With the eventual end of lockdown in sight and many people back at the gym already, everyone is dying to get back to normal and focused on getting back on track with their fitness goals.
Summer is on the horizon and with a lot of people unable to train properly before, they are now going on all out attack to prepare for their summer holidays. Whilst that is great and reaching your best condition and health is ideal, it can also pose risks to your body and hinder your results.
Training hard and often might seem like a great idea after so long of being unable to, but as always, what we’ve been doing a lot of already is also required to get great results; rest.
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?
By all means, train hard and train frequently but don’t train 6-7 days a week with the same intensity. Rest days are vital for not only achieving your fitness goals but they’re also vital for making sure you don’t ruin your body in the process. A rest day allows your body to consolidate the hard work you've been doing. Muscles recover, adapt and become stronger and your nervous system has a chance to regenerate. Rest days don’t have to mean “resting” and literally doing nothing. You can still go about your daily lifestyle and incorporate lighter activities such as gentle stretching, walking, restorative yoga, or foam rolling.
A good guideline can be to workout for 2 days in a row and then take a rest day on the 3rd day and then keep repeating the cycle. Alternatively, take a look at your workout plan for the week and put rest days in where you can. If you take 2 rest days in a row and another one later on in the week you’ll still be achieving the same desired results if you only had one. 4-5 training sessions per week seems to be the sweet spot for most people.
It’s also important to listen to how your body feels. If you’re back in the gym already or planning to start soon just ease into it for a few weeks and you should be back to full power after that. This will also reduce muscle soreness, risk of injury and allow you to hit the ground running and build yourself up at a quicker rate. So next time you feel guilty about taking a day or two off from the gym, just remember that it’s perfectly normal and all part of the plan.