Active Rest - What Is It?

  • What is it?  It's a term I have read a few times on here and have no idea what it is(not mentioned in the books or DVDS) but it seems everyone is doing.  Detailed explanation required please and thanks.

  • AR= Active rest. It basically means 2 weeks (preferably) of time off from heavy lifting and HIIT.

    Here's a post I kept of BFLMikes:

    Are you planning another challenge after finishing the one you’re in now? If so, the material that follows should be of some interest and some help to you. It seems like roughly one-half of those who start and complete a 12 week transformation challenge are planning on going into another one in order to get into the shape that they want.

    The first thing I want to ask you–actually I’m begging you–is to NOT GO IMMEDIATELY from one challenge right into the next one without a break. Here’s why. Whether you really feel like it or not, a transformation challenge takes a toll on you. The early rising, strenuous exercising and relatively strict dieting are good for you–but over 12 weeks time they can also wear you out.

    You deserve AND NEED a week or more of rest before you get back into the gym. Think about this: If you go right from one challenge to another, what you’re really doing is taking a 24 week challenge. That’s nearly 6 months, and it’s longer than most should be doing. Most second and subsequent challenges that occur without a break between tend to be very unproductive and unhappy experiences. They also tend to be more often plagued by injuries, illnesses and overtraining effects.

    My favorite fitness author, Albuquerque attorney Clarence Bass, coined the phrase "active rest." That’s what you need to do between challenges. What you need to do, for at least one week and preferably two, is to stay clear out of the gym and away from the weight lifting routine entirely. And don’t worry about losing muscle mass, you won’t. The phenomenon called muscle memory will put you right back into the groove very quickly once you are rested. In fact, you might actually pick up some muscle mass due to the well-deserved rest. Your joints will thank you for it too.

    Instead of lifting weights, do one or two of your favorite non-resistance training types of exercises. I do lots of calisthenics such as pushups, pullups, and squat jumps. I also do some bike riding or stair climbing. I take very long walks with my dog. Others enjoy things like swimming, mountain climbing, hiking, or even chopping wood and heavy gardening activity. This gets you out of the old groove, works different areas of your body, and still gives you plenty of fat-burning and fitness forming activity.

    As for the diet, stick with the six meals a day. But, add in a bit of red meat if you are inclined, and experiment with some non-typical foods. This might be a good time to try a little of that natural peanut butter you’ve been craving. I eat a fair amount of non-tropical fruits and berries as carb portions during my rest periods. And I eat some lean red meat which has lots of creatine in it. Don’t make your two weeks off a two week free day or you’ll regret it.

    Consider your two weeks active rest a working vacation. You’ll be amazed at your renewed strength, your enthusiastic outlook, and your youthful appearance following your time off. If you don’t do it, you’ll feel like you’re dragging a 100 pound anchor around with you for the next twelve weeks. Which one sounds like the best bet to you?

  • Thanks there.

    Ahh, so it's for those who are doing back to back challenges?  Cool, good to know.  I was wondering about that, but I'm not doing a second challenge, just following the For Life way now.  

  • Good for you Armster...I am not disciplined enough yet to NOT be in a challenge. I admire you for your strength.

  • Or, maybe I should still take a week of active rest?  Because even though I have added the eating for life recipes to my diet, I am still following the plan as is...hmmm.  I don't really want to do that though but it appears as maybe it's the best thing yeah?


    I am officially confused.

  • All I know is b/t one and two I took off 2 weeks and came back on fire. B/t two and three I only took one week off and in week 4 I hurt my back. Silly mistake on my part, but I am beginning to have to really watch my lifts now.

    My plan is to finish 3, then do one more which will take me to October and Nashville. After that, I plan on doing the for life part. :)

  • I dont want to offend anyone, but I think men have an edge on us women and can handle and maintain the life part better. I could be wrong, but I'm just thinking.

  • I wouldn't be able to say either way, but you know, I am giving this some serious consideration, doing a second challenge I mean.

    Legs:  What are your dinners like right now?  What are you eating?

