There’s no rest for an alpha! OK, I don’t mean that literally, everyone needs some time off to cool down and recharge their batteries, in order to keep moving, faster and stronger. What I meant to say is, if you want to rest like a man, then coming home after a workday, sitting down in front of the TV with a pizza and a six-pack is out of the question. Idleness kills manliness, and there are other ways to really rest, which don’t include passively lying around, doing nothing.
If you don’t rest adequately, your body will tell you so. You have to work a lot? There’s not enough time for managing all the things in your life? So, you decide to cut back on your sleep, staying up all night and sleeping during the day. However, sleep deprivation is just another brick in the road that leads to nowhere. Here’s what you can do to rest your body and mind. To rest like an alpha.
Save Stress for the Morning
What is the point of having a bedtime ritual in the first place? It’s to relax and calm the body and set the stage for setting off into an REM phase. However, you can’t relax if you are dealing with things that can raise your blood pressure – thinking about business problems, worrying about late bills, pondering on the world’s problems, and other things. Deal with heavy and stressful things when you feel refreshed, so wait until morning comes.
Choose the Right Time for a Drink
Okay, a scotch may be a part of the alpha-male identity. Alcohol isn’t harmful when drunk in moderate amounts, but it can play a nasty trick on your body if you don’t lay off about 3 hours before going to sleep. Otherwise, alcohol will get metabolized some hours later, while you’re asleep, and will have you tossing and turning in your bed. The kind of sleep you get in the first half of the night is called short-wave sleep (associated with an immune system boost and the repair of body tissues), and can be prolonged by alcohol. This disturbs REM sleep, the later stage of sleep that encourages memory formation and learning. According to a research published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research a few years ago, a drink before bed might get you to doze off more easily, but you may not feel as rested in the morning.
Stay Away from the Bedroom
Don’t underestimate the power of association. In 1890, the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov discovered something that’s now called Pavlovian conditioning. While he fed his dogs, he discovered that they would salivate whenever he entered the room, even if he didn’t bring them food. What I want to say is that, if you don’t use your bedroom for things other than rest and sex, you will build a mental association between fatigue and bed. Pre-bedtime activities, watching TV, or even working, should be done in any other room but the bedroom. Once it’s time to rest, you’ll enter your bedroom, and your body will take it as a signal to shut down and hibernate.
Turn Your Digital Devices Off
Electronic devices that you use before bedtime may deprive you of quality sleep. People largely use phones and tablets within an hour of bedtime, but it’s the light exposure from these devices that trick our brains, that interpret it as daylight. It then blocks melatonin (responsible for making us sleepy) and triggers a surge of energy. What can you do to prevent electronics from messing with your resting time? First, charge your devices in another room, rather than your bedroom. Don’t use your phone as an alarm, buy a real alarm clock that won’t interrupt your sleep in the middle of the night. Turn off all the computer, phone, and TV screens about an hour before bedtime. If you want to read, read a printed book, not a digital ebook or a PDF version on your tablet. If you can’t manage that, try simply reducing the amount of light that gets emitted from the screen (white letters on a black background). Create a bedtime routine that doesn’t involve electronics, which will keep you engaged and prevent you from turning a device on for work or entertainment.
Rest Days during Training Week
If you’re an iron addict, then resting days may come as a kind of “torture”. However, if you’re trying to get stronger and bigger, the way you handle your rest days can greatly affect your workout results. Rest days have to be timed wisely during the week and you certainly shouldn’t feel like you’re slacking off. It’s not an OFF day, but a GROWTH day, when crucial things happen. If you want progress and growth, then rest days are not something that you want to avoid and become a stimulus addict. Every dedicated lifter knows the importance of rest days, the time when all the magic happens. This is the time when you recharge all your energy, when you build muscle and replenish your glycogen stores, and when your nervous system can get back on track and tune into its optimal working state. You need to remember that your body is not a bottomless well of energy, and that you are dealing with a limited amount of resources – you need to replenish them often and properly. (Read This: 4 Things You Need to Do to Recover Optimally)
If you don’t know how to structure your training week, this could be a good start, and you can adjust this system further:
– Monday – Training day 1 (moderate loading and volume)
– Tuesday – Training day 2 (highest training volume)
– Wednesday – Growth day 1
– Thursday – Training day 3 (heavy training)
– Friday – Growth day 2
– Saturday – Training day (heavy training)
– Sunday Growth day 3
You might think it’s a mere paradox, but there are many things you can do to enhance your progress and hack your growth. Active recovery means that the earth does not stop turning on rest days, it’s just a routine easier than the one you implement on your regular days. All of your light, rest day activities will only help you recover faster than if you’d spend your days counting the minutes before you can hit the gym.
If you look closely at our bodies, you will notice that we are designed to move – if you stop moving for extended periods of time, all you are doing is telling your body that it’s time to shut down, and prepare for death.
Rest days don’t require you to be sitting at home, doing nothing. You don’t have to be passive. An alpha wouldn’t like to be passive. Instead of hitting the brakes and coming to a complete halt, you should just slow down and do some form of active resting – light exercise in the outdoors, a bike ride around the city, or some mobility drills. If you’re a guy who doesn’t have an aversion towards marijuana, then you can use it as something that can help you slip into a resting state of mind. Marijuana is beneficial in various ways (when taken in moderate amounts), and is known to provide relief from anxiety and insomnia, improve appetite, and decrease nausea. Believe it or not, it can even help you in your growing endeavors, if you are not averse to trying it.
Meditating doesn’t require sitting in a lotus position, humming “ummmmm” for an hour, whatsoever. It is a technique for relaxing and calming both the mind and body. If it wasn’t efficient, people wouldn’t be practicing it for several thousand years now. Find a quiet area in your home and sit in a relaxing position, close your eyes, and concentrate on your body’s sensations and breathing. Let go of tension, keep breathing, and take a mental journey to the peaceful place of your choice, and start noticing details (the color of the sky, the smells, the sights, and the warmth). Meditation will improve your focus, it will improve your resilience towards pain and adversity, teach you all about relaxation and awareness. It’ what an alfa is all about.
There are many things you can do to always keep yourself a well-rested alpha, always prepared for everyday life and all the challenges that are lurking behind every corner. Alphas always have a goal and actively work to achieve it. An alpha knows himself, knows where he’s going, and who he can rely on in life. He also knows how to get there, and can tell you what he’ll do if he faces an obstacle that seems to be unsurmountable. Forget all about arrogance, it’s only belief in yourself that keeps your head up, shining with confidence and self-esteem. A real man doesn’t pressure himself to do everything, but knows his limits, and it’s important to know them, in order to know when to rest.
An alpha male creates his own destiny and stays in control. He does not push himself into overdrive when he knows he will only be causing harm. He is perfectly ready to spend time in his den resting, ready to take on another day.
About The Author
Mathews McGarry is passionate about many forms of strength training, and has spent years lifting, dragging and flipping all manner of heavy objects. After graduating from the Faculty of Health Sciences, he started writing about his experiences, and sharing tips for a better life.
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