If you are like most people who have just started a new workout routine you may be asking yourself “what should I do on off days?” Many people are familiar with the suggestion of getting a good hour’s worth of exercise in every day, but if you’re seriously training to build muscle and lose fat, you need a good three days of intense strength training followed by another day of HIIT, or high intensity interval training. In order to be effective, these sessions don’t even need to reach an hour, usually lasting 30-45 minutes. That leaves a lot of time for everything else you’ve got going on in life, including three “off” training days every week wide open for— well, for what?
Go for a walk
While it is important to rest on off training days, it is also important to stimulate your body. If you are not in too much shock from a hard leg day, low intensity activities like walking enhances your recovery. Getting at least 10,000 steps per day is extremely beneficial, especially if you can accomplish that on a daily basis.
It’s also a good idea to squeeze in half hour of light activity like biking and hiking 2-3 times a week. The earlier in the morning you do it the better as you sleep better the sooner you are exposed to natural light after waking up. If you also do this activity before you eat anything, it boosts fat loss.
Taking yoga classes in between hardcore workouts is a great way to relieve muscle fatigue and stress while remaining active. Although you may not break a sweat from doing a series of yoga poses, the health benefits are very real. Stress reduction, core stability, pain relief, increased strength and even hormone regulation are all highly sought advantages of practicing yoga.
Outside of your acutely planned training sessions it’s physically and mentally rewarding to get out and play fun sports like football, beach volleyball, golfing, basketball, or practicing martial arts. These activities don’t take a hard toll on your body and are great to get you interacting with others while you move. Playtime is good any day of the week, even if you have already endured an intense 45-minute weight training session. They’re also great for breaking up your workout routine which can become dull after a few weeks.
Finally, resting is definitely something you should be doing after excruciatingly painful strength training sessions. If you feel like you cannot move after a hard leg work out, it is perfectly fine to lie in bed, read, or stimulate your mind and body in other ways one day a week allowing your muscles to recover. You want to do your best to avoid overtraining.
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