Rest Days

I made it my mission to work out 21 days straight, this meant a minimum of 33 minutes of cardio and strength training 5 of the 7 days a week. On the first I made it to the gym 21 days straight, the 2nd I walked the track only a mile then back to the gym on the third, and fourth. Finally on the 5th I took a rest day then today the 6th I got back on the elliptical after missing a day and if felt like day one ok not that bad but still. What is a rest day? How and when should the be taken?

Replies

  • ems1583
    ems1583 Posts: 184 Member
    its important to have atleast 1 day of full rest. I workout 6x/week doing Tapout and 3x/week of Chalean Extreme. I'm always wiped out by the 6th day, and I know how important that single rest day is. You don't want to overtrain yourself or something. And wow, 21 straight days! thats too much.
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,831 Member
    I made it my mission to work out 21 days straight, this meant a minimum of 33 minutes of cardio and strength training 5 of the 7 days a week. On the first I made it to the gym 21 days straight, the 2nd I walked the track only a mile then back to the gym on the third, and fourth. Finally on the 5th I took a rest day then today the 6th I got back on the elliptical after missing a day and if felt like day one ok not that bad but still. What is a rest day? How and when should the be taken?

    Depends on how intense the effort, and if you really want to see improvement from the time you spend working out.

    If you don't give time for rest and recovery, you don't get stronger, so eventually your workouts will plateau and usually get worse, ie harder work for less performance. Feel like eventually spinning your wheels?

    It would be fine to make a short Active Recovery HR zone cardio the day following an intense effort, instead of a full rest day.
    This is enough to get blood into the muscles, help with repair and healing and getting stronger, but not actually add any load to the system that would cause that all to fail.
    And then put a rest day after your hardest day.

    If everyday is full blast effort, you are training your carb burning system, you are training your muscles to store more glucose and water, and that all spells weight fluctuation, not loss. Plus with training your carb-burning system, it's harder to get rid of the fat except at rest.

    Are you hoping all the cardio will help with weight loss?

    It won't after a bit. In fact if you aren't feeding those kinds of workouts, just the opposite will likely happen, you'll slow your weight loss down to a crawl, and then it may stall. Because you are increasing your chances of burning off muscle depending on how long and how intense those efforts are.

    If this is about weight loss, you'd be better served doing heavy lifts 3 days a week for 1hr, with gentle short 30 min cardio on in-between days to encourage repair and building stronger. Swimming, walking fast or slow jogging, easy elliptical, ect.

    You could even replace a lifting day with a true HIIT routine, followed by a rest day, that and weight would burn off some fat.
  • tilenard
    tilenard Posts: 13
    Wow that was very helpful and very informative. Yes I am working on weight loss and ongoing toning. Obviously I have no idea what I am doing hence the 100+ pounds I need to loose. I did 21 days straight only to make working out a habit, you know they say it takes three weeks to make a habit right? Anyway thank you so much!
  • tilenard
    tilenard Posts: 13
    Ok and another question do I need to eat all my calories, I have my calories set to loose 2 lbs a week but I always try to stay a couple hundred under...is that ok?
  • BinaryPulsar
    BinaryPulsar Posts: 8,938 Member
    I just want to say that this is very helpful information! Thanks!
  • wewiley
    wewiley Posts: 5
    Ok and another question do I need to eat all my calories, I have my calories set to loose 2 lbs a week but I always try to stay a couple hundred under...is that ok?

    From what I understand, it's not really healthy for your body to lose much more than 2 lbs. per week. That can be frustrating if you're trying to lose a large amount of weight, but for long-term, lasting results, you're better off eating your calories, and making gradual progress than you are rushing to the finish line. There are several reasons for this.

    First, your body will adapt to your caloric intake. That is, if you are always undereating, your metabolism will shift to meet the calorie deficit, and you will not lose weight as quickly as you'd like. Secondly, if you're not getting enough calories/vitamins/nutrients/, you're more likely to burn muscle than fat. This will also be detrimental to your weight loss efforts, because muscle is more efficient at burning calories than fat. Finally, if you're cutting your calories too severely, you may be undermining your workouts in the gym, as you will tire out more quickly. I think this is huge. A lot of times, this can happen without us realizing it. It's the same concept as having a late night out partying (I'm certainly not innocent in this regard). You either give your body too much bad stuff, or too little good stuff, and your energy levels suffer, therefore affecting your workout. I'm sure there are people here who are much more qualified to discuss this issue in a scientific manner, and I may be wrong, but from my experience, all of the above is noteworthy. Good luck!
  • stagknight
    stagknight Posts: 130 Member
    Slightly under your calories per day is fine. The end of the day log out when you close out your diary will tell you if you are too much under.
  • bathsheba_c
    bathsheba_c Posts: 1,866 Member
    Slightly under your calories per day is fine. The end of the day log out when you close out your diary will tell you if you are too much under.
    Sorry, but I gotta correct this. MFP will only warn you if you eat fewer than 1200 calories a day, even though most people should be eating more.

