Working out four to five times per week over the course of six to eight weeks amounts to about 40 workouts. Sometimes I find that pace–combined with everything else I have to do–to be exhausting. So, from time to time I grant myself a bit of a reprieve by allowing one pass or bye day per six to eight week series.
A good workout routine should be about six to eight weeks followed by a few days off. (According to what I’ve read, this is also a good time to change up what you’re doing in the gym.) I said “a few off days” but I’ll take as much as a week. So, I cash in a bye day when I’m too busy or too tired to make it to the gym.
My workouts are either cardio or sessions of weights. So, on a week with a bye day I do at least a day or two of lifting and/ or cardio and make an attempt at an alternative workout (e.g. a trip to the climbing gym or a long mountain bike ride). This may seem to defeat the notion of a bye day but it’s completely optional.
Most recently, I used a bye day when I was finishing up a book. It was the last week of work on the project and I was exhausted. Regardless of whether or not a workout could have done me good, I wanted to finish what I was working on.
Thus, the bye day gave me the option to take a break from working out so I could accomplish something else. With as many of 40 workouts in a two month period, I feel that one day off won’t hurt.
It may be worth noting that I’ve experienced times when I considered using my bye only to talk myself out of it so I can use it another time. I can be pretty competitive with myself, but knowing it was an option is helpful.
In fact, there have been a number of weeks in which the notion of using my bye has decreased my stress level. Especially during those times when there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day. Simply put, the option to take a break (when I absolutely need to) has done a good deal for my mental health.
photo: George Pagan III