Rest seems illogical - why should I do it?
Because you don't want to get hurt. Sometimes overtraining and not taking the time to let your body recover can lead to overuse injuries or exhaustion which can affect form. Also, injuries mean you might be out of the game for even longer than a day or two, which no one wants. Every athlete deliberately schedules rest days into their program, you should too.
But I feel fine.. won't working out more be better?
It sure sounds great, but not giving your body a break means you don't give your muscles time to repair themselves. Lifting weights actually causes little tears in the muscles that have to get fixed in order to be bigger and stronger. Your muscles need to have time off, just like you need a weekend to feel refreshed on Monday.
If I take too many days off, won't I lose some strength?
You've worked hard for those #gains, and of course, you don't want to lose them. Repeat after me: one day off will not hurt my training progress. Say that again. It takes weeks of inactivity -not just a missed workout here before you'd see muscle loss. When your muscles come back refreshed, rebuilt, and ready to go, and you'll be surprised at how good you feel at your next workout and how your performance might increase.
What about my mind?
I. HEAR. YOU. Exercise is my outlet for managing my stress and anxiety and I NEED it. Giving yourself a little distance from exercise can actually be healthy for not only your body but your brain. Ever feel like you're checking the clock during your workouts or just not pushing as hard as you could be? You can avoid mental burnout and be excited and challenged when you step back to your routine after a day off.
Ok, so you've found yourself on a rest day, what do you do with yourself?
If you're sold on the rest day but still not sure what that actually looks like in practice, here are some ideas. Rest days don't mean you're sitting around doing nothing and can and should include active rest, something that keeps your body moving in a gentle and low-impact way but does not stress your muscles.
Some examples of things you can do on your active rest day :
Going for a walk
Hiking (nothing too rigorous)
If you're unsure how to program your workouts or when to take rest days, shoot me an email. I'd be happy to help you or plan a unique program for your goals.
Now get out there and enjoy some well-deserved rest!