    Basically, every 5-ish lbs, you should do a check to estimate your approximate BMR, and you should make it a regular practice to eat above that amount. If you start eating regularly below, all the nasty metabolic effects wewiley mentioned come into play. This, incidentally, is the big limiting factor on how quickly you can lose healthily.
  • louiseshaw88
    louiseshaw88 Posts: 132 Member
    I would say you should be eating all your calories especially if you are working out - your calorie intake will be worked on based on what your body needs so you shouldnt really be cutting that down i know it seems like the best thing to do for weight loss but it really isnt, your body starts to panic when it doesnt get enough calories so instead of burning fat it stores it incase the lack of calories continues it can use the fat its storing for energy when your not eating enough. i use those calories for healthy snacks such as nuts or dried fruit ect even a low fat yogurt - small meals little and often will keep your metabolism working all the time which means it stays at a certain speed and doesnt have to start and stop all the time which means it wont be burning fat as fast :)
  • I've been thinking about this myself. since sunday I've felt exhausted and took sunday as a rest day. Yesterday I felt equally as rough but dragged myself to the gym only managing 37mins of cardio but was did an hours walk outside also. Today i feel yuk, i've had a coldsore since the weekend and still feel really tired, got pain in my right shoulder (relating to my c-spine) and now i'm not sure what to do. i've still got another 50-60lbs to go and i'm really pushing myself with exercise now doing 1-1/2 hrs of cardio and weights approx 5 days a week. Do I take another rest day or fight through it?? I'm also battling the guilt if I don't go lol.
    Sorry to jump on your thread Tilenard its just you posted exactly what I was wondering.
  • mogletdeluxe
    mogletdeluxe Posts: 623 Member

    From what I understand, it's not really healthy for your body to lose much more than 2 lbs. per week. That can be frustrating if you're trying to lose a large amount of weight, but for long-term, lasting results, you're better off eating your calories, and making gradual progress than you are rushing to the finish line. There are several reasons for this.

    First, your body will adapt to your caloric intake. That is, if you are always undereating, your metabolism will shift to meet the calorie deficit, and you will not lose weight as quickly as you'd like. Secondly, if you're not getting enough calories/vitamins/nutrients/, you're more likely to burn muscle than fat. This will also be detrimental to your weight loss efforts, because muscle is more efficient at burning calories than fat. Finally, if you're cutting your calories too severely, you may be undermining your workouts in the gym, as you will tire out more quickly. I think this is huge. A lot of times, this can happen without us realizing it. It's the same concept as having a late night out partying (I'm certainly not innocent in this regard). You either give your body too much bad stuff, or too little good stuff, and your energy levels suffer, therefore affecting your workout. I'm sure there are people here who are much more qualified to discuss this issue in a scientific manner, and I may be wrong, but from my experience, all of the above is noteworthy. Good luck!

    QFT. Thank you for such a clear, informative post. I could do with listening to this advice more often!

    Back to the original topic, I've been toying with rest days recently (kind of enforced as work has been busy and I'm a little bit run-down). Funnily enough, I'm having one today! i must admit, I do go a little stir-crazy without my fix but it's pretty telling that my body is kicking up a stink (not literally...ahem) so I should listen to it.
  • londoneye
    londoneye Posts: 192 Member
    I get the temptation to set at 2 lb per week, but such an aggressive strategy may make it harder for you to sustain your weight loss in the long term. And if you do stick to 2 lb, I'd make sure you hit your calorie goal or even go a hundred or two over, just to make sure you're fueling yourself properly. Remember, hitting this goal means you are eating 1000 calories per day less than you need to maintain your current weight.

    I'd recommend 1 lb a week (a 500 cal deficit), and for you to eat back the calories you burn through exercise.

    Good luck!
  • mulcahya
    mulcahya Posts: 84
    I have a similar query! Sorry for hijacking thread :P

    I'm aiming to lose weight/tone up/lose size but I also want to get back into running and get fitter.

