If you are anything like myself, rest days are not something you typically enjoy. If I could workout 7 days a week I honestly would, however that is absolutely terrible for your body both mentally and physically and you will NOT see results that way! I average about 5-6 days a week of intense lifting, 3-4 days of cardio and when it comes to taking that rest day I usually try to make it an “active” rest day. This just means maybe doing something a little less strenuous on the body.
A few examples of active rest you may wish to add into your daily routine may include:
- Going for a hike
- Going for a bike ride
- Walking the dog
- Swimming (helps with muscle soreness)
- Get outside and just play! Whether it is a sport, with your kids etc.
- Go for a walk
- Stretch/ foam roll
Why is rest so important?
Rest is extremely beneficial for our bodies in more ways than one. The main reason it is so important is that rest prevents injury. Allowing our bodies to take breaks when needed prevents overuse, which in term can result in injury. When you push your body to its limits on a daily basis, your muscles and joints can only handle so much before they start to fail on you. You get ONE body. Take care of it, and give it what it needs!
When you lift weights you’re essentially tearing and breaking down the muscle fibers in your body. Without a proper rest period, your immune system won’t be able to successfully repair and grow those muscles to be stronger than before.That is why it is important to vary the muscle groups you work on different days. If you are going to work a muscle group more than once per week, allow at least 3 days in between before hitting it again.
Many people have the tendency to think that by taking a rest day they will lose all of their hard work and progress that they have put into their bodies, but that is a complete mental thing. It takes the human body about two weeks of no activity before you start to even lose a noticeable amount of muscle or anything for that matter.. so taking 1-2 rest days per week will NOT hinder your progress. Over training affects sleep and performance levels in and outside of the gym. Sleep deprivation can also lead to increased cortisol levels in the body (a stress hormone) which may contribute to weight gain, and decrease the activity of HGH (human growth hormone) which is active during tissue repair.
Think of it this way people -->
The greater the training intensity – the greater the need for recovery
Monitor your workouts weekly, and listen to what your body is trying to tell you!
REST. REST. REST