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Ask The Ripped Dude

"Are My Active Rest Days Too Active?"

Ask The Ripped Dude: Are My Active Rest Days Too Active?

I've published more than 100 fitness articles and became the Bodybuilding.com 2012 Male Writer of the Year. My goal is to help you get in the best shape possible!
Q

Are my "active rest day" soccer games helping or hurting me?

How many times have we heard the saying "no pain no gain?" Or better, "You have to live in the gym to attain the body you want." Have you ever had someone say that?

I have to admit that for the first decade of my training, I followed those principles. I worked out six, often seven days per week. Looking back, I know that overtraining is the reason I went through longs plateaus with no improvement. I also blame it for the serious aches and pains that limited my lean muscle growth.

Then I smartened up. I began listening to my body and incorporated at least two rest days per week. My body responded. I felt stronger, had more endurance, and stopped feeling pain.

So, About Soccer?

I'm getting there, don't worry. In my opinion, an "active rest day" is a day when you take time off your usual training routine and perform lighter activities. What's a lighter activity? Active rest days can consist of short, light jogging, hiking, biking, or even going to the gym. These activities shouldn't exhaust you, but they will still burn calories.

To me, a rest day is a rest day, and a workout is a workout. When I train, my hard workouts are earlier in the week, and the last days of the week are reserved for easier workouts. I don't believe in active resting because, technically, you're still doing a workout. If you're playing in a full-field soccer game, you're definitely not resting. Why not just allow your body to recover?

Resting is the most important part of the muscle-building process. Workouts tear down your muscles. Resting allows them to repair and grow. If you are someone who trains all the time with little rest, you will probably make better gains if you took more days off. Your body builds muscle when it's resting, not when it's working out.

If you train Monday through Friday, you should take Saturday and Sunday completely off. If you enjoy your Sunday soccer games, choose another day to use as a rest day. Your soccer game should count as a workout. Rest means rest—plain and simple.

You are not the Terminator or a machine. You are human being. Your joints and muscles need to recuperate.

Transform Your Body


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About The Author

Known as ''The World Most Ripped Fitness Model,'' he's very passionate about educating people all over the world about health and fitness.

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jngeronimo

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jngeronimo

Rest it is!

Article Rated:
Apr 4, 2013 7:08pm | report
 
HintonBE

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HintonBE

Very good article.

Having a rest day is something that was preached by my trainer way back when and I've always stuck with it. Feels weird to not be training on those days, but I know it's for the better in the long run.

Apr 4, 2013 7:19pm | report
 
fendrbendr98

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fendrbendr98

Very good advice. Sometimes we NEED to be reminded to rest from an outside source that it's okay to take a break every now and then.

Apr 4, 2013 7:47pm | report
 
wwf1972

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wwf1972

I agree. Not only is it important to schedule your rest days, but also SO important to listen to your body. Sometimes we dont need quite as many sets or not such a heavy weight. Get in tune with your muscles and listen to what theyre saying. Kill it when it feels right and back off when its not.

Apr 4, 2013 8:47pm | report
 
blake.arnold89

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blake.arnold89

I've recently started Jim Stoppani's 12 week shortcut to size program and he's a fan of "active rest on days you don't lift. He advocated HIIT on them days or light cardio. I did intervals of sprints, is that too much if the goal is growth on the program???

Apr 5, 2013 4:26am | report
 
XxmetallicaxX

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XxmetallicaxX

I don't have an answer for you, all I can say is that everyone has their own opinion on things when it comes to off days and rest and what is bad or good, so just treat it like this article says, if your legs muscles are sore or aching, maybe the sprints need to be taken out of your off day regimen....

Apr 5, 2013 5:50am | report
JFort93

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JFort93

I go to the gym 6 days a week and do sprints on the 7th day. Eat right and get enough sleep and you'll be fine. Stick with it bro.

Apr 5, 2013 9:54am | report
JFort93

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JFort93

I go to the gym 6 days a week and do sprints on the 7th day. Eat right and get enough sleep and you'll be fine. Stick with it bro.

