5 Tips For Making The Most Of A Day Off

This brings new meaning to keeping technology close at all times.

This brings new meaning to keeping technology close at all times.

Believe it or not, it’s good to take some time off every once in awhile. I know, that’s not such a well-regarded concept in our world of constant connection, but it’s true.

Some people just can’t seem to take a break. Even if you are guilty of staying “plugged in” all day every day, hopefully, you are at least on an exercise program that has breaks built in to it.

Since all GMB programs have considerable rest time built in to them, people often ask us,

What should I do on my days off? Should I add in some other exercise program?

 

 

You see, a lot of people feel uncomfortable with the idea of completely taking a day off. What they don’t realize is, without sufficient rest, the body can’t fully recover and, after some time, it begins to break down.

As we like to say, you can either give your body the rest it needs now, or you can wait until your body has had enough and takes that rest later, perhaps permanently.

Assuming you know the importance of taking rest, there are some things you should know about how to take that rest. Sitting by the pool sipping a Mai Tai is just fine once in a while, but if you’re taking two or three rest days per week (which we highly recommend), you should probably use that time a little more strategically.

 

Our five best tips for restoring your sanity by making the most of your downtime:

 

1. Get Outside

Get outside - it'll fix you right up.

Get outside – it’ll fix you right up.

On a day off, what your body needs is all the R&R it can get. Luckily, we’ve got a built-in recuperative device we can access just by stepping outside: sunlight.

Even in the absence of a regular exercise routine, sunlight can help strengthen the bones and joints; but, especially when following a moderate fitness regimen, sunlight is an excellent partner for your efforts.

Sunlight is extremely important for restoring your sanity, as it has been shown to improve mood and energy, and improving those things will help keep you on track. Think about it: If your mood and energy are low, you’re simply less likely to stay on track with your fitness routine.

What if I live in a tundra that never gets direct sunlight?

It’s still a good idea to get outside as much as possible. There’s only so much air re-circulation your body can handle before it needs some fresh air.

Even if that air is frigidly cold.

 

2. Untether

This comes back to the point I was making earlier, but I really can’t stress this enough. If you have the time, it’s a really good idea to shut off your phone, computer, and all other connections to the outside world and just be. Obviously, I’m not suggesting you do this everyday, but even if you start by doing this for an hour once a week, you’ll probably see some benefits.

What does shutting off my cell phone have to do with letting my body recover?

Your body is ridiculously smart. Seriously, it can figure out when you need to breathe faster, when to slow down your heart rate, and when to increase your body temperature.

BUT it still hasn’t figured out how to distinguish between different types of stress. Running at top speed, and reading a stressful work email elicit the same response from your body, even if they feel completely different to you.

So, when you’re actively giving your body a day of rest, the last thing you want to do is screw that up by staying plugged in to potentially stressful stimuli. Even playing Angry Birds can have the same effect.

 

3. Eat Great Food

Food is fuel, plain and simple. Without the right balance of the right types of nutrients, your body won’t fully recover. Period.

But, if I just left it there, I’d be leaving out a lot of important information, and we’d potentially have a bunch of people going into full-on macronutrient OCD episodes.

Step away from the food scale!

Great food is about a lot more than just measuring out the right proportions of the right macronutrients. It’s also about enjoyment – which, believe it or not, is also really good for your body’s recovery abilities.

I know I won’t have to twist your arm on this one – delicious food is a pretty easy sell. Just be careful. You can read the official GMB nutrition recommendations here.

 

4. Choose Your Company Wisely

If you're surrounded by people who make you feel like this, your active recovery days won't be very successful.

If you’re surrounded by people who make you feel like this, your active recovery days won’t be very successful.

Again, this one’s probably a pretty easy sell, but important nonetheless. This doesn’t just apply to rest days, but certainly on days when you’re trying to give your body a break, stay away from crappy people. Or any people who stress you out.

We all have those people in our lives – a self-destructive friend, or hyper-critical family member.

I’m not saying you should (or shouldn’t) cut these people off altogether, but just be conscious of how certain people make you feel, and whether those people will have a negative impact on your active recovery efforts.

On your days off, in particular, spend time with people who have a calming effect on you and whose company will almost definitely be enjoyable.

 

5. Move

But I thought this was supposed to be a rest day??

Rest does not mean sitting still – that’s why we call it active recovery. But, it also doesn’t mean working so hard you defeat the purpose of a rest day. You have to find a balance that allows your body to recover through movement.

