually helps to work the smaller muscles of those same groups, those same groups, and helps to literally literally drive the nerve endings and motor units deeper into specific muscle tissue. So this is a motor unit, which is your muscle and your nerve ending from your brain, from your spinal cord, right? If you work muscle tissue at a at if you do more body weight things, more fine, motor actions, right? Walking, hiking, uphill, downhill, be specific, your neural pathways deepen, right? They deepen. And what happens probably is you get better, not just at the pathways you just built, but the strength ones, the more broad ones, right?
So your strength training. Now you’re doing your mobility together. You get more action from those, the combination of all those new pathways, right? I’m trying to spend time, not dropping a bunch of scientific, boring terms, but give you guys a sense, a macro sense of this thing. All right. If you had a hard cardio week, so number three, let’s say you have a hard cardio week, your rest day, man. It doesn’t have to be your best day at all. So if you had a great week of cardio, you spent a lot of those days doing your minimum, you know, 35 minute per day type steady state moves. Well, whether it was a run or a lot of hiking, or if we were on the bike doing your 7, 8, 9 miles or whatever it is, and then you go back and you want to take your rest day.
Maybe you want to change the intensity at which you do cardio on the weekend. So like you might be able to do a hit interval type thing on the weekend. We want to be able to do, if you did really long duration during the week, and you’re looking for long stamina games, spend your weekend doing type of strength, lifting that is going to augment, right, and supplement hard cardio days by strengthening them working muscles that you’re doing during your hard cardio days. Of course, it’s probably your legs, unless you’re a freak athlete doing these things on your hands or something like that, do your leg workouts, do strength sets and reps that augment the games that you made for your cardio. And that’s the move that you wanna make during hard cardio week. We’re out here doing nothing. What does not happen? And I’ll be honest is you’re not gonna lose all of the cardio games that you got over the past week.
You’re not gonna lose your cardio games. And all of a sudden you’re huffing and puffing. The next time you do your cardio, that’s probably not what’s gonna happen, but what might actually happen if you do a whole lot of nothing is you’re eating. We’re working on our eating. Also, you want to be able to sustain energy levels. We wanna think that yo, a long, hard week of doing great cardio means that next week I’m gonna be able to do even more of the thing I’m gonna be able to do longer. I’m gonna be able to shorten my splits. This is a time on our rest day that we wanna be working on our eating. We wanna be recovering and making sure that those glycogen stores inside of our working muscles are filled up. You want to eat your carbohydrates in healthy amounts, complex carbohydrates, especially in healthy amounts so that you’re rebuilding all those glycogen stores inside of your body, which are blown out when you do your cardio.
So you’re not just spending time eating whatever you want to be over there. Having, you know, your kimchi and challenging your gut biome. You want to be your fiber again, challenging your gut biome. You want to be able to eat your complex carbohydrates in the form of different types of rices starches. You wanna get the potatoes and cook them in season them in the nice type of way, the types of pasta you eat augment that with some of the meat that you’re taking in. If you’re gonna do ramen, you’re gonna do soba or things of the, like where you got those really starchy noodles. This is a good sign add in some of your gray veggies, add in some of your port belly as the mouth waters, do those things to augment how much cardio you’re gonna do the next week. Remember too, how much you’re storing in your body.
Ain’t a bad thing because calories help fuel your activities, right? Calories help fuel you. So if you take in the right amount and the right sources, you’re only gonna have a better week of working out later on. Right? So don’t think that yo it’s the rest day refe appropriately. Don’t just think because it’s rest, they’re gonna make it your best day. You’re gonna drink a little bit of this. Gonna drink a little bit of that. You’re just gonna take your foot off the pedal. Spend time building up your nutrition. Being nutrient dense and work may be a different type of, not just cardio, but strength. And lastly, all right. So number four, let’s compare. You do nothing after a brutal strength day versus being active. After a brutal strength day, your rest day, isn’t gonna be your best day. After a hard day, you don’t do absolutely nothing the next day at all.
Right? If you did a lot of hard Scrabble power gains on your brutal strength, power day, and then you decide the next day or the next two days that you’re gonna take your foot right off the pedal and just coast and make your rest day, your best day, you might actually not supplement your power days. All right? You will probably need some rest, but it definitely shouldn’t be the passive kind. All right? You definitely don’t wanna attack the same muscle group the next day, unless you’re doing a different type of rep count. In which case you can augment power days. That’s part of the recovery. But right now I want to talk about doing nothing. You might lose your power gains. Power gains are consider power gains because it’s such a short rep count. You’re only doing a few reps. You’re only doing it for a few seconds.
