Rest days. Hmm. What a concept, right? If you’ve been reading B2B for a while, I’m sure it’s no shocker that I’m not always very good at rest days. Since I teach so much, on my off days I like to try new workouts and gyms and classes, and sometimes those get in the way of my rest days. And, bottom line, I like to workout! I like to sweat once a day. I like that time where it’s just me and my music or my classes. I like being disconnected from my phone or my computer. It’s just such a big part of my life and daily routine that it feels more weird to NOT plan for a workout than it does to plan for one. BUT! Rest is SO important and since I can often use a reminder to rest, I decided to write this post in case any of you can relate.
However, since I’ve started teaching, I do honor my body more and rest at least once a week, as well as vary my workout types and intensities throughout the other days of the week. Our bodies can only go at full speed/intensity for so long before we hit a wall. Realizing this and abiding by this is so important for me now because if I get injured or suffer from overuse, then I potentially won’t be able to teach or be as good and as involved in my classes if I can still teach. So, at this time, here’s a general overview of my workouts each week
- Mondays- Low impact cardio (spinning, cardio machine, etc.) and core
- Tuesdays- Only strength training (no cardio)
- Wednesdays- Cardio (usually running) and then teaching UXF Burn where I do about 75-85% of the workout (or less, depending on what I do beforehand and/or how sore I am from the day before)
- Thursdays- SHRED and then kickboxing, which is a lot!
- Fridays- Rest because I’m usually beat after my double from Thursday
- Saturdays- Either cardio (kickboxing) or strength (BodyPump)
- Sundays- Lately my Sunday’s have been “fun” workouts: yoga, Barre, Core Fusion, etc. which is great because not only is it something new for me, it’s generally lower impact which is always a welcome change for my joints.
So, although it’s a lot (I like to move!), I really try to vary what I’m doing from day to day. There’s absolutely room for improvement, though, because sometimes I feel like I just need a break. Last week, as I mentioned, was one of those weeks. I lost my workout “mojo”, and I can only attribute that to being burned out. Unfortunately, even though I can notice this and understand this about myself, I’m still not very good at CHANGING things. Sure, I can take a rest day after I feel like this and then say I’m going to take it easy, but I just have a really hard time doing that. Once I get going at the gym, I get excited and forget that I should be taking it easy and resting.
…. maybe I should just avoid the gym during those times where I tell myself that I’m going to take it easy… what a thought!
I tried thinking about why I am like this. Why I don’t like going too long without a workout. Why I plan my day around a workout more often than not. Why I have a hard time listening to my body and giving it adequate rest when it needs it.
While I haven’t figure this out entirely, I have come to the conclusion that I’m not afraid missing a workout will make me gain 5lbs. It won’t. I’m not afraid that I will lose all my strength and muscle definition. I won’t. I’m not afraid that my cardio endurance levels will decrease. They won’t. Muscle memory (your heart is a muscle, too!) lasts for much longer than we think it does.
So, what could it be? That’s what I am trying to find out… and it’s not easy! The benefits of rest are so important for us, that it seems like no-brainer to take a rest day or a few rest days, right?
As the image above so clearly states, rest allows our muscles have a chance to repair themselves from the previous day’s workout, it’s a chance for your muscles to get stronger, it helps eliminate burn-out and over-use and is time for you to have an over all “recharged” battery. One of my favorite bloggers, Gina wrote a “Focus On” post on the importance of rest days and I often go back to that post whenever I need a little reminder about WHY I need to rest.
Someday I’ll get better at it and I’ll be able to rest as much as this little bugger.
But, I also need help from you and want to hear from you! Does anyone else suffer with giving their body enough rest like I do? How often do you rest? Do you plan it out? Any tips to help me get better at resting? Any ideas for things to do on a rest day during my normal workout time?
14 thoughts on “So… what about those rest days?”
I’m like you – I like to move and push myself just about every day. I will adjust the intensity of my workouts sometimes to make it more of a “rest” day but I rarely take a day completely off.
It’s so hard to take a day completely off, but it’s so important! I’m trying to get more comfortable doing it, because I know it will make my next workout stronger!
I struggle with this all the time! I thrive off knowing I had a great workout and I have a hard time going even two days of ‘rest’ but I try my very best to give myself two days of active rest usually a thursday, sunday (’cause chores and errands call my name) and just walk my dog. I’m outside, I am still ‘active’ but my mind and my muscles get a rest. I have to work daily on being better at ‘missing’ a workout if I’m sick or have pushed too hard the day before. Keep working on it, you’re not alone!
I completely understand that feeling, Fiona. Walking your dog and doing errands/cleaning are great forms of “active rest”. Thanks for the encouragement!
When I read this it really resonated with me. It was Friday, after four miles of grueling hills in 17 degree weather with November Project and it was 8 or 9 days since my last rest day and just before a weekend of three spin classes. I too struggle with admitting to myself when I need to take a break. As a former trainer and current group ex instructor, I’ve always urged my clients to listen to their bodies and take time off at least one day a week. As we all know, it’s easy to give good advice to others, but hard to take it yourself. The advice I always give is “think of your rest days as part of your training routine.” The idea being, when you are resting, you are actually engaging in your training regimen. You are doing the work of healing and regenerating. This isn’t a line either, it’s actually totally true.
The problem is the addiction, the high you get from working out. When I struggle with rest days, it’s not because I feel guilty, it’s because I miss the awesome feeling I get when I push my body hard. I also miss the social aspect of going to the gym and working out with my friends, feeling like part of a community. The thing is, I don’t think it’s natural to sit at a desk all day at work, drive home, lay on the couch watching TV and then go to bed — even one day a week. My body was made to move. I think the key is making your rest day something that involves movement that is low impact, but still gives us the mind body connection we need. I like to do an easy yoga class, take a walk, or go for a short bike ride on my rest days. In the warm weather, I love to walk to Starbucks, get a latte, and stroll along the river. Don’t substitute your workout time for laying around doing nothing. Make it count. Try a new recipe, get a manicure, go on a date, in other words, heed the good advice that I can dish out but can’t take. And do it at least one day a week.
Hey Kate- your words totally hit spot on with me- thank you!! Being so active in the fitness industry as we are makes it hard to listen to our bodies (and yes, it is much easier to give advice than take it), but thinking of rest days as part of a training plan is a great idea!! I realize I need rest to build muscle, but I, too, am addicted to the high of working out. I feel exactly the same during rest days! I love the “Make it Count” when it comes to a rest day… I don’t want to rest to just lay around on the couch, I want to rest when my schedule doesn’t allow for a workout and rest would give me time for something else. Thanks for sharing such great tips!
Hi Nick, I THINK you took a rest day on Friday(or did you sneak something in while I was at school??) I loved our workout on Sunday–having you break trail for me with your snowshoes was so much fun!! Enjoying the snow/sun is the best possible exercise option for living in rural Maine. So glad to have you home this weekend! Mom
I did rest on Friday 🙂 Promise! Show shoeing with you was so fun!!!