Fit Focus: Restless Rest Days

Good morning! Hey, it’s Friday, I sure hope you’ve had a smooth week, and that Week 2 of the Challenge has pumped you up for a healthy year!

Honestly, I’ve been draggin’ this week, fighting off a cold with every Vitamin D3 I can find in the house. Blah…being sick is not fun, and seriously soup sounds good for every meal. I’ve been loving this tea though…amazing stuff.

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My sore throat and pounding head hasn’t exactly made me super thrilled for my 5:40am wake up call to workout. When considering this Friday’s post I thought I’d talk about my restlessness on rest days.

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Back in the day, when I was younger and much more stupid I thought rest days were for the seriously weak. If I missed a workout, I felt lazy, out of shape, and like a failure. It was like “hit the treadmill of die.” What the heck? Someone should have slapped me. But seriously, that is our society. We are constantly told that constant action bring results, especially in the workout world. However, what we fail to realize is that with exercise that isn’t true.

We actually make fitness gains when we rest. WHAT?! Yes, it’s true.

So what happens?

When we workout we create small tears in our muscles, and during rest periods is when our muscles repair themselves using protein and the amino acids that it contains. Cool right?!

So, here’s the deal, if we don’t take time to rest, our muscles don’t have time to repair themselves which in turn leads to overtraining, overall fatigue, injury, and eventually lack of excitement and motivation for our workouts. That sounds like the opposite of what I’m trying to accomplish.

So, when do I take a rest day?

– If you are new to fitness: I highly recommend that when you make your fitness schedule for the week that you schedule your rest day(s). Look at what type of workouts you are going to be doing that particular week and schedule your rest days accordingly.

If you are sore: I don’t mean your back is a little tight from those 3 sets of pullups that you did, I mean if you finish a leg workout feeling all awesome, and then the next day you wake up and you need assistance to sit down on the toilet sore. That is when your body needs a rest day…and take it, even if it’s not scheduled.

If you are sick:Evaluate how you feel at that moment, and then evaluate whether or not you think a workout will make you feel better or worse, and go from there.
Like today for example, I’ve been using kleenexes like I own stock in the company, so I decided an active rest day was exactly what I needed. I slept in a tad, and then went for a 45 minute walk, and it worked for me.

**Reminder: As you venture further into the fitness world you will learn more and more about your body, and also learn when you need to take some time off. Your body will tell you; it is not an exact science, because everyone is different.

What do I do on a rest day?
It seems like an odd question, I mean, rest…right?

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Well yes, but a rest day doesn’t necessarily mean veg on the couch and watch TV all day because it’s your rest day.

Light activity: Personally on my rest day(s) I like to do some stretching, light yoga, or head out for a walk with the hubs and our pup. The idea is just to move your body. Even though you are taking a break from weight lifting or heart pumping cardio, that doesn’t mean that you body needs to be stagnant.
In fact, when I ran all of my half marathons I was ridiculously sore the next day, but I found it helped me recover faster to head out for a light jog or walk, of about 2 miles.
Fun ideas: Call up a friend, meet up and walk to a favorite coffee shop, grab a coffee and walk, drink and catch up on the latest.
Or grab the kids and head for the park and join them for a few minutes in a game of freeze tag on the playground.

Take the day off: Which is not license to sit on the couch and watch TV all day, but odds are you’ll be moving around as you go about your daily activities, chasing the kids, cleaning the house, etc.
But don’t forget to eat healthy on your rest days, your nutrition is just as important when you are resting as when you are workin’ it at the gym.

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And the most important thing to remember: You do not need to feel guilty for taking a rest day or skipping a workout. Your body will come back the next day more rested, stronger & repaired, and you yourself will be more excited about that day’s workout. Trust me on this one. Overtraining is a serious downer, and can really cause you to lose that empowered feeling you get as you do something good for your body. It is not worth your time and energy to feel guilty, and restless on a rest day.
Success in fitness and health comes with consistency over time. Be consistent. When you workout, hit it hard, and when you rest, be present and rest.

Do you struggle with feeling restless about your rest days? Do you schedule rest days, or take them as you feel your body needs them?

~ Liesl

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