I see it everyday on my Facebook fitness group – someone apologizing and feeling guilty for skipping a workout once in 6 months. Others state that no matter what has befallen them in their day – sickness, hospital visit, working overtime – they still got their workout in.
The comments on these posts are even more telling. The skipping workout posts get little to no feedback. The workout-no-matter-what posts get rave reviews, support, thumbs up, at responses of, “Awesome!” and “You rock!” It’s as if those who have skipped a workout get no support while those who pushed through are modern day gods!
I need my rest days!
I have been working out every morning, 5 days a week, since the beginning of January and it has become an absolute joy. But, last night I did not sleep well. In fact, I really only snoozed for about 3 hours. So when my early morning alarm went off, signaling that it was time to turn on my Tony Horton workout, I decided to roll over and go back to sleep.
Looking back, I realized I needed that break because I was feeling over trained and tired from yesterday’s workout. It really had nothing to do with the lack of sleep, or laziness, or any other excuse to skip a workout.
But I wondered why I felt so guilty. I had missed workouts in the past. I needed this rest! And to be honest, it was really nice not to have to jump up out of bed and sweat my skin off and shower and rush around to try to get everything done before it was time to go to work.
Do we under estimate the importance of rest?
Fitness experts and doctors all say that rest is just as important as activity. Rest days allow our muscles to recuperate – something much needed for muscle growth. During physical activity, our muscle fibers are broken down. The rest day gives the muscles time to repair and regenerate. If rest is skipped, the body cannot recover and indeed, further activity can lead to injury, decreased performance, and lack of sleep, to name a few. Yep, you guessed it – muscle gain occurs during the rest times.
We need these rest days and we need to be unapologetic about it.
What we shouldn’t do is allow rest days to derail all the hard work we’ve done. Lots of people (I’m guilty of this, too) tend to use rest days as cheat days and eat anything and everything they can get their hands on. Others tend to sit around all day in front of the TV and not move at all.
Do something different on your rest day!
While I totally condone a cheat day of eating everything while vegging out in front of the TV, it is something I do only once in a great while. I typically plan some low level activity for my rest days. I will hike, or do yoga. I will get a nice, long stretch routine in while watching TV. I will give my dog an extra long walk. I just try to do something that will keep me in the game. Doing a little something helps my mobility, my flexibility, and helps keep me injury free.
In addition, I keep my diet on track. As they say, 80-90% of fitness is accomplished in the kitchen. I tend to eat better and eat less on my rest days because I don’t have the calorie burn typical to my workout days. I am naturally not as hungry and know that I will feel better if I keep my diet tight.
How do you stay on target when you are taking a rest day?
I’d really like to hear from you. Do you get outside? Do you play sports? Do you go to Disneyland, like I do? What is your favorite rest activity?