Did you know that in order to get stronger your body needs rest?
When you exercise your muscles are breaking down. By providing your body with the building blocks to rebuild (good nutrition) and that oh so precious time (rest) you are enabling your body to build and rebuild stronger, more efficient, faster muscles!
Do you have to R-E-S-T?
It’s not a 4-letter word people! It’s essential to your success and you should embrace it!
So what does “rest” look like?
It doesn’t have to mean laying like spaghetti binge-watching Netflix…if you resist the word, try on “active recovery.” The idea is to take a recovery day or two between intense workouts. So if you do a high intensity run, or spin or HIIT, you should really take a good day or three before you do it again. Especially if you’re just getting started. For people just beginning with fitness I recommend a max of one intense workout per week. This is important to avoid injury and over-training AND to prevent you from losing your energy and enthusiasm for it! As you gain fitness and confidence in your capabilities you can increase to a max of 3 intense workouts per week.
BONUS? Your body craves variety. By having variety you keep your body (and mind) engaged in the activities you’re doing and reaping the rewards!
And since I mentioned it can we talk about the mental piece? Gritty, tough workouts are exhilarating, but they’re also stressful (mentally and physically) and if you are constantly PUSHING all the time that level of stress can really wear your body and mind down. Variety is not just good for the body…it’s great for the brain too!
How to rest well:
- Make sure you have at least 1 day per week of active recovery. Still want to move? aOK! Just keep it gentle. Gentle Yoga, a walk, leisurely swim…just keep the intensity dialled down – WAY down!
- Embrace variety in your workouts – only do “high intensity” workouts 1-3x per week and make the rest of your workouts lower intensity or steady state.
- Take an “off-season” – yeah, I’m talking to you recreational runners! ALL athletes need an off season to recover, recoup and recharge! If you’re feeling burnt out, injured or just MEH about your sport…take a few weeks to a month where you just move for JOY. There’s a reason the pro’s do it!