Trainer Tip: Rest Days

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By Samantha Bland MS, ACSM-CPT

When is it a good idea to take a rest day? It’s so easy to get caught up in your strength and cardio goals that sometimes we miss one of the most important parts of our training… rest.

Rest is the key to building muscle. Sounds funny, right? When we are working out, we are essentially breaking down our muscle and creating micro-tears in the fibers. In order for our muscles to grow and repair, you need to rest! If you continue to damage those muscles and never let them fully recovery, you will not see your progress reach full potential.

Some rules or questions to ask yourself when determining whether or not you should take a rest day:

1. Are my muscles so sore that my range of motion is impaired?

2. Am I so sore that it is painful to do normal every day activities?

3. Am I feeling burnt out, or overly exhausted?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time to rest! A rest day can be like a refresh button. You will come out stronger the next day back working out.


Remember:

  • Listen to your body. One day off will not put you behind in your training schedule.

  • Over-training can lead to injury.

  • Make it an active rest day- stretch, take yin yoga, and maybe do light aerobic exercise to loosen up.

  • Ice your muscles. Cold therapy can help reduce inflammation and lead to a faster recovery.

  • Try push or pull based work outs that work different muscles groups and will allow you to strength train back to back days.

It is not necessarily a bad thing to work out when you are sore, but it is important to realize when you might be doing more damage than good and that a rest day might be the next step in you reaching your goals!