We have all met that one person who claims to be an exercise enthusiast, but at every possible point there seems to be some sort of excuse when called to perform. Cheat days, Rest days, off weeks, vacations, “overtraining,” and a ton of other words can describe some sort of pause or interruption in your routine. There always seems to be some kind of reason to hold back or take a break from staying consistent and achieving higher levels of performance. While training at 100% every day can cause burnout and recovery is an important part of any training program, the ways and reasons to interrupt training have a purpose to not take away from the progress you have made and even help progress continue.
We’ve all heard these different terms in the gym and around the fitness world. But what do they really mean? Most people make it an excuse to take a break from the program being followed or the difficulty of the fitness lifestyle. But there is a method to the idea. It’s not just a cheat day so you eat horribly for a whole day, and you can’t just deem yourself “over-trained” because you feel a little tired and sore.
These concepts are born with an idea to somehow enhance your training, your progression and enable your journey to higher performances. They provide tools to continue the grind day in and day out. It’s important to use these principles as a way to provide assistance and support to your workouts. It’s easy to find reasons to not give 100% because of the daily effort involved. It’s an exhausting journey to peak strength and it requires quite enough effort in your body and mind to maintain the routine every single day, and every day needs to have purpose.
Cheat days are the idea that once a week (or very seldomly), you can eat meals that you normally wouldn’t during the week. Now the risk with cheat days is the temptation to go overboard. Here is the day that many people, instead of understanding that cheat days are made to enhance your metabolism and keep it from being completely adapted and dormant, they just use the excuse to eat a too much crap food with no reason except for, it’s a “cheat” day. The purpose of the cheat day is to switch up your typical consumption, much like your muscles when you change training styles. Your metabolism recognizes something different and has to alter itself slightly in order to properly utilize the nutrients from different sources. In a diet that varies frequently, a cheat day is not so necessary.
Rest Days are supposed to be a day that your body has some time to let the adaptations and changes take place. Activity is not completely forsaken, instead, lighter activity is done to keep the muscles active and stimulated but not so much as to break down the tissue as in a typical routine. The danger with rest days is deciding to completely take off from doing any training. When you interrupt the weekly training with a complete shutdown, you can create a sense of slothfulness that will manifest itself in your next workout. When your body stops being active it tries to recover and repair for obvious reasons, but this causes the ligaments and joints to become stiff from the newly formed tissue that will not be as mobile as the existing tissue. The body is torn down in the gym and built while sleeping. Without light activity on rest days, this stiffness can affect performance during future workouts.
Overtraining is a term that has been used for years by fitness professionals to describe injuries of overexertion. Overtraining is a very avoidable condition that comes down to having enough fuel and recovery activity proportionate to your workouts. Many people use the excuse of not wanting to “overtrain” and take days off or decrease the intensity during a workout. It is possible to overtrain, but if you have proper programming, and enough fuel in your body, you can train 7 days a week at an intense level. Balancing nutrition, recovery, and your workout routine can keep you training consistently to make as much progress as possible than if you were intermittently stopping for one reason or another.
There are so many tools out there that can greatly enhance your body’s performance and change. Here at Nutrishop, we provide free meal plans to help you know when to have a cheat day, or if you need them, we also partner with great professionals like Athletic Operations who can help you plan a training program that will let you know when to back off from training and how to properly recover after workouts. Come visit us and see what supplements we have in store to help you along your journey to a stronger fitter you!
Giving anything less than 100% to your routine and training is unnecessary. Anything less than 100% will not give you the best results possible. If you want a 100% return on your work, you need to invest 100% of your effort. In every aspect of your life, you should be giving 100% in order to get the most out of everything you do. Working at your job, working out at the gym, spending time with the family, playing around and enjoying life. Anything less than 100% is just not enough!
Every Day… A Little Stronger