After my experience yesterday I've decided that it is simply the intentions you set out with in the morning.
If you set out with the intention of NOT going to the gym and then don't go, it's a rest day.
If you set out with good intentions of going to the gym, and then you don't go, then it was a lazy day.
Or, and this is also a real possibility, the expectations were too high. This opens up the third possibility that it should have been a rest day but you failed to plan it in properly.
Does it matter?
Well, for motivation purposes I think it matters a great deal. A rest day is essential sometimes. You have to listen to your body. And some days it just needs a break from pounding the pedals or the treadmill or the pavement... So a rest day is motivational, you come back the following day rested (spot the key word there?) and ready to go onwards and upwards with your exercise programme.
A lazy day however, leaves you with all those feelings of guilt and failure that not sticking to your intentions leave you with. That has a real danger of leaving you demotivated the following day and not sticking to your intentions again. That way a downward spiral and madness lies!
So, how do we deal, motivationally, with the other sort of day?
On Monday I discussed my week's training plan with my PT. I would train with him on Monday, do a cardio session Tuesday (muscle ache permitting), then rest Wednesday to come back strong on Thursday and Friday.
All was well until I let the thought creep into my mind on Wednesday morning that I MIGHT do something. Maybe a bike ride in the evening if the weather was fair (it was cold and raining when I left work). Maybe a run along the seafront (it was cold and raining when I left work). Maybe, maybe, maybe.
Well, maybe that sort of indefinite thinking is what gets me into trouble in the first place. Because today I feel demotivated by how I am feeling, and yet all I did was have the rest day I was planning at the start of the week.
Definite and specific is the way to go. So I will train this lunchtime. I will get up early tomorrow and go to the gym first thing. And I will feel good about it. And I will be motivated by it.
And then I will rest again on Saturday.