Workout all day, every day to be healthy, wealthy and wise, right!? Wrong. In fact, that's a sure way to land yourself in a training timeout due to burn out, fatigue or injury. One of the most important components of any training plan is rest. Now, don't let this go to your head - this post is not a means of justifying your lazy a** sitting on the couch every night, noshing on potato chips and double-stuffed cookies. Everyone should be getting the recommended amount of exercise:
To maintain weight and encourage optimum health:
- 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity, at least 5 days a week
To lose weight and encourage optimum health:
- 60 to 90 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity, at least 5 days a week
However, for those crazies among us who actually view exercise as FUN and make it a part of our every day lives, it's important to take a day off. Just like all good things in life it's important to find the right balance. PopSugar Fitness posted three reasons regarding why a rest day is important for your goals and your body:
1. REST helps your body repair itself. Exercise can cause tiny tears in your muscles. Rest helps muscles recover, rebuild, and become stronger. Make sure that you give your body ample time to repair and replenish energy every week to avoid injury and overuse. Think about how much better you feel (and how much nicer you are) after a good nights rest. Your body needs that.
2. REST helps prevent injury. That nagging pain in your ankle can become a full-blown chronic injury if you refuse to take time off from your intense workout routine. Make sure you ice, foam-roll, and rest your body regularly, but especially when you feel a possible injury creeping on. Your body is pre-ttty good at telling you when it's had enough. Head those warnings. Ask yourself, Is this a sign of fatigue or overuse? Is this workout going to contribute to my goals or do more harm than good?
3. REST helps you mentally. It can be hard to stick with a routine, especially if you're burnt out. And while exercise is one of the best ways to lift your mood, feeling guilty when you've missed a workout and stressing over whether or not you've worked out enough can be major demotivators. Make a standing date for a rest day during the week so you aren't second-guessing your decision to sleep in instead of get up for a run.
Last week I had scheduled a rest day after 6 days of hard workouts. I knew my body needed the break but sometimes my slightly obsessive and occasionally competitive trainer mentality takes over and messes everything up. So, I finished training clients for the night and was left in the studio, by myself, surrounded by everything I could possibly need for a killer workout. I should workout, I told myself. How can I turn this down? I'm here. I have the time and no excuse. I didn't want to but I coerced myself into it (and they say peer pressure is bad, sheesh). I turned the music up and whipped out my exercise routine. Begrudgingly I did my core set, slowly set up my weights for my first lifting set, cranked out 8 reps of a bench press annnnnd...I was done. Yep. My mental game was totally off. I ignored what my body was telling me and tried to bully myself into skipping my rest day. So not cool! I learned my lesson.
Now that being said, there will be days when you really don't feel like working out when in fact it's exactly what your body needs. That's different. Make a plan. Schedule your rest days and listen to your body - stretch, foam roll and RELAX!! You're allowed.
Eat well. Live well. Be well.