How To Properly Balance Training & Rest

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The balance between the on and off switch.

Yin and yang.

Work and rest.

Action and non-action.


This will be our theme in today’s training tidbit.


Balancing Work & Rest

Balance across the board (in metaphor or in a physical sense) requires you to have a deep sense of self awareness. As practicing martial artists this is an essential skill for high levels of practice/performance. It can often times become the BYPRODUCT of quality training.

To limit our scope today, we will focus on balancing work and rest in regards to our physical training output in a general sense.

The Importance of Knowing Your Nature

You have to know if you’re prone to leaving switch on and chronically being in that “go go go” mentality. If left unchecked, this will eventually lead to burnout, injury, or reliance upon external means for energy. None of those are good!

This means a self-imposed restrictor plate must always be in your mind’s eye when it comes to your training and output.

I have the propensity to stay “turned on” too long. I’m a hard worker and Type A person by nature. And I don’t know how to shut down. When I get fatigued, I have the bad habit of doubling down on trying to will my work to be completed… or to get even more done.


A blessing and a curse. I’m sure many of you can relate to this.

At the same time, if you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum — a tendency to procrastinate and wait — it’s best to remind yourself to get yourself momentum by moving.

Work When You Work, Rest When You Rest

Earn your rest by working.

Work hard fully after resting.

Blurring the two is inefficiency.


When it’s time to be “on,” be on. When it’s time to be “off,” be off.

I’ve been challenging myself with this thought process and ultimate form of action for my own behavior: Work so you can rest, rest so you can work.

Leave yourself work to be completed after you’ve charged up. Don’t drain yourself to where you can’t jump back on the horse after your “reboot.”

Listen To Your Body

If your body is telling you “no” in regards to training, this is where you must know your nature. When in doubt, rest so you can come back for another day.

Xande Riberiro has been quoted as saying something similar in regards to keeping such a high level of training and performance for so long.


Again, this comes back to knowing your nature, too. Self-awareness is the most crucial key.

Grease The Groove

Train at an intensity that allows you to train another day. This way you can BUILD progress rather than red-lining yourself. Pavel Tastsouline echoes this in his weightlifting philosophy and preeminent martial arts coach Firas Zahabi has similar ideas on training his athletes.

Final Considerations on Balanced Training

Keep some of the themes I covered today in mind as you go about your training this week. See where you need to work, but also see where you need to rest.

I’m sure by having this detached observation you’ll begin to find a better-balanced approach to your training. Feelings of more energy, fulfillment, and growth will emanate from you, and with less outward strain in your training.

I cover more performance training tidbits with my ebook “The Foundations of Movement Autonomy, Vitality, and Performance” that will help you prepare, recover, and perform better on the mats!

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Billy Edelen has a B.A in Exercise Science from Bellarmine University and garnered his Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) credential in September 2016. He has been a competitive athlete since he could literally ride a bike. Billy won multiple BMX national titles in his youth and played on Bellarmine’s Division 2 2015 Final Four basketball team. You could say he has competitiveness in his blood! He recently finished first in an IBJJF tournament, had his first pro tournament in March, has won his last two regional tournaments, and recently won his last super match in the UGI. He recently made his first appearance in ADCC East Coast Trials. Billy developed his Mobillity lifestyle out of necessity to harness his anxiety and a low back issue. He has constructively and creatively made these strengths to help others live in balanced health (mind, body, and spirit).
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