  • My dinners are usually salad with tuna or chicken and black beans, or oatmeal and scrambled eggs with hot sauce, or chicken, sweet potato and vegy. I am not a good one to ask. I HATE preparing meals. Always have. But, salads are my favorite for sure. How about you?

  • Well for me, I plan 6 meals a week straight from the EFL book.  The reason I ask though, is are you still basically just eating the same thing you ate from your first challenge or have you expanded.  Do you feel you can still lean-up if you are using the EFL recipes or is it just maintenance at this point?  Ideal I'd like to get my BF% under 10 and I am wondering if I can do that by continuing witht he program and the incorporated EFL recipes as opposed to chicken *** or fish, etc.

  • lol at chicken "breas.t" being censored.

  • If you are going to maintain, here is another post from Mike Harris (BFLMike) explaining how to handle that.  Hope it helps.

    After the Challenge–What Then?
    by: Michael Harris 3/19/2007

    So, your results were good, and you’re looking forward to living a "normal life" now. Only one thing is bothering you–you’re not sure what that is going to look like. You are also more than a little worried about your ability to hold onto this newfound you, right?

    First, the "good news." It never takes as much effort and suffering to maintain good health as it does to get it back. You won’t have to work out quite as hard, nor will you have to eat quite as strictly to maintain your physique. Now, the bad news–you’ll have to figure out how to do it on your own!

    Continuing to eat the six smaller meals a day helps make your new life easier. Since the whole purpose of eating six small meals a day is to stabilize insulin levels and blood sugar levels, which minimizes cravings, mood swings, and fat formation, it makes sense to keep that up. If you lost weight and burned fat while on the six small meals regimen, and you are now at or below the weight you want to be, then you’ll need to add a bit to each meal. Eating 42 meals a week, you really only need to adjust upward about 50 to 100 calories to stop the weight loss cycle. As an example, if your "meal" is a Myoplex, all you would need to do is add about 3/4 of a tablespoon of flaxseed oil to the shake and you would add about 100 calories to that meal. Just an ounce more meat or a slightly larger carb would accomplish the same things. So, whatever you do, don’t go back to eating plates full of food at each opportunity. Make very small dietary adjustments, or you’ll be trying to catch up with the gigantic swings that can take place!

    You’ll know when you get there with the diet. It will feel right. The key is to still stay away from the "trigger foods" that cause you issues, and to allow for the usual free day excesses as well. Sugary snacks should probably always be strictly a free day activity for all of us.

    And what about exercise? Once again, you’ll need to find your plateau. I am sixty now, so I recover more slowly than most of you would. So, what I do in maintenance stage is work each body part every 6 or 7 days, and that takes about 30 to 40 minutes four days a week. Now, that means an extra workout day a week, but that’s not a problem since I work out at home. For me, working out each muscle group one day a week nicely maintains both mass and injury-free joints if I’m careful. I really don’t think anyone who is happy with their body needs to work out with weights more than a couple of hours a week, but if you enjoy it, and you still want to try to add mass, go for it! As far as cardio, I still do the 3 HIIT sessions a week, early in the morning on an empty stomach, and that will never change.

    May I emphasize once again, because this does take trial and error, that the key is "small adjustments" so you don’t have huge swings. You will know that things are basically staying the way you want them by your weekly weigh ins and waist measurements, and if either gets more than 3 pounds or 1/2 inch out of where you want it, then make those adjustments and see what happens next week. Get your checkup regularly and keep tabs on those blood lipid levels.

    Don’t let the maintenance phase get you down. It’s no different than owning and operating an auto. Checking the tires, the fluid levels and the operating systems are part of that responsibility, as are the same kinds of things with your body. This IS Body for LIFE, remember?

    Love you some you...PERSEVERE!

  • Armster - yes I am still eating basically the same things....again, I am not fond of cooking so it doesnt bother me. I look at food as fuel now.

    Funny about censoring foods I agree.

  • Thanks for posting that Sharon, certainly insightful.

    Gotcha Legs.