Ah, rest days… we know we need them, we’ve been told we need them, but for some reason they are so difficult. Many athletes are under the assumption that more is better. If they can train every day of the week, why not go for it? Well the truth is that we don’t see improvements through training alone. We see the real gains made through recovering from training. If you have been training consistently, you should be sure to schedule and take advantage of your days outside the gym. If we don’t take adequate rest, our body ends up breaking down. Here are some tips to learning to embrace rest days:
- 3 days on, 1 day off. After 3 straight days of training, most athletes will need that day of rest in order to allow the muscle tissue to grow and the body to recover from the training. Setting a schedule like so will allow you to reap the maximal reward from your efforts while also keeping you from burning out mentally!
- Plan rest day activities. Do something you enjoy on your rest days. Take your dog for a longer walk, spend time with your family, get a manicure, or go shopping. Whatever it is, make sure it is something that allows you to take both a mental and physical break from the gym!
- Get some body maintenance. Your rest days can also become body maintenance days. Go for a massage, see your chiropractor, or just stretch and mobilize at home. You should feel reutilized and ready to go after taking a day to reset your body and mind.
- Sleep in. Use your rest day as a programmed day to get more sleep. For some it may be sleeping in later, but for others it might mean just getting to sleep a little earlier. Use your rest days wisely so you are prepared to crush the next day’s training!