Working out four to five times per week over 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 cardio each and 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 right, I wanted to finish the job.
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 two months, 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.
There have even been times when 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