It’s 9:18 PM, you got home from 8 hours of work, had dinner and caught an episode of Family Guy. Yesterday was back day and the day before you hit chest, that means today is leg day. But that couch, is so comfy, and that beer in your fridge is so tantalizingly cold. Skipping a day can’t hurt can it?
Well, that depends. Hitting the gym hard every day, 7 days a week usually isn’t smart for most individuals. Professional bodybuilders can spend a week at the gym because it IS their job. But for the average 9-5 Joe, there simply isn’t enough energy to hit the gym like a pro bodybuilder after a long day of work.
Why Sometimes You SHOULD Skip The Gym
So yes, you can and probably should take a couple days off lifting each week. I personally take at least 1 day to recover completely. My recovery day includes the following which seem to help me:
- Sleep in: Recovery day involves sleeping early the night before (10 PM is my target) and sleeping in in the morning as well. Ultimately I’m looking to get a solid 10 hours of rest. This is what my body needs to feel rejuvenated.
- Fewer carbs more vitamins: On days I’m lifting I focus on getting at least 150g of protein in addition to a large quantity of carbs. On rest days I can loosen the focus on eating carb/protein heavy meals and instead top up on all the vitamins I can get from fresh greens and fruits.
- Socialize: This one is huge. Living at the gym will get you huge, but not socializing, hanging with friends, relaxing, enjoying life, you will suffer psychologically in the long term. A weak mind will result in a weak body, so take advantage of days off to have some fun!
Skipping the gym to avoid burnout is clutch for continued gains year in and year out. In extreme cases you can exceed simple burnout and enter “over-training” territory.
People debate whether over training is real. The people who argue it isn’t are A) either on gear so they don’t follow normal physiological rules or B) haven’t been training hard enough.
I can assure you over training is a real danger. The gym is addicting, but the body recovers slowly. It’s bound to happen.
What do you do when you are in full over-trained mode? You’ll want to take the above bullet points to the next level. Sleeping 10 hours a night? Good, throw in a nap in the afternoon for 45 minutes as well!
Eating fewer carbs and more fruits and vegetables? Great, now throw in a healthy herbal supplement to support overall health and mood support. A herbal adaptogen supplement, like a mental nootropic, can make a great addition to your supplement stack.
Finally, if you are over training you are spending waaaay too much time in the gym. Your addiction is self-detrimental at this point; you need to weaken it. Try to find a new hobby you can get passionate about that you can use to break up your gym time. Whether it be board games or golf, you need a distraction from the iron once and a while!
So should I skip the gym today?
No! First, you don’t want to be that guy that skips leg day. Leg day should be if anything the most hardcore day of the week as an ectomorph. Being tall and skinny we generally have long legs as well. Without hitting them twice as hard as shorter more stocky people they will always look underdeveloped. Arnold himself struggled with legs for a long time before realizing upping his frequency and reps were required to really force them to grow. So never, ever skip out on your legs.
Second, if you read closely in the above scenario you’ll remember that you were sitting on your couch watching TV. This is the key bit that tells you why you MUST go to the gym: because the alternative is deconstructive to adding mass and building the physique you desire.
IF you were considering skipping because your buddies were begging you to go out and have a few drinks at the bar or your girlfriend/wife wants to get freaky, then by all means, use your “rest” day and do it to the max. Sex for example has a whole variety of health benefits, from easing stress to improving sleep to keeping your immune system strong. However never ever skip the gym because of laziness. You will never achieve your goals if you are a bitch to laziness.
Laziness is the a cancer of the body builders mind, because the only thing standing between every man and his goal is his own will. Conquer that and you will conquer your dreams. It corrodes from the inside and self-destructs what you are trying to achieve.
So, since you’re not having sex tonight and you already went out with your friends two days ago you will go to the gym today. There is no “if”, “or” or “but”. There is just action.