    I've been doing 4 days a week of "light" (my boyfriend says they're light, but it's hard for me!) dumbbell weight training (2 days on, day off, 2 days on, weekend off) with a short leg/butt session (~10 minutes) on the middle day. I was going for ~30 minute walks every day after my weight training, but this week I've stepped it up to 30minutes HIIT (60sec jogging, 90sec walking) with a 15minute high intensity walk afterwards on the treadmill at an incline each day.

    I want to slim my legs, lose weight, but also get fitter, so is one rest day enough? I did two sessions on the treadmill today and I thought I'd feel tired for the second one but I felt fine. Usually though I would only be doing the one session.

    Should I have one rest day a week to recover? Or more or less?

    I'm impatient but also very keen to do this properly for long lasting results!

    :)
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,831 Member
    Ok and another question do I need to eat all my calories, I have my calories set to loose 2 lbs a week but I always try to stay a couple hundred under...is that ok?

    50 over is better than 100 under.
    You want your body to have energy and nutrients to repair with?

    You also realize that you have that deficit even when you don't workout, hence the reason you are given credit calories and your daily total goes up.
    To maintain that same deficit level, which in your case is probably realistic enough, you get to eat back the exercise calories.

    Don't worry about the comments that MFP is inflated with calorie burn amounts, it depends on how slow you go.
    Besides which, inflated burned calories somewhat balances the fact the goal is many times lower than it should be.
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,831 Member
    I've been thinking about this myself. since sunday I've felt exhausted and took sunday as a rest day. Yesterday I felt equally as rough but dragged myself to the gym only managing 37mins of cardio but was did an hours walk outside also. Today i feel yuk, i've had a coldsore since the weekend and still feel really tired, got pain in my right shoulder (relating to my c-spine) and now i'm not sure what to do. i've still got another 50-60lbs to go and i'm really pushing myself with exercise now doing 1-1/2 hrs of cardio and weights approx 5 days a week. Do I take another rest day or fight through it?? I'm also battling the guilt if I don't go lol.
    Sorry to jump on your thread Tilenard its just you posted exactly what I was wondering.

    Diet is for fat loss.
    Exercise is for heart health and body improvements, and may or may not lead or help with weight loss. May hinder it too.

    You cause your body excessive stress with excessive exercise, and at this point probably isn't as strong as it could be anyway, so you aren't getting the bang for effort and time spent.
    Throw in eating at deficit, possibly extreme compared to level of activity you do - you aren't doing your body any good.
    At the best, it can't make the improvements it would like to.
    At the worst, you are prone to sickness and injury and slowed metabolism.

    If you don't take a rest voluntarily, you'll find that your body will eventually make it happen no matter what - and then you'll be out of it for an extended time.

    Yes to two seperated rest days after two big weight lifting days.
    Yes to two 60 min aerobic zone cardio days proceeding those weight lifting days.
    Yes to a fun long cardio you enjoy at whatever effort feels good, proceeding one of the other cardio days, following rest day.

    Long or intense for fun
    60 min aerobic zone
    weights
    rest
    60 min aerobic zone
    weights
    rest
  • WendyTerry420
    WendyTerry420 Posts: 13,278 Member
    Just like God said, six days of work, one day of rest.
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,831 Member
    I've been doing 4 days a week of "light" (my boyfriend says they're light, but it's hard for me!) dumbbell weight training (2 days on, day off, 2 days on, weekend off) with a short leg/butt session (~10 minutes) on the middle day. I was going for ~30 minute walks every day after my weight training, but this week I've stepped it up to 30minutes HIIT (60sec jogging, 90sec walking) with a 15minute high intensity walk afterwards on the treadmill at an incline each day.

    Read other responses too.

    Regarding HIIT, it isn't HIIT if you are doing it every day, it's just intervals. And while still useful, not the benefit of HIIT for fat burn.

    You can't do HIIT level day after day, because it's like a good weight lifting session. If you are, then you really aren't pushing yourself hard enough, and you can't day after day.

    Very light cardio of same muscles, or lifting with different muscles, should follow day of HIIT.
    Day before HIIT should not be lifting with same muscles, though aerobic cardio is fine.
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,831 Member
    For some good advice from several sources regarding workout routines and intensity, use the spreadsheet referenced in this topic, the HRM tab at the bottom, the second section dealing with HR zones and such.

    You don't have to be that exact as using zones if you don't want to, though it does optimize your workouts if you desire - but you can get the idea of how to mix and match.

    http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/677905-spreadsheet-for-bmr-tdee-deficit-calc-macro-calc-hrm