It has been a while innit? I missed you too 🙂
Let’s just say i was resting because our topic of discussion today is all about rest and fitness. “whoop whoop”
Rest and recovery is an important aspect in fitness because it allows the body time to repair and strengthen itself up, especially after a strenuous workout programme. Sometimes making progress means taking rest days. Why? Because REST is part of the programme.
Simply explained, overtraining can lead to exhaustion, sore muscles, and moodiness, which may also make you more susceptible to illness or injury. Overtraining mostly happens when one is training towards a sporting or body goal; ranging from marathon runs, triathlons, body building or “beach body” as they call it haha, among many other different goals. This has happened to me twice i think and as easy as it sounds, taking a rest day with a sporting goal in mind can be a tad difficult.
Overtraining syndrome is when your body and mind don’t have time to recover and rest, resulting in mental and physical burnout.
Few months ago, mentally unbeknownst to me, i did overtrain and i was lucky enough to realise it just in time that i was getting fatigued and worn out. I took the weekend off to recover and damn that was HARD. Let’s face it , it’s hard not to compare yourself to others on Strava, Apple Fitness, Instagram among other social and sporting sites, who are getting in their gym reps or running miles while you are not because you need to rest! That is tough.
I remember looking out the window and seeing lots of people running and cycling throughout the day and i immediately started feeling a teensy bit of guilt that i am neglecting my training. That sucked a whole lot and yet i am glad i did it! Here and there i would do low impact workouts such as walking and yoga to keep my body active. Now this is what i call an “active rest day.” Works for me.
Signs you need a rest day
- Persistent sore muscles
- Muscle pain and fatigue
- Emotional changes (mood swings)
- Sleeping issues
- Reduced performance
In a nutshell, not taking rest days could do your training more harm than good and you may even set yourself up for a few months on the injury bench.
“How many rest days should i take?” This is a very popular question that i have encountered a lot of times as a personal trainer. There’s no magic formula to determine the number of rest days for each person as a lot of factors are in play such as
- Fitness level
- Workout intensity
- How stressful your everyday life is
It is however recommended to take about 2-3 days per week off training for those that are new to fitness and as for the pro athletes, one day a week should be fine. Regardless, listen to your body and monitor yourself. Your body knows best.
Be wise and take those days off training to recover.