Whether you have been working out for many years or you are just getting started putting some work in the gym or with a trainer, chances are you are counting down to the next rest day or day off from cardio and weight training.
If you aren’t keeping an eye on your planned rest day or care to even have one then you are potentially overtraining. We want to let you know that a rest day or two isn’t so bad, in fact, it may even be the best thing you do for your body. Overtraining can actually cause us to gain fat, lose muscle and be in worse shape if we don’t stop and rest.
We only get one body in this lifetime and exercise does the body good. However, too much of a good thing could be bad as the old saying goes. If we are constantly pushing ourselves and not allowing our muscles to heal and strengthen then we could be putting ourselves on a fast track to burning out and causing some serious damage to our bodies. Rest days are important to implement and schedule out in balance with our workouts.
A good trainer will help you better understand the appropriate rest day schedule you should follow. For people just starting out and getting fit they may feel incredibly sore all over and may need a couple days before they feel like exercising again. A rest day may be in order, but it doesn’t mean they should just lay in bed or sit on the couch all day barely lifting a finger. Quality time with your foam roller and light or moderate walks are a good way to start easing out the tension and soreness in your body .
As an avid athlete you may need less recovery time, but taking days off from heavy lifting or high intensity workouts are still essential to ensure that you allow your muscles to fully recover and grow as well as to prevent symptoms of overexertion or overtraining.
By taking time to schedule your training sessions by targeting specific areas of the body on certain days, it allows those parts to get a rest or not be as exerted when you focus on another part of the body on a different day. This is why you will hear weightlifters at the gym talk about “Leg Day”, “Chest Day” or “Back and Shoulders” because when they are training one or two bodyparts it is allowing the other parts of their body to recover.
The important thing is to remember that it is always ok to take a break and rest up between workouts. Also, acknowledging the difference between pain and soreness is crucial in knowing just how much rest you need and where you can push yourself or ease up. Rest days, again, are encouraged as they help your body grow and improve.
With that in mind, incorporating foam rolling, stretching and steady state cardio is a great way to reduce soreness and keep your body accustomed to working out; so you can keep your body in tip top shape.
Beau Jansen is a CORE Pro-Elite trainer at Santa Cruz CORE Fitness + Rehab. Beau has been working as a personal trainer since 2003. As a US Air Force Veteran he has gained valuable experience training Airmen to be physically fit and to overcome injuries. He has worked with professional athletes, recreational athletes, patients needing rehab from surgeries, individuals seeking weight loss, and those with aesthetic goals. He pays close attention to form and detail. Beau challenges his clients to do their very best and his belief in his clients is demonstrated by the incredible results they are able to achieve. He walks his talk. Read More About Beau.