Recovery Week & Active Rest

Jan 4, 2012 by

Recovery and Active Rest


A few weeks ago I’ve written a post called ” How To Train For Best Results “, and as I already mentioned to get the best results we need to use periodization, meaning a period of high intensity training should always be followed by a period of low intensity training or full recovery. I usually train for 6 weeks, and then I take one full week for active recovery.  In this article I would like to share with you how I spend my week of active rest.

First let me go over why we need this so called recovery period. The answer to that question is quite simple, our body has to rest to regain strength, and rebuild. If we always train and not take a break then not only do we hit plateau but our body will actually begin to break down the muscle that we worked so hard to build. Secondly, our mind needs a break as well. I found that the perfect peak of taking that break is after 6 weeks, you can go for eight weeks but I recommend six. You will also notice that during your training cycle you will push your self much harder knowing that you will get that well deserved break.


How I spend my Recovery Week

I am going to share with you my own approach to this, but it is also good for you to learn to listen to your own body.

After my 6 weeks of training is up, and trust me my body feels it like a clock, I take 3 to 4 days off completely. Depending on how I feel, sometimes 3 days is enough and sometimes I need 4, again, listen to your body. In those days I focus on my diet, drink a lot of water and eat a lot of fruits. I also try not to load my self with too much red meat, this way my body can really rest.  You can also do a little bit of light stretching, I usually do that while I am watching TV, this way I am not just wasting my time in front of the television.  I like to use those days to reflect on my training, such as: What did I achieve in my training cycle?  Did I push my self to the max or did I slack here and there? I write down all of my thoughts, this really helps in watching your progress as well as motivation. What are your goals for your self when you begin to train again, really think about all those things, how do you want to improve?  Look for motivation within your self.

After I take my full days of recovery, I begin to get back into the game slowly ;). I start by doing some very moderate cardio such as light jog or a long walk. Don’t over do it, you are still recovering, but by going for a light jog you will increase your circulation and that will help your body to recover faster ( only after you already took a few days off completely ). After a light jog, you can also do some stretching, about 20-30 minutes, longer if you like, as I said previously listen to your own body. On the 5th and 6th day of my recovery I would also do some core and abs exercises, which I will be posting this week. My plan is to have them filmed in real time so you can follow along.

Throughout my recovery week, I also try to do more meditation, I noticed it really helps my mind to relax and recover as well. Don’t neglect your mind, it needs rest just as much as your body. Meditation reduces stress and heals you in many different ways. I’ve written a post about ” How Meditation Can Change Your Life “, it definitely helped me to understand my mind more as well as listen to my body, I feel more tuned in.  I also noticed that I  draw inspiration and motivation from deep within when I meditate.

After you take that recovery week you will notice how much more motivated you feel towards training, you will regain strength and will be ready to start fresh. You will also be able to keep progressing in your fitness level without hitting plateau, and this is how you will be able to stick to a healthy life style for the rest of your life!





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  • inmotion

    How about a passive recovery week? Many russians need that, after we celebrate too actively around the holidays :D.

    Speaking of which, Happy New Year!

    • Hey you, it’s been a while :).  I didn’t party during the New Year but I watched how others did, those crazy get drunk days have been over for me for several years.  Everyone always ask me how come I am not drinking vodka, I’m Russian, Ha Ha Ha.  I did have a glass of champagne :).  

      Happy New Year Inmotion!!! ( I really like that nickname )  are you Russian by any chance? 

      • inmotion

        Wow, you remember me :)?

        I thought you were Russian! I am 50%, and I get the same question all the time, about me not drinking vodka 🙂 – just like with you, that glass of champagne was all the drinking I did during the holidays. So, I was just joking about the passive recovery. I agree with your article, and I also warn people against overtraining.

        I’ll have to confess though that my “active rest” has been too long and not active at all… simply put, I’ve been slacking for the last month or so. I don’t deserve my nick :)! But now’s the time to get back into it, and today I did my first workout for this year.

        • So you were inmotionless throughout the holidays? He He He, of course I remember you :), I have a super memory.  Yes, I am taking easy this week, today I finally feel like my body is feeling better, before my ams were shaking and my left eye as well, that’s my usual signs after 6 weeks.

          I’m glad you did your first workout of the 2012 :), I will be doing one in a few days.

