It’s true, you have to push yourself to become your strongest, fittest self - but you also have to know when to rest! You’ll reach your fitness goals much faster if you incorporate rest days into your routine. You may have had some awesome sweat sessions this week, but now your body needs a little TLC and time to recover.
Workouts stress the body, and while the changes you’re causing are good ones that can lead to muscle growth, fat loss, and better cardiovascular health, you need to give your body time for those good changes to happen before you do it all over again. Your body needs time to clear out lactic acid produced during your session and to repair any muscle tears.
A rest day allows your body - and your mind - the time it needs to consolidate all the hard work you’ve been doing. Allowing yourself a day off allows your muscles to regenerate and also avoids a workout burnout. You’ll find you have a lot more energy and motivation to keep pushing in your workouts if you allow yourself the time to recover.
You won’t ‘lose’ your fitness progress by taking a rest day, in fact you’ll gain more if you do.
Use your rest days to relax and rejuvenate both your mind and your body - do whatever it is you need to do to re-energise! Whether that’s a day on the couch watching Netflix, a spa day, meal prepping, or spending time with family and friends. If you still want to be active, try light cardio, a walk in nature, stretching, foam rolling or yoga to get the blood flowing. But don’t overdo it - like we said, this is a day for REST.
Try and schedule at least one full rest day in each week. Take more if you need to - it all depends on your fitness level, regime and circumstances. How frequently you take a rest day will depend on the amount of stress put on your body in each training session. When training with weights, ideally it's recommended to have two full days of rest before hitting each muscle group. This means that if you train on consecutive days, you should ensure you’re hitting a different area of the body, e.g. legs on Tuesday and chest and back on Wednesday. If your workout on one day is high-intensity, you can follow it the next day with a low-intensity workout.
When following THE BOD training programs, you’ll find scheduled rest days each week, as well as the option to add in more workouts if you’re feeling good or leave out if you’re not feeling it.
At the end of the day, you should always listen to your body. If you feel unmotivated, tired, stressed or your workouts seem a lot harder than usual, it may be a sign that you need rest.
Remember, your recovery days are just as important as your intense workout days. Don’t avoid resting! Give your bod the time it needs to repair itself and you’ll reap the benefits later.