Everyone deserves a day off from the gym. Often professional athletes are mandated by coaches to take time to recuperate. Think about it, no sport is 365 and 24/7. Off-season breaks are common to virtually every sporting activity. Rest days are 100% essential. Recovery must be part of your training regime if you are going to achieve your fitness goals.
Overtraining is counterproductive and eventually leads to injury. An injury will sideline you and could become a self-inflicted nagging problem. Motivation is a personal fitness essential but you must acknowledge the limits of the human body, specifically your own. Pay attention when your body is telling you to rest.
Age can be just a number if you have a life-long passion for personal fitness. However, if you started working out later in life or have taken a prolonged break from the gym it can be difficult to get in the swing of a gym routine. Set realistic goals and make sure you enjoy your training. Exercise is for everyone regardless of age.
Obviously, as we get older we lose some of the vigour of our youth, pace yourself. As a rule of thumb, it takes between 48-96 hours post workout to completely recover. The older you are the longer you should allow your body to rest after training.
Seasoned gym members understand progress is made incrementally. Working out takes time to deliver results. Building muscle is all about tearing the muscle fibres and as they recover increased muscle mass is encouraged. This is impossible without rest.
You need to devise a custom training program tailored to your body and your objectives. The best way to create and implement an effective workout routine is to get advice from an experienced qualified personal trainer.
Trainers will definitely recommend rest days as well as explaining how to correctly perform the workout. You can also pick up tips and learn new exercise movements from colleagues at the gym too.
Although, sometimes veteran gym goers can get stuck in a routine and stop seeing gains. Don’t be afraid to mix it up and vary your routine every 6-8 weeks. Just make sure you schedule time to rest no matter the program.
High-intensity workouts like Crossfit training or Circuit training involve high repetitions of multiple different exercises with little to no break period. Hardcore training can wear on the joints so you must perform the exercises with the proper form and take a day off to rest afterwards.
3-5 high-intensity workouts per week are far more beneficial than 7 subpar workouts. High octane training requires a whole lot of energy to fuel the workout. You cannot give 100% if you are feeling drained and have yet to recover from the previous day’s session.
Similarly, weight training or doing cardio exercises everyday is also overtraining and usually leads to an injury. Bones, connective tissues, muscles and nerves all take time to repair and wear out without a rest.
Generally, 7 hours of sleep minimum is required to perform a workout at 100%. In fact, optimal performance at most activities is contingent on a good night’s sleep. General Petraeus only slept for 5 hours a night when he was in Command during the Iraq War and look how that turned out.
Furthermore, REM sleep actually increases the body’s production of growth hormone. Quality sleep is the key. A firm mattress and a comfortable pillow are important. Spending half the night tossing and turning is not resting and you will wake up feeling exhausted. Gadgets like Smartphone’s and laptops are sleep disruptors don’t take them into the bedroom.
Take a tip from the original self-help guru Dale Carnegie and tell yourself “It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it”. Working out can be difficult to fit into a hectic schedule.
Remember the healthy worker is the happy worker. Set aside some time to train without burning the candle at both ends or skipping lunch. Gordon Gecko is a fictional character.
Consider every rest day as the reward you give yourself for the hard work your putting in at the gym. You may well be tired and can catch up on sleep with an early night on rest days. If you’re still brimming with energy on a rest day try some low impact exercise. Maybe go for a walk, do some yoga, or if possible go swimming. This is your time to recharge the batteries so you can be at your very best for the next training session.