Combining programs and challenges; and active rest days

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    Combining programs and challenges; and active rest days

    Hi Bees, today I'm in need of your advice, help or opinions.

    I've read the article about Rest, Recovery and Overtraining and it's stated that all the Darebee programs have active rest days. No I wonder: are those rest days in regular intervals and how do they correlate with challenges I do additionally to a program? Challenges often have lighter days as well and I ask myself how I can time those two to get better recovery results (if I choose to start a challenge sometime during a program, instead of at the beginning).

    The thing is, for the last ~two months I crabbed a bit along with my training and found myself unable to finish the Ironborn program and the Everest challenge (I did those two together, but not timed to each other, i.e. day 5 of Ironborn with day 3 of Everest). At one point my mood dropped dramatically and I got frustrated. I started another program (Hero's Journey) and got frustrated again. The last I tried was Spartan Trials in conjunction with the Jump Rope Challenge, and while I found both fun, my legs and knees started to ache suddenly. Not during the work outs, but over the day. They felt... exhausted. In fear of overtraining (which might have been unnecessary) I completely paused for two days. Today, I thought of starting with a lighter program, so I chose Totals. After 3 x 10 side leg raises, my legs start to ache again. Usually, I can do around 80 in one go. Now I wonder if it might be something psychosomatic, because I was frustrated with training during the last two months. It also might have to do something with the weather, but such a long period of aching legs is unusual for me.

    Anyway, long story short, my original question regarding the active rest days stands and I would love to her your answers. But if someone has a bit of advice or an opinion regarding my own case, those are very welcome. I'm thankful for all your input, for I want to get back on the horse again
    Last edited by Nihopaloa; April 15th, 2019, 12:19 PM. Reason: Correcting some typos and adding a clarification

    Nihopaloa ... "active rest days" means you do legs one day, abs the next, and upper body the third ... as an example.
    Days two and three you are "resting" your legs while continuing to exercise.
    It can be difficult to match two programs, especially off-cycle, so that the active rests match.
    Perhaps, for now, you should stick to taking a week "off" and doing the Daily Workouts before restarting your Programs and Challenges? A different sort of "active rest".


      Thanks for your answer and advice, DaithiMeyer!
      I already know what "active rest days" mean (especially after reading that article ) but I wondered especially how I I can identify those in the Darebee programs. I found it easy with Foundation, to name an example, but I have no idea what the active rest days were in Ironborn. That's why I was interested if they are in fixed intervals in the programs. Especially when I want to mix a program with a challenge.

      For now, I see how I fare with doing the Totals program (and only that one). Okay, I added the Water Challenge, but I guess that won't be a problem. Some weeks in the future I'd like to do more, though. Naturally


        A quick look suggests Day 3, Day 4, Day 6, Day 7, and any other day not stressing the upper body.
        I'm not surprised you already "knew" what an "active rest day" was, I as trying to help you identify one. After all, they are not, typically, identified as such.


          I may have to dive into the subject a bit more, so I apologize in advance for a longer answer

          In order to understand if and how programs and challenges work together or maybe even enhance each other we need to understand what programs and challenges are and how they work.

          Programs are pretty much complete training plans laid out for you. They have been designed, tested and refined to do exactly what they're supposed to do - and do that well. Each of them having a different approach, different goal, different difficulty, etc... But what all of them have in common is: they are all stand alone programs (exept for the programs specifically made to be add ons), meaning they have been designed as if that's the only physical training you are doing. We can't know what everybody is doing on top of that, so we can't consider those extra factors. So, programs will work best (for most people) when done on their own. That doesn't mean they can't be improved for the individual, though. Let's say you are very experienced in training with weights with a workload way over the average person; in that case a typical day of iron born might not be enough for you. What's the best way to add to that day then? Well, ideally you would still want to stay within the program's intended structure and simply increase the workload - but to do that you would have to understand the structure in the first place. And that, unfortunately, is not easily explained in two sentences, because - as I said - there's months and months of designing, testing, redesigning that went into that. So the chances of "just" throwing an additional workout on top of a program and hoping for the best results might be a bit optimistic
          BUT - that doesn't mean you mustn't ever add anything to the programs. I'm just saying that you probably won't get the maximum results (in regards of your main program's goal). More physical training (in the range of your body's capability) is still a good thing

          Now, challenges are exactly that: somehing to throw on top of your workout. If you ever feel bored with your current routine, if you think you can still do more, if you just want to spice things up a bit challenges are perfect for that. They are not meant to be full training plans, nor are they specifically designed to work with any other workout or program, becase as mentioned earlier: since we can't possibly know what you're doing already, we can't design anything to match that perfectly.

          All that being said, can you still combine programs with challenges? Absolutely! Will combining Iron Born with a cardio challenge increase your strength gains you are aiming for with the program? Probably not, but it will still make for damn good physical training overall!
          So, there isn't really a good way to match a challenge to a program, even if you identify and match the active rest days, because the structure, the intention, the design of the rest of the days may not lign up.

          And just to tackle your second question real quick (oh my god, this post keeps getting longer and longer… I'm so sorry ): in short, rest days are days on which you reduce your usual training to some light physical activity in order for your body to recover. Depending on your background, your experience and your usual training your image of "light physical activity" may look very different from someone else's. That's the reason why a "rest day" of a Level 5 program might still be harder than a regular training day in a different program. That's why they might not be so obvious to identify.

          Phew… that ended up even longer than I intended it to be… again, sorry! But I hope it made sense to you

          EDIT: as a side note, "rest days" in Iron Born are the days that focus on abs as they "only" use your body weight. Also, they only recruit upper and lower body muscles as secondary support muscles, letting them recover from usually being loaded with extra weight.


            I find very useful to identify the main goal, for example: during “Hell Week” I had to remove many training “adds”, workout, challenges and so on because I couldn’t do more than “Hell Week” and just some stretching, stop.
            I couldn’t know that before start.
            Choose what inspire you, stick in mind what is the main goal and then add or remove what doesn’t work for you.
            It works for me


              DaithiMeyer I didn't meant to diminish your answer, I just wanted to clarify for later posters, just in case something was unclear in my original post. I am still very grateful for your answer
              Edit: Thinking back, I've probably understood your first post wrong and you just clarified the "active rest days" a bit more before launching further into your post. So that was a mistake on my part, sorry for that

              TheRaven, no need to be sorry, your post was very helpful and the more info (especially if it's coherent like yours) the better I think I've collected a great deal more understanding after reading your explanation and will plan my future training around that. I guess in the end it comes back to experience and my own personal physical condition. For now, I will just stick with one program and look how that goes. Many thanks for your insightful post!

              Fremen, I'll keep that piece about identifying the main goal in mind for the future. Maybe my training kind of lacked that. So, thanks for reminding


                I'm glad you my post could be of help

                I just wanted to clarify, in case my post came out a bit harsh. In no way did I mean to discourage anybody who wants to add more to their training. If you can and want to do more, more power to you! I guess what I wanted to say - especially in your specific case - was: don't stress too much about how to match two programs or a challenge and a program as there is no perfect way to match them. Do whatever works for you, and most importantly: do whatever is most fun to you


                  Understood, TheRaven, and no worries, your post wasn't harsh at all