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Work:Rest – What’s your ratio?

At Urban Athlete, we frequently program our workouts with either sets and reps, or with timing intervals. With interval training, we work for a certain amount of time and rest for a certain amount of time – whether we get in 5 reps or 30! What is great about intervals is that depending on your fitness goal, whether it is to get stronger, become more powerful, or increase your endurance (three of UA’s favorites) – you can alter the work to rest ratio to help get your desired result. 

Rest in a workout is extremely intentional. It is programmed with great care to either give our muscles plenty of time or just barely enough time to reset. For strength and power training, we typically rest for longer periods of time than we would when focusing on endurance. 

What happens in our muscles when we rest? (Tune in next week for our blog post on Muscle Contraction!)

With interval training, we specifically program rest for 10, 15, or 20 seconds after each period of work. Unless our workout is every minute on the minute (EMOM), we don’t say, “If there’s enough time leftover, we’ll rest.” 

But how often do we say that in other areas of our life, when we’re not at the gym? 

What if we were as intentional with our rest throughout the day, as we are throughout a workout? 

Just like our work to rest ratio changes depending on our goal at the gym, our work to rest ratio can change depending on our goal at home or at work. The key is that we’re still always resting, whether it’s for 5 minutes or 30, so that we come back to the workout or activity more alert and energized. 

Sometimes rest needs to be programmed, and that’s okay! At Urban Athlete, we write in on the whiteboard. Maybe you need to write it on a Post-it or set an alarm on your phone. Or, use one of the apps you use for intervals at the gym, for intervals at work! 

You can imagine how tired you would be at the end of a 45-minute workout, if you hadn’t rested! No wonder we’re tired at the end of a project or day, when we haven’t taken a step back to reset – our brain is a muscle too! 

Rest comes in many shapes and sizes. During a workout, some people might grab a drink or talk with a friend. During the day, you might read a book or go for a walk. 

We’re all different! What makes you feel the most rested


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