Rest Days: Train Less, Get Stronger Rest and never reach the point of diminishing returns.

Back in the day I met a kid/man/something online while playing a popular video game under the name of Starcraft 2. In case you are not aware, Starcraft 2 is 1v1 war game where you make units and try to kill the other guy while using some sort of “strategy”.


Anyway, I played with this kid/man/something and I won. Then the kid/man/something contacted me via chat and said: “Fuck you! I am better than you.”

It turned out that the kid/man/something was playing this game for hours non stop every day. He wanted to reach the so-called masters league. (In this game people are divided into different leagues depending on skill, and the highest two are the master league and the grandmaster league.)

I looked at the play history of the kid/man/something and I saw that everyday was play day with only 6-8 hours of rest. In brief, the kid/man/something was addicted to this game, and obsessed with reaching that so-called masters league. Starcraft 2 was basically eating his life and causing extreme harm to his personality. The kid/man/something has become a slave to a game.

This is when the lifter in me reported the obvious – the kid/man/something was not resting enough and was never fresh. Therefore, the kid/man/something was losing to guys like me, who are not really good at this game. Fatigue always comes with mistakes.

I told him to play less in order to preserve his nervous system and computer muscles and joints (forearms, shoulders, fingers, wrists…etc.) After about 2 months the kid/man/something contacted me and said that he/it was already in that master league and got there by reducing his play time by 2/3 and only playing when he was fresh, rested and strong, which usually turned out to be only on the weekends. In brief, somebody could become fairly proficient at Starcraft 2 by playing less and resting more.

The importance of resting is one of the fundamental lessons of the lifting game too. The only way to get stronger is to recover from your workouts, and for that to happen you must rest. Regardless, many people ignore this advice and try to break their heads into the wall every day, hoping that more and more work equals faster and better results.

It’s true that more effort offers better results, but sooner or later you will reach the point of diminishing returns. Pass that point the more you do, the less you get, and the more imbalanced your life becomes.

Imagine that you are trying to become better at playing the piano, and you practice 20 minutes a day. Now, if you increase that to 2-4 hours a day, you will most certainly see faster results. However, if you up your practice session to 12-14 hours daily, there is a pretty good chance that you will burn out at one point. Every extra hour will just cause more fatigue, poor concentration and frustration. If the same or more progress may be obtainable with half the working hours, what’s point in killing yourself?

Therefore, adding more exercises and more workout days, when the bases are already covered and the main wheel is spinning, works the same way – against you.

Sometimes in life the challenge is not to do more of something, but to learn how to do nothing at all.

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