10,000 steps, getting to the gym, making sure to close the fitness ring on our Fitbit or Apple Watch...all things that some of us thrive for on a daily basis. While logging / hitting all these goals are important to your results, there seems to be one big component most seem to struggle with. REST DAYS... I know I said it.
When you #workout intensely you are adding #stress (inflammation) to the body and while you might think always working out is doing you good, it actually can be holding you back. The more inflammation on the body, the weaker the immune system, the higher the chances of getting sick. The other downfall is that more stress on the body = higher chances of injury.
How do you know though when you truly need a rest day? Personally I think everyone should have them programmed into their routine every 3-4 days. However, if you're trying to go off signs from your body here's a good list:
Tired / fatigued
Recovery is lacking
Weight that normally feels "easy" now feels 1000x heavier
Sleep is lacking
Mood is off
Weight is spiking
Heart rate is elevated
Workouts seem stalled
Sick more often
Now before you start complaining about how much you "hate" rest days, let me first point out that your rest day doesn't mean you have to sit on your couch and do nothing. (Unless of course you feel the need to!) Your rest day should be an active recovery, meaning something that isn't aimed for the goal of a caloric burn, sweat, or super taxing on the body.
Examples: Going for a walk, yoga, a bike ride, etc.
The idea though is that rest / recovery is when the muscles are going to repair themselves... so let them do their job! Eat your normal caloric intake, stay hydrated, and use that 1-2 hours you would be spending at the gym to do something you like to do!
My favorite rest day solutions:
Walking my dog
Catching up on a netflix show
Writing on my computer
Catching up with friends
Taking a nap (no shame here)
Reading a good book
Spending time with family
My last tip for making your rest days a success would be structure them when you know you're the busiest. For me, Wednesday is absolutely my most chaotic day during the week. Rather than add extra stress on trying to rush to the gym, I purposely use that as a rest day. Smarter not harder guys!
I know rest days can be mentally a struggle at first, regardless of your fitness level. If you're just starting there's such a euphoric high that taking a day off can make you feel like you're going backwards. If you've been lifting like I have, taking a day off can make you feel "lost". Honestly, I used to be the same way with loathing rest days! It was so hard for me to not lift... now I absolutely love them. Not only has my lifting gotten better, my overall mindset / mentality has improved too.
Let me know what your favorite thing to do on a rest day is!