The dreaded rest day…..for some of us anyway 😉 I’ve been teaching fitness for about 18 years now. I started teaching group fitness about 17 years ago and slowly built up my schedule so that I was teaching multiple classes 6-7 days per week. I spent a lot of years not taking any rest days at all even though I always told my clients that they needed to take rest days. Recently I hired a coach to help me prepare to compete in a fitness figure competition and now I have assigned rest days. This is hard for me to deal with so I decided to refresh my memory on why we need rest days.
Why We Need Rest Days
Even though some of us like to think we’re super-human and don’t need a rest day we really, really do. Here are some reasons.
Help prevent injuries.
This is one that hits close to home for me right now because I am currently dealing with a rib injury. If you don’t take rest days you risk suffering from overuse injuries. When you’re physically active each and every day it causes wear and tear on the joints and muscles. You need to give your body time to rest so that you can avoid overuse injuries.
Overtraining will affect your health.
Overtraining can have a detrimental effect on your immune system which can lead to more illness and injuries. It can also affect your hormones negatively and in extreme cases cause reproductive issues. Other symptoms of overtraining are irritability and anxiousness.
Allows your muscles to recover and rebuild.
If you workout every single day, essentially all you’re doing is tearing your muscle down and not giving it a chance to rebuild. You need rest days to give your muscles time to rebuild themselves after you ‘damage’ them in the gym. When you workout you actually cause micro tears in your muscles. When the muscle is given the proper rest and nutrition it repairs those tears and this is what leads to increased strength and muscle hypotrophy.
There is nothing worse than pushing yourself to workout when you’re burnt out. If you do anything too much you’ll eventually get burnt out and this leads to frustration, irritability and even depression. You need to switch things up regularly and give yourself at least one full day off for a break from your routine. The day after a rest day you’ll feel energized and refreshed and ready to hit the gym with a smile on your face!
Make sure to schedule in at least one full day of rest per week. Right now, I have two in my new workout schedule and I’d be lying if I said I was okay with that! I totally trust my coach though and she knows what kind of shape I need to get into so if she says I need two rest days then I’m just going to do it. Repair, regrowth and increases strength happens during rest time so treat your rest days as days that are just as important as your workout days.