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At what point is active rest no longer rest?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 22, 2012 at 5:01 PM

I train in martial arts about two hours a day five days a week, and try to take one day off on weekends with a hike on the other day. Thing is, quite often on that "rest" day a friend will invite me on another long hike, or rock climbing, or I'll end up playing football with my cousins, or somehow else I'll end up moving around pretty hard. I consider all of these play and not quite exercise, and I tell myself "Oh it's active rest; this counts as a day off." Due to my schedule, I know I need some solid rest. So at what point does active rest become just active?

Has anyone had experience experimenting with more "complete rest" days and fewer "active rest" days?

EDIT: I feel I should point out also that I know I don't get enough sleep. I'm in college and at least twice a week I get about four hours, rarely seven. On weekends I try to sleep in for ten.

737471a5bc1c8b81d968c3f3fcd13b71

(389)

on April 23, 2012
at 12:22 AM

Unfortunately, I do find that my training suffers from too much work/exercise. Then again, I have a lot of stress right now; maybe when that's dialed down I'll be able to train as much as I like without the same toll on my system.

65bf1ca7071028018c6d8305d0ddcd76

(3049)

on April 22, 2012
at 05:22 PM

+1 I think this is a great answer- and your first post! Nicely done :)

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4 Answers

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4
4c9ce32229b4c1be9cccf01e141cdb66

on April 22, 2012
at 05:20 PM

I train a boatload but always make sure to take a scheduled 1 day off/week where I don't really do anything physical besides simple recovery practices (i.e. foam rolling, etc.). My volume is pretty high like yours (2 sessions a day 4 days/week, 1 session a day 2 days/week) but its mostly strength/power work (gymnastics, hand balancing, and oly/power lifting) and I would guess to not be nearly as glycolytically taxing as martial arts.

I don't always feel the need for a full day off but I think that if I consistently skipped on the FULL day of rest I would eventually pay the price. I should say I also follow Poliquin's prescription of every time you come back to the same workout - no matter how you are feeling - you scale total volume to 40%. These practices along with proper nutrition/sleep leaving me feeling pretty well recovered all the tie.

Short answer: If you're really training hard 5 days a week I would make sure to take a full day off and play with the volume of the rest of your workouts. You'll be able to go harder when you need to and last longer in your chosen sport.

Check out some of the stuff on 8weeksout.com. Joel Jamieson has some legit stuff on programming for MMA fighting and it might be similar to what you are looking for?

Hopefully this was helpful... :)

65bf1ca7071028018c6d8305d0ddcd76

(3049)

on April 22, 2012
at 05:22 PM

+1 I think this is a great answer- and your first post! Nicely done :)

1
3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on April 22, 2012
at 05:22 PM

Rest refers to your digestive system going into a high-elimination ("detox") mode, which triggers the parasympathetic nervous system to divert resources that would otherwise be used for physical activity/digestion and utilize that towards cleaning the crap out of your body and repairing muscle and other such processes.

Physical activity or anything that can cause the adrenals to be active will inhibit your body from going into "Rest" mode. If your sympathetic nervous system is constantly active, you're never getting true rest, even if you're sitting or laying down.

0
B41cdb2253976ba9b429dd608d02c21f

(1495)

on April 22, 2012
at 06:47 PM

Cardio-wise, the rule is to train at more than 65% of your max HR.

0
1bbcd2122d9c75b07440f22ef57d6448

(2934)

on April 22, 2012
at 05:48 PM

I row one to one and a half hours a day, five days a week, usually at high intensity. My off days are typically fully off -- no workouts, maybe a couple sets of bodyweight (squats, pushups) if I'm feeling especially sluggish. This works well for me, as I usually end the week sore and burned out.

The past two weeks however, I've done yard work (2-4 hours) on one of my rest days. It's a pretty solid workout from a paleo perspective -- lots of low-impact cardio (raking, wheelbarrowing) and occasional heavy lifting (lifting logs, pulling up vines/small trees). I'm always surprised that I feel tired and need extra food, because I'm not used to the concept of getting a workout without iron or a boat involved, but I don't find it really affects my recovery.

Still, I've heard that most professional athletes take their rest seriously, and slow way down when they're not actively training. Still, I wouldn't let fears of overtraining stop you from hiking/climbing/having fun, provided you don't see your primary workouts suffer.

737471a5bc1c8b81d968c3f3fcd13b71

(389)

on April 23, 2012
at 12:22 AM

Unfortunately, I do find that my training suffers from too much work/exercise. Then again, I have a lot of stress right now; maybe when that's dialed down I'll be able to train as much as I like without the same toll on my system.

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