The next food plan available to download is day 3 of the 80/20 training plan: active rest day.
I choose to perform one hour of steady state cardio (usually on a spin bike) on “active rest day” as it ensures I get my heart rate up and helps me break a sweat, but gives my muscles a chance to actively rest and repair from the lifting that I have been performing over the week. I am a great believer in scheduling in rest days – and by rest days I don’t mean completely letting go and not getting up from your seat for 10 hours, I mean resting your muscles from lifting but staying active in a smart way. In later articles, we will touch more on this – the anxiety that can be caused from resting and how it can affect you mentally. I have had personal experience with this, feeling as though rest days were holding me back and a “waste of time” – time that could be spent moving me closer towards my goals rather than staying put. Performing that one hour of light cardio mid-week helps me on a neuro level and also gives me time to rest and recover so I continue with my heavy lifting programme the next day without increased muscle fatigue.
In terms of nutrition, I use a lower carb (roughly 50% less) and higher fat ratio to reduce the total kcals while still being able to give my body the energy it needs to sustain the muscle mass I have built to date. Higher fat days are also great for promoting fat loss. There is some good research to show how fats, particularly those higher in Omegas, and MCTs encourage the body to use fat as an energy source.
As you can see I have almost hit my macros spot on – i.e. not created a deficit or a surplus, which isn’t needed on rest or active rest days. Many people try and create a deficit on rest days to make up for their lack of HIIT or lifting, this is not advisable because rest days are essentially recovery days, so if you are trying to gain strength, you never want to be in a position where you are starving your body (again unless you are specifically using fasting strategies)
There are occasions where you could use this meal-plan on training days. This is known as deficit training and will be the topic of future posts, suffice to say you have to really be aware of how your body works to use strategies like this.