On my active recovery days, I usually go for a 20-30 minute bike ride. Nothing too strenuous, but enough activity that it keeps my body moving.

There are endless possibilities of things you could do to get the movement you need – gardening, yoga, going for a walk. Just pick something you enjoy and commit to doing a little every time you have a day off. It will help your body recover more quickly and more completely.

 

Our Favorite Practice For Active Recovery Days

UGhandstandHopefully, you now understand the importance of giving your body, not just enough rest, but the right type of rest. Follow these principles for your active recovery days, and you’ll probably like how you feel.

If you’re looking for a great way to implement #5 on this list, we often recommend practicing handstands on active recovery days. Handstands are great for working on shoulder and wrist mobility, and shouldn’t be too strenuous if you work at the right level for yourself. You can get started with our Ultimate Guide to Learning Handstands.

 

 Images via BekathwiaFuzzTheKingOfTreestim caynes

Rachel Honeyman

Marketing Assistant - Almost five feet tall, Rachel is responsible for all kinds of writing tasks around GMB HQ and also manages our charity and press relationships. She likes chocolate way too much.

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5 Tips For Making The Most Of A Day Off by
  • Khaled Allen

    Great advice here. What I loved about the F1 program was the programmed rest days. My GF also appreciated that, since I used to exercise all the freakin’ time. That said, people tend to undervalue recovery. That’s where all the good stuff happens, s it pays to make it enjoyable as per your suggestions.

    • http://www.goldmedalbodies.com/ Andy Fossett

      That’s great, Khaled. I think most people are afraid to rest – they think they’ll get fat on their rest day or something.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.knox.129 Kevin Knox

    That “isolation device” image is hilarious. :-)

    I’m really working on working this out. Rest is contrary to every neurosis I’ve diligently built across nearly 5 decades of life. It’s easy to say, “Just recover,” but it’s bizarrely hard not to feel like my drill sergeant’s going to appear in the paint on the wall asking me what I’m doing for the Army right now! It’s not “getting fat on my rest day,” but a whole day gone and nothing gained, that’s hard. I really have to diligently tell myself I can rest, or I won’t.

    Hence, I can’t follow your wonderful advice. The RSI hurting I put on my wrist almost two months ago is still enforcing my near-complete rest from handstands. I can weed, though, and I can slackline.

    I learn slow, but I’m working on it.

    • http://www.goldmedalbodies.com/ Andy Fossett

      Do what you can, Kevin. Even if all you’re able to do is more than you should ;)

  • http://twitter.com/TheFitRebel Matt Schifferle

    I’m notorious for not being able to un-hook from training. You’re so right about the importance of getting outside. As Calvin once said to Hobbs, “the world isn’t so bad if you can just get out into it.”

    • RyanHurst

      Calvin is a wise one. :)

  • James

    Hi guys my concern is that I’ve purchase programme R1 about a week ago and have send two messages regarding using I-pad to down load exercise tutorial videos and etc. the last person I email was amber but have no reply since than because I am really keen to start the program but this problem is delaying it. hope to hear from you soon
    Thanks james

  • Jamez

    Just letting you know I already tried GMB.posse and still receive the same results when using iPad. It’s funny when i purchase R1 programe, instantaneously I get a reply but now when I am looking for assistance, all I get is nothing? I am so keen to start the program and at the same time getting a little impatient
    Thanks James

    • RyanHurst

      Jamez, we aren’t ignoring you! I think it’s just that Amber might be swamped. Please hold on just we’ll get back to you as soon as can.

    • http://www.goldmedalbodies.com/ Andy Fossett

      You may need to check your email, because I’ve personally replied to you twice, and I know Amber has at least once as well. Please check your spam folder or give us a corrected email address.

      I’ll delete this comment in 12 hours since it’s irrelevant to this topic.

  • Jamez

    Hi Andy,I apologise and i am sorry for sending the last message on this blog,was a little impatient, I take that back. I’ve realised when I check my outbox, my email wasn’t send to Amber concerning using iPad to down load exercise tutorial videos. Thanks James

  • Mabel Amber

    I used to not rest, stretching and straining each day – then when through circumstance i missed out a couple of days once…. I was surprised to find out that instead of the stiffness i had expected, the splits came off better than ever!

    • http://www.goldmedalbodies.com/ Andy Fossett

      Right? It’s amazing what happens when your body is well-rested.