REST: An important component for strength gains and weight loss

Stretching can be part of a de-load programAs we approach one of our planned hiatus weeks at our San Jose and Campbell boot camp locations, I thought it might be a good idea to address something many folks don’t even consider in their strength training or fat loss programs: REST.  Yes.  That’s right.  REST.

In order to continue to make gains in strength, endurance and even fat loss—-you need to schedule some planned rest time.  All that change you’re trying to create through exercise– bigger muscles, leaner muscles, or a smaller waistline  —creates stress on and in your body.  Working hard and challenging your body to get better is a good thing, but on occasion you need to back off on the challenges you give your body.

In the fitness industry, we often refer to these planned periods of reduced training volume or intensity as “de-load” phases. The term de-loading is often associated with the finely tuned, periodized training protocols that high level athletes do. I think this concept also has a place in our boot camp programs because of the intense nature of the workouts we do.

As many of you know, I am an advocate of doing some sort of exercise 5-6 days a week. But I am NOT an advocate of high intensity training 5 days a week (which is why no single lifeSport Fitness boot camp location operates more than 3 times a week).  My opinion is that the stuff we do at boot camp — high intensity interval training, plyometric moves and sprint work — is too rigorous to do 5 days a week, week in and week out.  I advocate for  longer , lower intensity workouts on off days for campers who are with us 3 times a week.

But I digress–back to the story of why rest is important…………

If we go hard day in and day out and we never take a rest, two things can happen:  1)  Injury, or 2) Lack of progress.  Neither of these things is a good thing for someone who is exercising for results, right?

So, what does a rest period look like?

Not necessarily this:

Rest is an important component in an exercise program


A rest week from 3-day a week boot camp workouts might simply mean changing the intensity and the patterns of stress on our body.  For instance taking a Pilates or Yoga class, going for a hike, or swimming.  All of these suggestions are lower intensity forms of movement that don’t have a heavy duty strength component to them.  Therefore, you exercise at a lower heart rate for a longer time, and you move your body through different patterns of movement than you do at boot camp.  Easy peasy.

Although high level athletes often take a de-load week every 4-5 weeks, I think for our purposes a de-load week every 8-12 weeks is a good idea.  With only 5 de-load weeks a year,  we don’t take quite that many weeks off in our program.  However, I figure that most campers miss a week of camp here and there due to vacations and business travel (or hitting the snooze button too many times!), so you’re most likely de-loading yourself from time to time.

If you are a current lifeSport Fitness camper, next week is your week to move in different patterns, decrease your workout intensity, or work on corrective exercises if you’re nursing a sore shoulder, back or knee.  While you’re at it–do a little foam rolling and book a massage!

If you aren’t a lifeSport Fitness customer and you exercise hard 3-4 times a week, have you had a “de-load” week lately?  Consider taking one.  It just might be the break your body needs to come back stronger and healthier in order to keep training hard again and stay injury free.


Committed to your success,




Image credit:  Sleeping Couple: