We all want fast, effecient results! We strive to take our fitness to the next level. When our motivation is at an all time high we often don’t even entertain the notion of taking a day off at the gym. Well is it too much of a good thing or is training day in & day out condusive to optimal results? Well, lets take a closer look!
Recently, I was battling a minor health issue that forced me to take several days off from the gym. With facing this challenge, and being forced to calm down my fitness routine for a bit, I thought great I’m going to lose everything I’ve been working for; panic immediately set in. Now I have been a trainer/coach for quite a few years now and I know that rest can be highly beneficial. Your central nervous system gets some relief, muscles and joints get a repreive, but I must admit I rarely practised what I preached. I seldom took a day off, let alone several days.
Well, it turns out this short leave of absence from my training did not cause my muscles to disappear and I didn’t gain pounds of bodyfat. On the contrary, rest was exactly what I needed. My body feels & looks better. Now I feel rejuvenated; ready to take on the next challenging workout.
For some people trying to peak for a competition or race, although it may seem counterintuitive, may need rest more then anything else to achieve your best physique and performance. You may need to take time off from training to let your body recover and recuperate from the difficult regimine you have been following. I think taking days off can mean something different to everyone & it really depends on a few variables – what’s your fitness level, what type of exercise are you doing, how long have you been doing it for?
Low to moderate-intensity aerobic activities could & should be performed every day without any major risk of overtraining. On the other hand, if you’re training at very high intensities and feel excessively sore afterwards, then you might need a rest day or more so your body can recover. Depending on training volume and degree of soreness it could greatly benefit you to take a day off. But also keep in mind, quality Rest is more important then the quantity of Rest. Plus, I believe stress at work or home can have a negative impact on your overall recovery process.
The bottom line: there’s no magic formula for everyone. But if you’re sore, notice decreased performance, elevated resting heart rate and general lack of energy while working out, you may want to re-evaluate your rest and recovery to ensure that you are not doing more harm then good.