Guest Blog Post from Megan Elizabeth Clark- Certified personal trainer
When designing a workout schedule the emphasis is usually on the active days. You spend so much time thinking about how many reps and sets you plan on doing, or whether you’re doing sprints or long distance today, or when leg and ab day will be versus shoulders and arms. Rest and recovery are often overlooked as unimportant in the grand scheme of your workout goals.
However, scheduling time for rest and recovery is not only important but necessary for the success of your workout. It’s so easy to get excited about the progress we can make during our workouts that we sometimes forget that it’s actually our rest days where the muscle growth and repair occur.
Rest is especially important to factor in if you are new to an exercise program. This is because you will experience muscle soreness as your body adjusts to your new routine. If you aren’t giving your body the proper amount of time it needs to recover, you run the risk of injuring yourself and making it even harder to achieve your goals.
So what exactly is a rest day and what happens in the body to make it so important?
A rest day is not a built-in day to be lazy, it is a day focused on recovery. During a workout, you demand a lot from your body. Your muscle fibers are tearing as they grow, your body is increasing its oxygen consumption, heart rate, and blood flow, your glucose or energy stores decrease, and you increase pressure to your joints as you move.
All of these processes that your body is undergoing during a workout make you healthier and stronger. However, when someone continues to demand this amount of work from the body day in and day out, the muscles and body will eventually give out. This leads to exhaustion, overwork, or even injury.
When you actively build in time for rest and recovery your body will use that time to replenish glycogen stores, repair muscle tissue, and bring your bodily functions back to a normal state. This is the time when your body is literally growing and getting stronger and you can begin to see the gains and the progress that you are working towards.
Think of rest days like sleep, you might not be actively accomplishing your goals during that time but without it, you can’t accomplish anything. As anyone who’s pulled an all-nighter to finish a project knows, you pay for it the next day. If your muscles were not given adequate time to rest and recover, they will not perform to their full potential in your next workout. This not only diminishes the effectiveness of your training but could put you at risk of serious injury.
What should I be doing during a rest day?
The concept of a rest day is not news to anyone who’s spent any amount of time working out. However, the question of what to do during a rest day is a bit unclear. Should you be sleeping? Not moving? Doing a lighter workout?
To answer this question it’s important to differentiate between a rest day and an active recovery day. Depending on your workout routine, you might build both rest and active recovery days into your schedule. A rest day is exactly as the name suggests, it requires minimal activity and is a day focused on resting. An active recovery day involves some form of movement or activity that is lower intensity as a way to recover from a more active workout.
Some great activities to be doing during your active recovery days include:
- Going for a walk or hike
- Taking the bike for a ride around the block
- Going for a swim
- Taking a yoga class
The demand of these activities on your body isn’t super high so it allows you to recover while still maintaining a certain level of fitness.
During a rest day (and during your active recovery days as well), it’s important to spend time taking care of your body. Some ideas for how to do that include:
- Self-myofascial release
- Treating your sore muscles through the use of a CBD Sports Cream
- Elevating sore muscles
- Still finding ways to move throughout the day
Caring for your body when you aren’t working out will make your active days far more enjoyable and productive. That’s why I build in at least 2-3 rest and active recovery days into my own workout routine. I rely on my foam roller, 400mg THC Free CBD Sports Cream, and yoga practice to help me on my way to achieving my fitness goals.
About the Author:
Megan Elizabeth Clark
Megan is a NASM Certified Personal trainer, RYT-200 certified yoga instructor, and all-around fitness fanatic with a passion for elevating fitness and health brands through content marketing and copywriting. Megan helps businesses and entrepreneurs in the industry cut through the noise and provide accurate, authentic, and action-oriented content that drives sales and increases traffic. Connect with Megan to talk about fitness or content marketing anytime by emailing her at email@example.com or heading to www.meganelizabethclark.com.