Does the thought of taking a rest day from the gym mentally stress you out?
If you would have asked me this same question 2-3 years ago, the answer would have been a big resounding YES! Taking a rest day would send me into a mental tailspin. Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and laziness were just a few of the thoughts going through my mind. It wasn’t until I was forced to take not 1 day but 16 weeks of rest from the gym. Read more about this in the About Me section of my website. Fast forward to the present, I actually look forward to my 1-2 rest days per week. Besides getting adequate sleep, adequate rest days between workouts are so important for a number of reasons.
Incorporating a rest day into your training will actually improve your fitness and performance.
It enhances the recovery process, helps replenish lost glycogen stores and prevents mental burnout. Not allowing enough recover time between your weight training workouts can result in overtraining. Overtraining will ultimately lead to injuries slowing down your muscle building progress even further. Since you are placing tremendous amounts of stress on the muscles and nervous system with each training workout, allowing for enough time between workouts is so important. Another sign that a rest day is necessary or overdue is when you find yourself both mentally and physically struggling with your regular training. Most experts agree that you should aim for at least one rest day between each of your weight training workouts, preferably two.
Tips on adding in a rest day
I took the rest day- now what? During your rest day, it is important to take it easy. If you must do something active, choose something like a slow walk or some restorative yoga. Choose a Saturday or Sunday and use that time to sleep in, spend time with family or do an activity you enjoy such as cooking or shopping. Remind yourself that your body will use your rest days to repair and rebuild your muscle tissue. Just relax and enjoy them. If you are training as hard as you should be, they are well deserved.
Rest assured (no pun intended) your body will reward you for these efforts.