Rest Day Tips & Why We Encourage 10k Steps Daily

You’ll notice at @paragontrainingmethods that we program a minimum of 2 rest days per week. Technically, Saturday is an encouraged third rest day as we prioritize the bulk of our program around training 4 days a week.

If still feeling good, we encourage people to “choose their own adventure” on Saturdays and either oly lift, hit a scheduled pump session, or just slide in their community class at their gym. In order for a program to be sustainable, it should cater to what we enjoy, as well as allow us to socialize!

Some days we can also just have that “dang I just wanna lift a heavy bar” itch. Or maybe we’re missing the class experience  – So we like giving you the option to choose whatever sounds appealing based on how we’re feeling physically and what we’re craving.

Circling back to rest days: The point of a rest day is just that – it should allow our body to rest and recover so that we can positively adapt. Every gym has that person that’s in the gym 5-7 days a week, chronically sick, constantly injured, or just always complaining about how they haven’t seen a PR in a hot minute or can’t lose weight. There can absolutely be too much of a good thing.

If our boss asked us to come to work 7 days a week for months on end, we’d get burnt out, become less efficient at our job and completing tasks, feel increasingly unmotivated, etc. Yet if we take a little vacation and time off, we come back renewed and ready to crush it at work. Our body is no different: We need to recover just as hard as we train.

Should a rest day mean we become an immobile coach potato? Not that either.

We’re a big advocate of netting 8-10,000 steps a day, regardless of whether we train that day or not. It’s great to spend an hour at the gym, but it matters how we spend that other 23 hours also.

NEAT, otherwise known as non-exercise activity thermogenesis (try saying that five times fast), encompasses “the energy we expend for everything we do that is NOT sleeping, eating, or sport-like exercise. It ranges from energy expended walking, typing, performing yard work, fidgeting, and other things like doing dishes.”

NEAT certainly is NOT a substitute for regular exercise, but it plays a damn important role in our overall health and fitness. Think about someone who sits at a desk all day in comparison to someone who does manual labor – It would make sense that people who get more NEAT simply tend to weigh less than people who get less NEAT.

Another big one to watch out for is the fall and winter months, as NEAT tends to decrease DRAMATICALLY. Obviously it’s cold and the negative temperatures and chilly winds aren’t the most encouraging to want to go spend time outside. But try to bundle up and get that NEAT anyway.

Consider investing in a pedometer that can track steps, might be pleasantly surprised by what you find. Fitbit, Garmin, Apple Watch, or your iPhone will all the do the trick (though use of your iPhone will obviously require it to be on us at all times). But shoot for 10,000 steps (if not a little more) every single day.

It’s very common for people to track their steps and report back that they only net 5,000-6,000 steps (including those who choose to train a few hours a day).

Easy Ways to Net More Steps:

  • Take our dog for a 30 minute walk a couple times a day.
  • Make a morning and/or night ritual out of going for a 15-20 minute walk.
  • Skip the elevator and take the stairs.
  • Scroll social media while walking rather than sitting.
  • Stuck on a phone call or conference call? Walk around rather than sitting through the call.
  • Park as far away as possible in parking lots.
  • Walk on work lunch breaks.
  • Walk around between lifting sets.
  • Walk a 400m lap or two once we’re done working out.

Also a quick plug as it’s common to see people drop their caloric intake on rest days with the justification that they’re “doing less”: This may or may not be great practice. Glycogen stores are delayed in replenishing, so if we take down food on rest days, we’re less equipped to crush it when we return to the gym.

Big Takeaways:

  • Aim for 10,000 steps every day
  • We encourage 2-3 rest days a week
  • Consider keeping food and carbohydrate intake the same, regardless of training or rest day.

Murray, Bob and Christine Rosenbloom. “Fundamentals of glycogen metabolism for coaches and athletes” Nutrition reviews vol. 76,4 (2018): 243-259.