          • And then she’ll have her trademarked Spinach shake ;P

          • Ha Ha Ha, I totally have been downing those every morning, and I’ve been having some raw cacao nibs with it as well :).  Yamm 😛

          • inmotion

            Downing spinach shakes before workout… Popeye the Sailor :P?

            Are you serious, you work out until your arms and eyes start twitching? No wonder you need a break!

            I can use a break too, all sore from yesterday’s workout. I do weight training, but if you post abs in real time, I’ll follow along… I am too busy to do them at the gym and too lazy to do them at home on my own. So, bring it on!

            inmotionless 🙂

          • That’s right, Popeye the Sailor :)!  

            What I meant was that by the end of the 6th week my body begins to feel the wear, and I can tell because my eye begins to twitch.  It’s kind of funny, but that’s my tell tell sign. 

          • inmotion

            ????????????? ???????, ?????????? ????????? ?????????? :-).

          • Wow 🙂 Inmotion ( less for now 😉 ) Check you out, kruto!!!  Teper mi budim govorit tolko po Russki 🙂

          • inmotion

            Blackness confirmed :-)? (??? ?? Undercover Brother). ?? ?????? ????? ??? ???????? ??????????! ?????? ? ?? ?????? ? ??????? ?????????… ????????, ????? ?? ??????? ? ??????? ?? ????????.
            ?????? inmotionless – ?????? ????????? ?????????, ??? ?????? ??????? ?? ??????? :-).

          • 🙂 Ochen rada obchatsya po Russki inmotion 🙂 i po anglisski kak vam udobnej.  Klassno chot vi razgovarivaete na moem rodnom yazike, ya vsya v ulibkah 🙂 🙂 🙂

          • inmotion

            ? ??? ????? ???????, ??? ?? ??? ? ???????… ???? ????? ????? ???????? ???? ?? ??????? :D. ???????, ?? ?????????, ???? ? ?????, ??? ?? ????? ????? ??????? – ? ?????????? ? ????? ?????? ? ?????? ???????????? :-). ?? ?????? ?????? ??? ???????, ?.?. ??? ? ??? ?????? ????. ? ????? ??????? ?? ?? ????? ?????? ???, ?? ??????????? ????????.
            ? ??? ?????????? ???, ??? ?? ?? ????? ?????? (???????????? :))) )

          • Ah inmotion, ochen rada chto s vami piznakomilas.  Pamyat u menya neplohaya, tak kak ya vsegda zapominau horoshih ludej, vi ge mne s youtube pomogali :), kak ge ya mogu zabit :).

            A vodku ne piu tak kak mne nenravitsya sostoyanie bit piyanoj, a potom echo i golova bolit, vse pitaus ponyat pochemu ludi tak lubyat vodku no ne dogonyau.

  • inmotion

    Don’t mention it, ??????? ? ????? – ??? ??????? ???????. ???? ? ?? ??? ??? ??????, ??? ????? ????????? ??????? ??? ???????? ?????? ????????, ? ???????? ????? ??????? ? ?? ?????? ?????? ????????, ? ?.?. ?? ??????. ??????, ? ??? ?? ?? ?????? ??????????? 20-???????? ??????
    ?????? ????? ? ?????? ???????????? – ?? ?? ????????, ??? ??? ???????? ?????????? ?? ???? :-). ? ??? ?? ??? ?? ??? ?? ????????, ??? ? ??.
    ?????? ???????, ???? ?? ?? ?????? ?????? ? ???????, ??? ??????? :-).

    • A mne teper youtube stal pozvolyat delat bolshie roliki.  Ya tak ponyala kogda ludu zakachivaut kak minimum 3 video v nedelu, youtube im upgrade account delaet, i mogno zakachivat video bolshe 15 minut.  U menya etot upgrade gde-to bolshe mesyasa, nu vot ya i polzuus :).  
      Mi dolgni bili segodnya video snimat na abs, a ya sebe koleno vchera poranila, teper ono vse opuhlo i ne mogu sgibat i vipryamlyat nogu.  Nadeus cherez paru dnej zagivet, teper bolshe raboti na sleduuchij nedeli.

