“No days off,” I grumbled, my breath forming a tiny cloud against the cold winter air. The hangar we’d been using as a gym offered little reprieve from the desert’s early morning chill, but I knew it would just be a few hours before the bitter dark gave way to searing light, and my workspace would shift from icebox to easy bake oven. It was Christmas, but once the festivities had passed and the New Year came, there was still a fight to be won — and I still had weight to cut.

“No days off.” I grumbled again to the empty room.

We’ve all made our mistakes. Growing up as a skinny kid with a natural body type that’s more Jack Skellington than Dwayne Johnson led me to plenty — crappy supplements, silly workout regimens, crazy diets. If there was a way to break the genetic chains that hindered my progress, I was dead set on finding it. Of course, as the years pressed on, I came to learn that the fads and the powders all seemed to come and go, but the basics remained steadfast: eat well, work hard, and get some rest.

Rest. A dirty word among the uninitiated. When fitness is the goal, inaction seems like going the wrong way down a one way street. No days off, right?