How many of you put as much thought into your days away from the gym as you do your actual training sessions? Do you make your rest days count? Regardless of whether train 4,5,6 times a week and whether these sessions consist of full body workouts or split routines, at some stage you and your body will require a break.
Taking a day off or two from the gym should never be seen as being lazy or cheating. In fact, in order for you to achieve maximal results and continue to progress in your chosen activity, rest and recuperation is simply imperative. Believe it or not, days off can actually provide greater benefits than your actual workouts. Not only do you avoid overtraining but your target muscles are given time to breathe, before heading back to the gym harder than ever. It really is no coincidence that some of your best workouts will follow a period of rest.
Rest days should not be used and abused and should definitely not be haphazardly thrown into a training week. After all, going on a 2 day weekend bender probably won’t give you and your body that revitalising feeling that you’re looking for! Make your rest days work for you. Ultimately, work and social life might dictate this to some extent, but where possible break up your training week with a mid point break, to ensure intense sessions all the way through.
If you successfully manage to implement the above then you’re already half way there. The next big decision is what to do on your rest days away from the gym. If you’re struggling for inspiration then fear not because here at FitnessBeans we’ve compiled a short list of potential ideas that will carry you forward and take your training to the next level on your return;
If you seem to spend your life either at work or at the gym then it’s nice to make time for loved one on a rare day off. Not only will this keep you in their good books for the foreseeable future, but undertaking fun activities like games or shopping will allow you to leave the gym behind momentarily and allow you to mentally and physically recharge those batteries.
Select an activity to undertake which will provide a degree of enjoyment and interest. The key here is to pick something relatively fun. This might even involve some physical endeavor, such as a game of golf, swimming or a walk in the countryside. Although still active, it takes you away from the gym, allowing you to return later with recharged enthusiasm.
Although best practice would suggest stretching as part of your gym session routines, sometimes getting in there and lifting weights is the only thing on your mind. If this is the case then why not utilize rest days to stretch out those muscles. Activities such as yoga and pilates are simply great for this and will have your muscles relaxed and raring to go again.
Saving the best until last! What better way to mentally and physically recover and recuperate than with a sports massage on your day off. Massage is a great tool for identifying and relieving regions within the muscle of hypersensitivity and soreness. Not allow this; your blood circulation is enhanced, ridding your body of any unwanted toxins. Perfect!
Whether you choose to spend your rest days with loved ones, undertake hobbies and/ or active recovery or simply book yourself in for a well deserved massage, the key take away message here is that rest is imperative. Without it you will simply over train and eventually burn yourself out so don’t allow it a happen, Take a break.