Apr 5, 2013 9:54am | report
TBKuehn

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TBKuehn

Blake, I'm doing Stoppani's program as well. I do 10-15 minutes of HIIT after each lifting day, and do a steady run on two of the three active rest days. I might do 4 100M sprints at the end of the runs, but that's it. I use Saturday as a pure rest day. I think it's a good balance.

Apr 5, 2013 10:51am | report
Sabeque

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Sabeque

also that's just a program, you arent going to stay on the same one forever. I think the idea is don't wear yourself out too much ALL the time. If every program you go on has you active 7 days a week then that may be too much but if you switch it up so your next one you get the rest in there when you need it then it should be fine. listen to your body and do what works

Apr 8, 2013 12:45pm | report
Sabeque

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Sabeque

I agree too that adequate food and sleep makes a huge difference

Apr 8, 2013 12:46pm | report
dajunglebrotha

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dajunglebrotha

lol ok? active rest days? come on people use your head its a rest day for a reason, sheesh, lol!

Apr 5, 2013 9:34am | report
 
MetroBodyBuilt

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MetroBodyBuilt

i just walk on the treadmill

Apr 5, 2013 5:50pm | report
 
fuskarn

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fuskarn

everyday is training day!

Apr 6, 2013 7:31am | report
 
captdavidjm

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captdavidjm

I agree 100%. Without proper rest (days off) I'd stay skinny (like my photo) forever. I've also learned that proper rest is very important to my mental as well as physical wellbeing. After a day off I'm mentally re-charged and re-motivated. I feel good and am anxious to get back to it.
Thanks for the great article.

Apr 7, 2013 9:24pm | report
 
NeAtEnD

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NeAtEnD

Good point! I like to workout 2x a day with no rest days.. might have to take your advice.

Apr 8, 2013 8:18am | report
 
Geheimrat

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Geheimrat

I believe it's true what he says, the body needs rest. But I simply can't do nothing - ever. I train six days a week (weights in the morning, cardio in the evening) and on Sundays I go biking or hiking or swimming. I don't feel tired at all. I try to get 8-9 hours sleep each night though.

Apr 8, 2013 10:09am | report
 
Bugler666

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Bugler666

This is such a nice article to read.

I beasted myself yesterday and so far today have done nothing. Was feeling guilty about it until I read this article. Turns out I'm doing it right. Yay.

Apr 8, 2013 11:47am | report
 
jcsmitty

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jcsmitty

I agree Obi. When I first started hearing the term active rest days, I immediately thought that it's really not a rest day b/c you are technically and in reality working out/training. It may not be what you do on your regularly scheduled workouts, may not be structured, etc., but it's still exercise.

Even though it's hard for many of us not to want to train, I believe we/some may need to try and re-program their way of thinking. The body really does need rest. Without it, increased gains and true recovery is very difficult.

Apr 20, 2013 7:56pm | report
 
Bizzie

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Bizzie

So today is a total rest day for me, Tomorrow I plan on doing Legs and no cardio til Friday would u consider that 2 day's of rest for the upper body??

May 22, 2013 11:09am | report
 
cyoothere

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cyoothere

Fine with me :)

Jun 18, 2013 4:29am | report
 
KatVonRom

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KatVonRom

When I stopped doing massive amounts of cardio and starting taking at least one rest day per week because my trainer forced me I started seeing huge improvements! If you are always sore and exhausted you can't perform your workouts at 100% anyway.

Jul 13, 2013 1:23pm | report
 
EinmalRep

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EinmalRep

Resting is my biggest problem. I sometimes work out 8-11 times a week (a lot of two-a-days) and feel like a *** when I'm not in the gym but have noticed that when I train less often I make better gains. Rest is something I need to work on. Thanks for the advice!

Jan 10, 2014 10:31pm | report
 
demigod44

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demigod44

sir this article really mean something,rest day is rest day from now on, earlier for me rest day use to mean cardio day.

Article Rated:
Apr 4, 2014 10:32am | report
 
dragunov313

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dragunov313

What if we're doing a routine like Arnold Blueprint. There is only a single rest day, and each muscle group is hit twice in a week. After 2 weeks of that, I feel I don't need rest days!

May 24, 2014 10:31pm | report
 
Showing 1 - 25 of 27 Comments

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