Rest Day- Why it's Just as Important as Hitting the Gym
Rest. It’s hardly a word you recognize right? In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, the last thing we get to do is rest. We’re up early, off to work, back home then out the door again all before the sun goes down. Not to mention fitting in those workouts that keep you sane, balanced and on track for a healthy lifestyle.
Running, running, running. That’s what it feels like 90% of the time. We’re constantly in motion. Constantly trying to outdo, outsmart and squeeze in just one more thing before the clock strikes and it’s time to hit the hay. My gosh it’s exhausting. And that’s exactly why it’s time to rest and put the brakes on. Understanding why we need to give our bodies a break is the first step. The second step is knowing it’s ok to rest. Oftentimes we fall into the belief that if we don't workout six or seven days a week we won’t reach our goals. But that's not the case. Actually it’s the opposite and you’re about to learn why. Resting your body helps you gain optimal results and perform even better the next time you set foot in the gym. We’re giving you permission to rest, recover and then pick it back up again.
It’s all about balance. Family, fitness and recovery. Together forming a trinity of success.
Muscle Recovery for Better Building
When starting a program, like customized ones at CrossFit Threefold, most likely your sights are set on a few goals. One a healthier lifestyle but also increasing muscle mass and creating a leaner, stronger you.Those goals are fabulous but they won’t come without a strategic plan. Working with a personalized coach is a sure fire way to create a plan that not only includes pushing your body throughout the week but also including a rest day or two. Rest days give your muscles the chance to rebuild and yourself the opportunity to rejuvenate.
But what actually happens to your muscles when you lift? Aside from asking a lot of your biceps, triceps, legs etc your muscles break down every time you push those weights. Lifting creates tiny microscopic tears in your muscle tissue. These tears need time to rebuild. In order to gain strength, size and capacity they need to recover. This my friends is where rest days come into play. Rest days help your muscle tissues grow back together stronger. The result? A leaner, stronger and more defined you. With proper rest and recovery, you’ll be able to head back to the gym with a different level of strength and nail your workout sets.
If your muscles are sore from working out you have to give your circulatory system time to rejuvenate the tissues. Your circulatory system works by removing metabolic byproducts in the muscles then uses oxygen and nutrients to repair the damaged tissues.
All in all, the key to success is knowing how far to push your body, then understanding the balance between what it takes to reach your workout goals and incorporating rest for recovery. Rest feels so good and once you work it into your weekly routine, you’ll question why you ever pushed it aside. Your body will thank you for giving it a chance to rebuild and ultimately perform better once it's time to kick things up a notch again. So ignore that little voice telling you to keep pushing past a rest day, give yourself the rest you need inside and out.
Rest for Your Mindset
Human beings are classic for pushing things to the limit. We take on too much, have jammed packed schedules and then when it comes to working out, we usually have an all or nothing mentality. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic to be “all in” but you also need to know your limits. Limits are important to acknowledge because they can lead to burn out. And the last thing you want to do is burn out when it comes to your health and fitness. Setting and achieving obtainable goals should always be kept in mind.
When working with a coach or when creating a workout schedule you have to think about what fits best with your lifestyle. Maybe it’s a group class, or maybe you need personalized coaching- regardless you have to make working out actually work for you or else it’ll falter. Another key in making sure your workouts are a success is creating a positive mindset. But that mindset means more than just thinking “Yes I can!” It’s about knowing that it’s ok to take a break and actually welcoming it. Training our minds to hit the pause button is something very challenging. It’s also something we’re not used to doing, however it’s important when we want results. Since we don’t run on everlasting batteries, we have to give ourselves a break every now and again.
You push yourself all day and all week long so making sure you schedule some well deserved “rest time” is essential if you really want to give it your all next time you hit the gym. Just think about it. When you give yourself the chance to rest you feel recharged and ready to take on the next challenge. And that’s what working out is about. Conquering, then taking on the next challenge breaking through any plateau. You’ll come out stronger, healthier and happier!
Giving yourself rest is also important for your mental state of being. Your mindset drives daily functioning so if you reach a breaking point or are just too tired to keep pushing, everything else spirals downward. Rest gives your mind a chance to just be. You can focus on other aspects of your life, spend more time with your family or just finish that good book you started! Again remember the balance.
Avoid Injury and Make Better Progress
Let’s talk injury prevention. No one wants to get injured so why put yourself at risk? Skipping rest days won’t give your body the chance to recover. And as a result, the chance of injury increases. Ugh that’s the worst! Especially because now you’ve derailed from your goals. Working out when run down or tired only leads to improper form or the inability to complete your workout. Whether it’s jumping those boxes, nailing pull ups or pushing weights you need strength, energy and the right motivation to do it right.
Even if you choose an “active” rest day by incorporating a walk, or bike ride into your routine you’ll be giving your body a chance to repair and reset for the next workout. That type of variety and break from strenuous exercise works wonders on your muscles. But don’t forget to take time for yourself. Self-care which includes rest and relaxation is essential in so many ways. Health benefits of a rest day include-
- Improved sleep
- Less stress
- Reduced risk of fatigue
- Long-term healthy habits
Give yourself a break and reap the benefits. You’ll be so glad you did and will come out stronger, healthier and happier.
Let us help you create a workout routine that gives you a little bit of everything so you can achieve your full potential- rest day and all!