A Day of Rest

Every day, I write my workout up on the whiteboard.  Sometimes that whiteboard says, “Rest Day.”  What does that mean exactly?  Why is it important?  How does this concept extend into other areas of our lives?



Way, way, way back in the day, the Egyptians used to make their slaves work a 10-day week with no days off.  Then Moses agitated–in an example of some of the earliest recorded labor activism–and got them a day of rest.  This was the birth of Saturday.

Christians & Muslims have since variously moved or extended the Sabbath day, but the principle still holds true.  Work most days, but take a day or two to chill and relax.  This is generally the custom anywhere you go in the world today.


This custom benefits us because it presents an example of balance.  If we respect our work and the toll it takes on us, we must also respect our rest and its capacity to refill our energy reserves.

Drawing a clear line between work and rest helps us give each area of our lives their due.  When it is time to work, work with focus and clarity, and enthusiasm.  When it is time to rest, release your worries, concerns, and anxieties, and just let yourself recover.


This principle also extends into the idea of physical adaptation to exercise.  When you complete a training session, your body actually becomes temporarily weaker as a result.  For a while, you’re actually capable of less than you were before you exercised.  Then the body adapts.

Adaptation in the body requires a TON of things to be going right for you.  There are changes in the nervous system, in muscle tissues, in cell mitochondria.  New tissues are grown.  To do this well, you need to have optimal hormonal function and excellent absorption of nutrients through the digestive process.  You need plenty of water and amino acids.  Adaptation is not to be taken for granted.

One of the necessary elements for adaptation is time to recover.  This means taking the time for a good night’s sleep, the timing of training sessions, leaving adequate time between training the same muscle group, and taking time for rest days interspersed amongst your training days.


Holidays are a special kind of rest day.  These are the days when we remember something “holy” to us.  That doesn’t necessarily have to have a religious context, because there are also secular holidays and state holidays, but they are all recognitions of something important that we desire to commemorate collectively with a day of rest and celebration.

These days follow the same principle as those I discussed above. By taking a day off from physical and mental labors, we rebalance the scales by remembering some important person or historic occasion, and by enjoying ourselves.

I’m celebrating a holiday today, and while it wasn’t a day off from training, it will be a day off from work and stress.  I hope you also remember to appreciate your holidays when you get them.

Published by nicnakis

Nicholas |nik-uh-luhs| n. a male given name: from Greek words meaning "victory of the people" John |jon| n. a male given name: from Hebrew Yohanan, derivative of Yehohanan "God has been gracious" Nakis |nah-kis| n. a Greek family name derived from the patronymic ending -akis (from Crete) Amha |am-hah| n. an Ethiopian given name meaning "gift", from Geez Selassie |suh-la-see| n. Ethiopian name meaning "trinity", from Geez

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