Rest. Recover. Recharge.
With our busy schedules, it seems taking time to relax is something we like to think about, but rarely happens outside of vacations a couple times a year (or less these days.) In our workout life, rest is also something that can seem counter-productive, especially when we think working harder is the way we can get the best results.
For both of these areas, rest is a crucial part of our ability to stay healthy and continue to get healthier. Without it, we break down (mentally and physically) and are forced to rest at non-ideal times. This forced rest can come at a cost, too. We could injure ourselves, slowly beat down our immune system and succumb to sickness, or completely lose our mental edge and ability to think clearly, causing mistakes, lack of good judgement, or even decisions that could compromise our safety and the safety of others.
For a good fitness plan to be effective, rest is a massive part of the equation. However, it is often overlooked. We recommend a balanced approach to our client’s fitness. Our beginners start with Personal Training as part of our 6 Week Intro to Fitness and Nutrition Program, where they get very dedicated attention from a Coach. After that, they usually start with 3 workouts a week to allow them to recover between sessions.
From there, they may add in group classes and a regular weekly or monthly PT session or 2 to add up to 4 to 5 workouts a week. It depends on the fitness level of the client as well as their goals, but rest is a huge part of why what we do is so effective.
Overtraining drastically increases the potential for injury, and even without injury, significantly slows down progress. Of course, there are people who train multiple times a day etc, but even these higher level athletes must incorporate serious rest and focused recovery to support that kind of training volume. And, just because they are a higher level athlete does not spare them from the increased potential for injury that their higher volume and intensity workout schedule subjects them to.
CrossFit’s well documented workout rest ratio is 3-on, 1-off, or 5-on, 2-off. We agree with this recommendation as a great starting place for your training. Each person is different, and we recommend listening to your body and brain’s cues as you’re working to improve your health.
If you feel mentally beat up after a few days of training, it may be wise to take the day off, or back down on your intensity – go for a walk, swim, hike, take a leisurely bike ride, or something else active (we call this Active Recovery). Moving is great for all of us, but being careful to listen to your body is key to a long, productive life of fitness and overall wellness.
For the other portion of our lives outside of our workouts, taking time to rest is also incredibly beneficial.
Working every day of the week is not healthy. Taking a day or two off to relax, spend time with family, and not try to accomplish anything work related helps me recharge my mental and physical batteries. Family time, or time out with your friends simply enjoying their company and soaking up precious time enjoying relationships helps you de-stress, improves your attitude, and will help you recover and be prepared for the upcoming week.
Taking time off is a springboard to thinking clearer and getting stronger. Your bodily processes – hormones, muscle repair, among other things – use rest to get you ready to take on the next day and the tasks that come with it.
Take some time to think about your rest days. Are you truly resting? Are you really stepping away from work and letting your mind and body reset and recover? Do you need to add a rest day during the week (workout wise)?
Assess these areas and make some adjustments, you’ll reap the benefits and progress far faster. Rest is a good thing!