      A kamera u menya HD, vse smotru kachestvo na youtube ochen plohoe, ya vidimo choto v settings ne pravilno delau.  Ochen blurry poluchaetsya, moget eto svet, vrode kogda mi na ulise snimale resolution bil pochiche.

      • inmotion

        ????? ????, ?????????????????? ??????!
        ? ??????-?? ???? ????? ???????? ???????. ????????, ?? ????????, ??? ?? 10 ??? ????? ?????? 10 ????? – ??-????????, ???????? ?????????
        ????????, ????????? ?? ????? ?????. ? ?? ???? ? ?????, ?????? ? ???????, ?? ??? ????????, ??? HD – ??? ?????-??????? resolution, ?.?. ???? ?? ???? ?? ??????????? ????????. ????????, ? ???????? ?? 200$ ? ???????? ? ??????? ?????????? ?? 2000$ ????? ???????? ???????? ?????????? ??????????? ? 16 ??. ??? ???? ???????? ?????? ????? ???????? ?? ?????????, ??????? ???????, ??????? ? ??????? ?????? ? ?.?.

        • Ya sdelala upload speed upgrade s moej internet companiej, poetomu sejchas namnogo bistrtee zakachivaetsya.  Na etot rolik ushlo vse-go 2.5 chasa.  Eto voobche klass po sravneniu s 10 ili bolshe chasov :).

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  • Once again Tatianna…  Great Article!
    I’m so glad I found your channel on youtube and then your blog, I’ve learnt a couple of things I really didn’t know at all, and I’m glad to be able to train the right way this time!
    I’m LovingFit!!!!
    Have a great day and thanks again for your time and advices!
    All the best,

    • Thank you Elizabeth 🙂

      I’ve very happy to help 🙂

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  • Sweetie I am so happy that you are taking a much healthier balanced approach, and I love that you are seeing the changes.  It will only get better and better 🙂 hugs

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  • sus

    I am just finishing up my recovery week…It was much needed. I was able to cross train yesterday at the pool which was very nice. I have been making about 8 cups of green tea (then refrigerate) at a time and have been drinking that and water all day and eating a lot of in season fruits. It has been a great rest week. I am looking forward to getting back into my workouts with you again!

  • I am on Day 4!!! I definitely needed a rest. I started training intensely when I started with BR about 14 months ago and…no joke…I haven’t had a rest of more than 2 days in a row since then. In fact, the last time I had a rest of more than two days in a row was probably a couple of years ago, and usually, I just had 1 day rest a week. I did the rest because you encouraged it on Glam Booty, plus a good number of ARD’s, and then I found this post, which is very helpful. Plus I had that achy feeling. I feel a little “jiggly” but am 95% sure it’s just psychological. Tonight I may go for a very leisurely run just to get moving and enjoy the beautiful weather. 🙂 Sunday I will start back up, but I’ll try to find some of your workouts that are moderate difficulty. Can’t wait! 🙂

    • OMG you didn’t rest for 14 month’s, that is pretty crazy! ( I just noticed this comment had been posted a month ago, but I seemed to miss it )

    • Mary Lou

      Yup. Same boat here. We did go kinda crazy. I have to admit the results were great at first, but then just like Tatianna said, plateauuuuuuuuuuuuu. I’ve also been following You As A Machine’s Daily Body Maintenance with 150 bikes and 350 HK every morning, maybe that’s too much for rest week as well, gotta think about that.

  • Petra

    I’m on 3rd day of my recovery week. It’s a challenge not to exercise. Today I went for a 2 mi walk and just had to add another mile of jogging. I am ready to slowly get started. It has also been very hard to maintain a healthy diet. Not eating past 7 has been hard.. It is like a roller coaster ride… I find it easier to eat healthy when I exercise ..the harder the workout and the more I push myself the less likely I’m to eat junk.

    • Stick to walking, cause when you are resting you need the rest. It is definitely a challenge not to eat at night, but after 2-3 weeks your body will be quite use to it. You can do some very light yoga too 🙂

  • Cassidy Croskey

    You convinced me to take my very first recovery week. :] I’m on Day 4 and pretty stoked that I didn’t workout at all those first three days, save for some walking here and there. I went for an hour long walk with a teensy bit of gentle jogging this morning and did five minutes of planks, but that’s all I’ll do today. I feel so relaxed. Thank you for the advice!