So you started a fitness journey and you are all up in the fitness game. You have been pushing day in day out and have seen results. Then suddenly the changes stop coming or they take longer to come through. You are frustrated so you push harder to no avail.
- You start thinking this fitness stuff is not for you.
- It’s all a lie.
- Or maybe it’s time you consider those miracle shakes or something?
- Or maybe you’re a runner who can’t seem to go faster.
- Or you’re trying to gain muscle but it’s not working?
If you relate to any of the above it’s perfectly normal so don’t worry at all. There’s one thing that you’re likely not doing that could unlock this problem for you…. REST. Now before you run for the hills saying this person is mad (how can not working out improve your workouts?) I urge you to read the full article, try it and if it doesn’t work for you then you can feel free to brand me crazy.
As you exercise your muscles are tested and in many cases proven weak, so your body makes a memo to make those muscles stronger. It takes time out to rebuild the muscles and make them stronger for next time. So guess what happens if you don’t rest? The muscles never get stronger. And if they never get stronger you never get better at what you do.
Another important thing to consider is your performance. Now runners will talk about gait, strength trainers will talk about form. Whatever you call it, it’s important you perform your best during workouts to get the most out of them. That means having the full energy to do the work properly. Tried cutting something with a blunt knife? A lot of energy in and little results. So working out with tired muscles is much the same (go back to the introductory paragraph).
Rest Before You Are Tired
Now if you’ve ever tried running in intervals to improve your endurance you will know the next part very well. If you rest when you feel tired you’re already too late. The key is to rest before you’re fatigued; you recover much quicker and are able to go for longer. So as it is with the small things so it is with the big ones. Resting your muscles regularly boosts your fitness, it in fact injury proofs you. Allowing your body to fix your weak spots before they are exposed.
How Often Should You Rest?
It largely depends on what you are doing exactly how much you need rest. Here are few examples in my own experience and observation;
My strength workouts are murder, you have to scrape me off the floor with a spatula immediately after! I use a weight I can do 8 -12 reps with and increase the weight when I get to 12 reps by 4 sets. After working out a muscle group, I rest it for at least a day to 2 days.
Cardio workouts that are not to strenuous you can allow yourself up to 3 or consecutive days of activity and then one day of rest or 2 is fine.
Generally most runners are running as far as they can or as time allows. If your runs are challenging then 2 days on and a rest day is the perfect plan for you. More can be done and it’s fine to go 5 straight days and rest two… If your goal isn’t to run faster and better.
How To Rest
When you are on a rest day or period doing absolutely nothing is allowed but it’s not the best idea. The things you really should do on rest days are stretch and hydrate. Stretching helps with blood flow and loosening the rested muscles while hydration is always good. ALWAYS. Light walking or short runs are also good for active recovery. Swimming or running or walking in a swimming pool are really good too.
Rest is part of the plan, a VERY BIG part of the plan. Not something you do when you can’t go any further. So have a look at your plan, if rest is not in it, you need a new plan. Schedule some rest and see if it doesn’t bring the desired results.
God made the earth and he rested. God made the plants and he rested. God made animals and he rested. God made man and he rested. Then God made woman and since then no one has rested!
This 4 minute read by was penned down by Fitness Beard.