rest days 1

Today I decided to spend a little time talking about rest and recovery. I have received a few emails lately from people asking me how often they should rest from their workouts. My answer to that is always, “it depends.” It depends on how intense you workout, what type of exercise you are doing, etc. Most of the time I tell my clients to take either 1 day off and just relax and recover or make that 1 day an active rest day. Active rest is doing something light such as walking, yoga or stretching that will make you feel good but not overly stress your body. 

Rest days are very important in order for your muscles to repair and recover. This allows you to get back  in the gym on Monday and destroy your workouts all week long 😉 It also helps to give you a break mentally and allow you to find balance with your workouts and the rest of your life. 

If you do not allow yourself to recover, eventually your body will become over trained. But how do you know if you are at that point? Some of the signs and symptoms are: no longer look forward to your workouts, constant muscle soreness, insomnia, depression, irritability, decreased appetite, increased injuries, etc. If you are experiencing several of these you could very well be over trained. So many people have long hit this point, but still continue to push through, myself included! 

I just finished a week off from weight lifting because I was feeling many of the symptoms above. I think it is harder to force myself to take a break than it is to push through the workout, but as a professional I know better and gave my body what it needed! In the end I came back this week stronger both mentally and physically!

Some great ways to recover, whether it be 1 day off or a week are: lots of rest/sleep, massage, getting in proper nutrition (calories), using hot and cold therapies such as ice bath and heating pads for sore or injured areas, meditation and yoga. 

The overall conclusion is to make sure that you are giving yourself the proper rest, nutrition and hydration that you need in order to keep your body fueled and energized. We are each different people, with different bodies, thus making our need for rest and recovery different. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY… will never steer you wrong! 


*How many days a week do you spend resting/recovering?

*Have you ever felt any of the symptoms above?

*Have you ever reached the over trained phase? How did you recover?

  • i love that you said you can take a week off! i do that! so needed
    June 4, 2014
  • Sharon
    Perfect timing. I really needed to read this today. Sometimes I'm too hard on myself. I need to lighten up and remember life's a journey not a destination. The treadmill, weights, bike, whatever will be there tomorrow or next week. Thanks for sharing.
    June 4, 2014
  • I have been thinking a lot about this recently. I had gotten into the habit of counting days off of structured workouts, but still doing something more strenuous. I am getting back to practicing what I know is right and making that 1 day a real of rest.
    June 4, 2014
  • Kathy
    Love this article Sarah! I do workout 6 days a week, and on my day off I have to do something, which is usually Yoga. Saturday I will add a 3-5 mile run along with my structured workout. I just started adding back In my runs (use to do competitive 5K runs) doing mostly trail runs. I have experienced some of the symptoms you talked about, and if did not have a structured workout layed out for me, I would find it hard to take a day off. I seem to have a addiction to working out! Im trying to make it a healthy addiction and following what is down for me to do keeps me from going too crazy. Sorry this was so long;) Kathy
    June 4, 2014
  • Nae
    That was really helpful, because that is me this week. I just can't get up for my gym training, i'm so tired at the moment. I haven't even done much because I have been feeling so yukky. I think my main problem (at least this week) is not enough sleep. I have a day off tomorrow from work so i'm going to relax, maybe some yoga. Cheers, Nae
    June 4, 2014
  • YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When I was young & kinda stupid,. I trained 6-7 days a week - as hard as I train, not a good thing! Now I take 2 full days off every week! Even with that, about 10 years ago, I would still do core or something on those rest days - now - NOTHING beyond just being out & about & enjoying - no workout scheduled thing. Best thing ever! I have not taken a full week off EXCEPT from getting the flu so that did feel good except the flu. :) We have to pay attention to the bod cures as you mentioned above - been there & done that - not good to get to that point!
    June 5, 2014

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