How To Get In The Zone Pre-Workout
Now that you’ve realized skipping is not an option it’s time to get psychologically pumped up for the awaiting journey. There are a few things I have found beneficial in my workout preparation that may also be helpful for getting yourself in the proper mindset to have a thoroughly complete and satisfying workout.
1. PUT YOUR BATTLE UNIFORM ON
Battle? That’s right. You’re going to the gym and you are going to do battle against gravity. You will move weight in precise and focused ways. The resistance provided by gravity will be what allows you to grow. Use this omnipresent energy to your advantage.
Like all soldiers preparing for battle, functional attire is critical. Put on your gym shorts and tank top or gym shirt a half hour or so before you leave your house. Just putting on your workout clothes will help signal to your subconscious that workout time is imminent.
Sitting in your couch with your bathroom wrapped warmly around you (or draped open, depending on your style) will do nothing to put you in the “mood to lift”.
2. STUDY YOUR BATTLE PLANS
Any solider going into battle has to first have a pre-mission briefing. They must know what their objectives are and what they need to do as an individual to achieve them.
So, pre-workout sit down and think about what day it is and what muscle group you will be targeting. Back day? Leg day? Decide what your objective will be. Once you’ve got that develop a mental road map that breaks down your workout exercise by exercise, angle by angle, the movements you will perform to fully exhaust a muscle group and stimulate hypertrophy, and ultimately over time create solid slabs of muscle mass.
3. PRIME THE BODY FOR ACTION
Working out at night this might not be as necessary, as getting home from work or an hour after dinner my energy reserves are quite high. Still, sometime an little extra boost of caffeine helps.
If working out at night a simple cup of black coffee post-meal works wonders and is also full of anti-oxidants! For early morning workouts pre-workouts offer both an energy stimulus as well as a solid dose of other vein-opening, face-tingling ingredients to get your pump on.
4. PRIME THE MIND FOR ACTION
Some people are more “closet psychopath-calm” types who prefer a solid 15 minute power meditation session to clear their minds and prepare for a long gym session, while others prefer to psych themselves up a bit. I’m in the later group. To do this I either watch training videos of top bodybuilders.
Also, while walking or driving to the gym I pump some of my favorite beats. Experiment with focusing and music to find the right combination to get your mind ready to work your body.
5. WARMING UP
Once at the gym take a solid 10-20 minute to warm up whatever body part you will be focusing on that day. For leg days this will include a 10-15 minute stair/bicycle session to infuse the legs with blood and warm up the joints, followed by a 5-10 minute stretching session on the mats to make sure everything is ready for some serious strain.
A circulation-focused warmup that involves the cardiovascular system is always paired with a stretching workout of some type to prepare the muscles and joints in two different ways before attacking them.
Remember Every Day You’re Going, Somebody Else Is Resting
Or, rephrased, “Everyday you stay at home someone else is at the gym, working hard, getting stronger and bigger than you”. If anything should kick your ass into high gear it should be the thought that there are tens of thousands of people out there working hard, that didn’t say “screw it I’ll stay in today”.
These are the people you see on the street or at the beach that are yoked as fuck. They didn’t get that way staying home. They got it from raking up the blood and sweat in the gym.
Your body is a sculpture and you are the sculptor. Every minute of every workout takes you one step closer to achieving your goals, don’t forget that. You may not see the results immediately, but if you’ve been lifting for a while you know they add up and the sum is a beautiful thing.
Keep a positive mindset and look forward to your workouts. Don’t dread them, anticipate them, attack them, beast them!
A Few More Reasons You REALLY Should Go to the Gym
- There might be a super hot chick/really cut dude there. Eye candy is always great, just don’t use your creeper Golum eyes.
- You are already paying for a gym membership, so not using it is pretty much the same as throwing money away.
- Don’t forget, your employer or insurer may offer bonuses/rate discounts if you show you go to the gym REGULARLY.
- Your gym friends (if you have any) will miss you.
- It might seem like you don’t want to but you know once you get into it you’ll be happy you went!
Now quit wasting time reading this shit and go get your ass in the gym!