Don't Neglect Your Rest Days

Why are rest days just as crucial as training days?

Everyday is the way? Well, not when it comes to training. When you train, you get fatigued and may experience as muscle soreness, feeling low in energy, feeling tired and an increase in appetite as you will need to refuel after training. This is what I call the ‘training hangover’.

Why do we feel compelled to train everyday? Perhaps it’s to get the desired results faster, or even just that you love training. In this case, you could be doing more harm than good.

The goal should be to repair, recover and ultimately prevent injury.


Overtraining is when the volume and intensity of your training exceeds your recovery capacity. It’s like a ‘tipping point’ where the training can do more harm than good. Continuously training without proper rest and recovery days can seriously affect your mind and body. If you train through the pain and fatigue, you can cause irreparable damage to your muscles. You will cease to make progress, and you can even lose your strength and fitness.


6 Reasons to take that Rest Day

What does some good old-fashioned science have to say about rest days?

1. Muscle Repair

When you train, your muscles are repetitively working. This results in micro-tears, which is a normal part of the muscle-building process. However, without proper rest, these micro-tears can develop into serious injuries. This can lead to pain and inflammation. To avoid this, you need to rest your body and allow your muscles to heal, as fibroblast cells can only repair and build your muscle tissue during rest periods.

2.Tough Tendons

Tendons are tricky because they do not receive the same blood supply as your muscles. It takes significantly longer for your body to repair tired tendons. If you do not give your body time to recover after training, your tendons will get tight, leading to tendonitis.

3. Stress fractures

Stress fractures are incredibly painful. Running, box jumps, and lifting weights can cause stress fractures in your bones. You will also be more likely to get stress fractures if you do not give enough time for your bones to recover from your training. All these exercises are good for your bones’ strength; the impact of these kinds of exercises stimulates cell turnover and forces the bone to change and become a stronger structure, only if you don’t overdo it. Make sure to give your bones a rest day to avoid stress fractures. If you already have stress fractures from training, taking a few days will help heal your body and make you feel stronger. Prevention is better than cure in this case.

4. Sleep and Stress hormones

Of course, regular training is excellent for sleep; however, not having rest days in between training can have the opposite effect. Training releases stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, to give your body the energy it needs to train. By not giving your body a break, these hormones will constantly be in your bloodstream, and you may have difficulty having quality night’s sleep. This can lead you to feel exhausted and stressed. Rest days can help you get better sleep by allowing your hormones to return to a normal, balanced state.

5. Performance

Without rest and recovery time, your body may feel more fatigued. This may impact your next training sessions as you might not be able to lift as heavy or go for more pull-up reps. Studies have shown that overtraining decreases your overall performance, which can be your endurance, reaction times and agility. Rest days will allow your body to increase in energy and ultimately improve your performance.

6. Consistency

Since consistency is the most crucial part of any training regime, why not investigate why you might not be keeping up with your training schedule? When you are overtrained, you will feel feelings of irritation, hopelessness, and despondence. This is burnout, which can be avoided by adding rest days to your training schedule. And the only way to recover from burnout is to rest.


Active Rest Days

Just because you are taking a day off from training doesn’t mean you don’t do anything. It simply means taking a short break from training. So, what to do on your rest days?

  • Hydrate – One of the most important things you can do to help your body recover is to drink water and electrolytes for the minerals. These minerals aid in muscle recovery.
  • Simple, gentle movement – aim for very low-intensity movement where the heart rate does not go too high. Suitable activities would be yoga, Pilates, walking, and light swimming.
  • Refuel - Rest days are an opportunity to replenish the things your body needs to recover. Lean protein, fruits, and vegetables will provide good calories, vitamins, and nutrients lost during training days.
  • Sleep - No other form of rest or recovery matches the impact a full sleep can have. Try to get in 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.


To Sum Up

To reduce your injury risk and get the most out of your time in the gym, ensure you get enough rest to allow your body to catch up and strengthen. Starve off future injuries by taking rest days or even active rest days. While the number of rest days depends on many factors such as intensity, age and life stressors, it is vital to take deliberate rest days and listen to your body.

Set yourself up with success, and remember, it’s best to rest!

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