All You Need To Know About Rest Day

Rest day. The word has many conflicting connotations for me. On one hand I love rest days. I have a little more time to do other things. But on the other hand I hate rest days. No matter how many times I tell myself rest days are good and important for training, I can’t seem to push past the idea that resting equals weakness. And during rest day’s my body has enough time to figure out just how tired and broken it is. So in my head I think  I can not rest because only the weak rest…well not exactly. In this video I am going to discuss why it is important to take a rest day and when to take it.

Why are rest days important?

Rest days are important because of three major reasons.
  • It allows your body to recover and rebuild.
    • Training or really any sort of consistent pushing towards a goal puts mental and physical stress on the person. Rest days help your body heal and work through the inflammation and strain that training has imposed on you. You need to rest in order to not build up too much inflammation and ultimately injuring yourself.
  • It allows you to enjoy the training and work you are doing.
    • There will be times that you feel like you can continue to work and train, but to stop and take a rest day will give you an opportunity to look at the training you’ve done and see that it was good. I think about our God. He created the world and then he stopped and rested. He enjoyed all that he created. Sure he could’ve kept creating but he decided to stop and enjoy what he had done. I think you will enjoy your fitness journey more if you build in time to rest and actually enjoy what you’ve accomplished.
  • It allows you to have margin.
    • Life is hard and sometime it doesn’t go the way we planned. Penciling a rest day in your week gives you margin to rearrange if you need to. If you have scheduled a workout everyday and for some cosmic reason you miss it, you are going to be more stressed than if you didn’t have margin. This stress could lead you to not do well in other workouts and then you are in a downward spiral.

How Should I View Rest Days?

This is a great question for me. I am sure my coach is interested in how I am going to answer this one. Because I remember telling her earlier this year that I hate rest days.  I do, because my body has enough time to clear out all of the endorphins and adrenaline that I hurt so much more on rest days than if I had consistently trained. This soreness and mental fatigue results in me “crashing” and unable to motivate myself to do anything. This lack of motivation makes me feel unaccomplished and like a weak competitor. So instead of crashing physically emotionally and spiritually, I would rather not take them. Well I have learned the hard way, you weren’t created to work that way. So I have personally had to change my perspective on rest days and this is what I’ve come up with…
Rest days are opportunities for me to enjoy the life the Lord and I have accomplished together, and it helps me realize my fragile human nature and desperate need for Jesus. So breathe, rest and know that God is God.

When Should I take a Rest Day?

So when should you take a rest day, everyone is different. I do a weekly rest day because my training is on a weekly schedule. So maybe start with that and see if it works. If you find that you are feeling exhausted with life take a day off but document it. See if there’s a pattern. If you crash twice a week. Then give yourself two rest days on the days hardest for you. Here are some signs you should take a un-planned rest day:
  1. Irritability
  2. Fatigued (not just tired)
  3. Elevated Heart Rate
  4. Reduced Cardio Performance
  5. Persistent Muscle Soreness
  6. If you can’t answer the question of why you are working towards this goal.

What Should I do on Rest Day?

Everyone is a little different, so this is an opportunity for you to explore what works best for you. The consistent factors of a good rest day are good sleep, nutrition and hydration. Other than that feel free to explore. Many people will stretch or do a form of active recovery whether that’s walking, hiking, or yoga. Some people might need more sleep so a nap is a good idea. I end up doing errands which is only marginally helpful… Maybe not do that. Try these things and record how you feel afterwards. Are you ready to take on the rest of the weak? How tired were you when you started your rest day? Answering these questions will help you find the best way to spend your rest day.
I hope this is helpful for you. Let’s work together to hold each other accountable in taking rest days and resting well. If you have any advice or insight in how to rest well write it in the comments.

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