Are rest days really important?
Oct 01, 2021
You might have heard us say this before but rest days are KEY no matter what your goals are and here's why.
During strength training, we invoke targeted fatigue and break down muscle tissue. It is only during recovery, think proper rest, sleep, nutrition, hydration, that your body will grow and repair muscle tissue. Exercise is merely a signal, a signal that tells your body to respond from being momentarily weak and tired to strong and energized! But you have to wait for the response to happen. If you are working out every day, then you're continuously interrupting this important stress/response relationship, preventing any significant increase in strength, ability and health to happen - not good.
This eventually leads to overtraining which can be described as chronic fatigue combined with a loss of strength and a lot of diminishing returns on your time and effort. Your body commands at least one rest day from high-intensity or demanding exercise to recover and let the magic of exercise do its thing. For many people, taking a day off can feel a bit counterproductive but progress and all-around improvement happens outside the gym/studio/ home. I personally thrive on 2 consecutive rest days. On those days I’ll go for long walks, take a slow and stretchy yoga class, read a book, cook - ya know everything else you like doing outside of working out!
Everyone is different and some people only need one day, some even need 3 or 4, depending on what they are trying to achieve. Listen to your body but here are some signs you need to add another rest day:
- You are constantly sore
- Your muscles always feel drained
- You are starting to dread your workouts (yes, exercise burnout is a thing too!)
- You are constantly hungry no matter what you eat
- You are getting injured or having nagging injuries
- You are getting weaker