"active rest"

  • I've just finished C1 and am now taking a two week period of active rest before starting C2.  I plan to stick with BFL eating, but am a little nervous about cutting back on exercise.  How does this work?  Do I just not push myself as hard with the weights?  I don't want to lose muscle but I do want to take it a bit easier...


  • You must have read my mind!!  Sunday is my start to week 10 and I am not clear on the whole "active rest" thing!!  Is it outlined in the BFL Book??  If so I must have auto dumped that part lol.

    I am also very nervous to cut back on my workouts.  I fear I will lose motivation!  

    So for the experts out there what exactly should we do during this time and does it HAVE to be 2 full weeks??  I initially was going to finish C1 and jump right into C2, until that is I starting reading about active rest.

    Thanks for any info!!  ;-)

  • Active Rest is not in the book.  It's an invention of Uncle Mike Harris.  He blogged about it.  After years of BFL and the forum he noticed a lot of injury and lost motivation in back to back challenges. 

    Jessica Mighty Max ~ 2013 Body-for-LIFE Champion ~ Champion is a VERB!

  • 1 or 2 weeks of a rest I think is good.  i had all these laid back cardio plans I wanted to do for my 1 week, but then got a nasty cold.  I wasn't very active at all, but it came at a good time, instead of during the challenge.  It's a time to catch up and evaluate your last challenge and set new goals, fill out your essay question thing,take stock of your food supply, etc.  I was going to take a 2nd week, but was motivated by others here i know to not rest too long, and I was almost beginning to take many free days!

  • Thanks Jessica ... I will go search his site for a bit!!  :)

  • This is long, but you can copy and paste on another document to read better if you wish...

    Getting the Most out of Your Time Between Transformation Challenges

    by: Michael Harris  3/18/2007


    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?


    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?

    DebMO :0)           Blessed to be a Blessing...

  • Thanks Debbie!

    Live life with passion!

  • I'm glad this tread started :)

    I have been thinking about active rest for a little while, almost dreading it, but have done a bit of googling on the subject and have come to the realization that it is needed.

    I read on another thread that someone went straight into C2 without AR and their body just couldn't handle it.  12 weeks intense training just took it out of them and they had to rest.

    I'm looking forward to swimming and doing a few pilates classes in my rest period. I will also be eating the BFL way too.  It works, will keep the metabolism boosted and I can still have a free day :)