Consider that the bleeding edge of how hard you’re gonna push yourself inside the weight room, inside the weight room. If you’re doing loads where you’re able to do about 25, 30, 40, you don’t wanna do 40 but 2030 or so right around there. Ideally though the you’re never reaching failure after 25 or 30, you can, but theoretically, a tweak of less weight and you’re able to do five more reps. Well, they’re not, it’s not the same when you’re doing power. The margin at which how many reps you can do with your power and your heavy lifting is never gonna be like four. Like, oops, my, I just bench pressed, you know, three 15 on a side note, I do not bench press three 15, but if you just did three, your heaviest bench, press your heaviest bench press. You’re not gonna, you know, around and be like, whoops, I could have done seven more like this might happen if you do really light endurance loads.
So the most intense, slow speed relatively work is gonna be trying to get your power gains in. And those brutal days don’t require you to do the thing where you’re like, yo, I worked really hard. I’m gonna rest really hard. That’s not the move. What you instead wanna be doing is stretching. Realizing that working those biggest type two X beast muscle fibers, the big guys, right? The big, the big muscle fibers working. Those actually binds your body up because you need hard tensions. You need a lot of wind up and a lot of build up to produce tension, knowing that you’ve built up all those muscle tissues you need probably spent the next day stretching doing some mobility, working similar adjacent or antagonist muscle tissue, for example, on the next day. But definitely not doing absolutely nothing because, because those are the bleeding edge lifts where you’re constantly pushing yourself to try and get some kind of progressive overload. What might happen is those gains could cease. Why? Because too much binding too much winding up of those muscle tissues and not stretching them out might lead to inhibitory responses from your body. And I’ll just leave it at that where you don’t see more power gains later, right?
Theoretically, you guys, you should be able to keep progressing with your power gains. Nearly indefinitely. Everybody has a genetic ceiling on what, how much they can lift and how fast they can lift it. Right? But theoretically, you shouldn’t be cutting yourself short earlier than your genetics allow. And that happens all the time, all the time. A lot of us, when we get really comfortable with bench pressing, whatever it is, we need to bench press or cleaning, whatever it is. We cleaner deadlift, right? I see a lot of women now in the gym, we’re doing the, I don’t even know what you call it. The hip thrust, you got four plates on that thing. You’re hip thrusting 405 pounds. And you’re like, well, when’s four 15 gonna come into the picture, right? When is 4 25 gonna come into the picture? And it might never, because what we’re doing is we’re capping ourselves at how much we’re lifting, because we’re not augmenting this with types of stretching and power moves. The genetics haven’t stopped. Our ceiling. Hasn’t been reached with those four plates, for example. But what we’ve done is we’ve made our workout regimen become the ceiling versus our actual human potential. Why? Because we look, we figured it out. We were able to bench press 400 pounds or hip thrust, 400 pounds right away. And we jumped right into that.
We glory lifted a little bit too soon. All right. If we do the glory lifting, if we build up to it and then on the next day, augment was stretching, augment with mobility, right? Augment with antagonist lifting different set rep counts. Like I call bulletproofing the body the next day on those hard power days. If we augment it with that, we have more of an ability to grow big muscle tissue. All right. So look, I want you guys to rest when you work hard because you earn it. And that might be the honorable mention for number five. This is a reward. Those rest days ought to be a reward for you. It’s because you work so hard doing the thing that you need, some kind of a rest planning your rest. It’s good, but you should also be in a space where you’ve earned your rest and you almost have to rest because you’ve pushed yourself to the limit.
All right. Never be afraid to push yourself to the absolute limit. When we do the thing inside the gym, out in a trail, getting active, all right. And then we can take a natural kind of rest and rehab day. But in our best day, it’s just gonna be a really quality day. So that’s where I’ll stop for today. I want you guys to try it out. Hit me on the ego killer show.com website. Let me know how it worked out for you with the form at the bottom of that website, apple podcast, where you go, if you like the episode and you wanna review and rate it, give it five stars helps spread the show. I would appreciate that one. And then how do I always leave you guys until the next one stay up.