BY: Grace Gavilanes

October 29, 2018

What These Fitness Trainers Actually Do On Their Rest Days

Rest days are important, especially when it comes to reaching our fitness goals. Taking a day or two off from an intense workout routine can help prevent injuries and overtraining. Of course, this brings up the obvious question: how do personal trainers spend their days off? Do they really just sit around and watch Vanderpump Rules on loop to destress like the rest of us?

We caught up with a few esteemed trainers and asked them what really goes down on those days outside of the gym. Here’s what they told Lively.

jamie glassman

Jamie Glassman, @jglass

Personal trainer and SoulCycle instructor

How often do you take rest days?

I usually take one rest day a week. I like to work out six times a week because it makes me feel good but I know my body needs at least a day or two to rest and recover. 

What does a typical rest day look like for you?

My rest day is usually on Sunday. I love to take a day to myself. Taking Epsom salt baths, getting my nails done, foam rolling and stretching, and getting a massage are some of my favorite things to do to recover. I still try to get at least 10,000 steps in and try to move a little and not just sit on the couch all day. Saturday or Sunday do tend to be days that I indulge a little more.

Are you more prone to cheat meals on rest days?

I don’t like to call them cheat meals because I like to live an 80/20 lifestyle. I eat mostly clean during the week and I will be a little more flexible and have a treat meal on the weekends. 

Why are taking rest days important to you?

It’s so important to let your body recover. We need to give our muscles time to recover so we can be 100% with our workouts.


Heather Marr, @modeltrainermarr

Personal trainer, author of The Model Trainer Method

How often do you take rest days?

At this stage in my life with my training I use floating rest days. I have one to two floaters I put in weekly around my work and social schedule. Most weeks, I use one but during busier times I may use two rest days.

What does a typical rest day look like for you?

I have a 100-lb. wild man at home. Haha, I adopted a very high-energy lab-shepherd mix a few years ago. On my rest days, he still needs his workout. We will usually do 5 to 10km together which I use as an active recovery for me. I often do my food prep on these days as well with the extra time. 

Are you more prone to cheat meals on rest days?

I’m not one for “treat days.” I genuinely love what I do and eat healthy daily. I’ve been living the lifestyle for many years so it’s second nature to me. I do have treat meals when I want them but typically I put them in around my training split strategically (before a leg day for example) versus on a rest day.

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Do you use rest days as a day to do nothing?

I tend to plan my late nights out the day before a rest day. I know I’m most likely not going to get a great sleep those nights. And I don’t have to worry about being well rested to give my best performance in the gym the following day. Other than that, it’s just a normal day for me.

Why are rest days important to you?

With my training split, training volume and nutrition plan, rest days are important to prevent overtraining. They also give me a mental break from the gym so I come in ready to kill it the next day. At this stage in my life I’m much more balanced than I was when I was younger. That time away from the gym I am able to use on different areas in my life, interests and relationships.

chris ryan

Chris Ryan, @chrisryanfitness

Founding instructor for MIRROR and trainer at

How often do you take rest days?

I take rest days about one day a week most weeks, but every three to four months, I find myself taking off about four to six days in a row if possible. I listen to my body as much as possible. If I feel rundown I may take an extra day or two. If I am feeling a chest cold coming on I limit the cardio and hard strength work. Instead I might hit some calisthenics or low-rep strength-based exercises limiting the heart rate level. Sometimes, doing a light workout makes you feel better. Sometimes it could make you worse, so learn to trust your body as much as possible. It will always give you the right answers.

What does a typical rest day look like to you?

My typical rest day is definitely not feet up on the couch, large pizza in hand and watching football on TV all day. I am a busy dad and husband, so my typical rest day is usually hustling the kids to their activities and going for a long walk in Central Park with my family. I look at this as more of an active recovery. If I truly “rest” and do nothing I feel tight. Bodies were made to move and be in motion after all.

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Are you more prone to cheat meals on these days?

For cheat meals, I have always said if you do the right thing 90% of the time, then don’t sweat the last 10%. So, I treat myself when I feel I deserve it, but never set a “cheat day” in stone.

Why are rest days important to you?

Your body needs to recover from your workouts. When we work out, we cause small micro tears in our muscles, which actually help our muscles get stronger and grow. However, they only grow when your body is at rest; if you start a downward spiral of overtraining then it can be a very hard rabbit hole to get out of. Rest days really allow you to understand your body more and more; treat your body as a machine that needs to move, be fueled correctly with the right nutrition, but it still needs to get its oil checked every once on a while to run smoothly. 

pegah olfat

Pegah Olfat, @pegactive

Personal trainer and Flywheel instructor

How often do you take rest days?

Not as often as I’d like, haha, just kidding! I have two rest days from doing my own workouts – I work out and strength train five days a week – and am usually running around teaching a few classes on the other two days. I am super intentional and very mindful of my activity as rest days are crucial! I like to think of the two days as active rest days. When I am out of classes on both of those active rest days, I pretty much stretch, foam roll and just chill! 

Are you more prone to cheat meals on these days?

I don’t believe in cheat meal days. I think that everything should be in balance, so if I choose to indulge in something out of my normal day-to-day eating habits, I’ll either plan to have it or just go for it without planning. No regrets!

Why are rest days important to you?

Rest days are crucial for the body. Resting is honestly just as important as working out! It’s a huge must when it comes to building strength, endurance and muscle. Rest days allow your muscles, nerves, bones and connective tissue time to rebuild. It’s also a major mental help, too. It allows me to relax more and focus on other things outside of the training mindset. 

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