As far as working out is concerned, there are essentially two types of people. Those who can’t wait for their next workout, and those who can’t wait to be done with their next workout. Whether you’re the kind of person who lives for rest days, or if you try to avoid them at all costs because you’re a workout junkie, these tips are for you!
Rest days are important because they give our muscles time to repair. When you exercise, your muscles undergo tiny tears. This creates an opportunity for the body to rebuild your muscles stronger than they were before. However, if you work out too quickly, this does not happen. If you want to build strength, you have to take breaks and make sure that your body has the opportunity to rest, recover and rebuild.
Now when some of us hear “rest day” we think “cheat day.” Sadly, if you treat your rest days like cheat days, you’re likely to offset the good that you do on the days that you workout. Rest days are days that you are not working out, not days that you can forget about your body and your health. To stay healthy and move towards your goals, you still need to make sure that you don’t just let loose. Making the most of your rest days also takes some thought and intention. Here are our favorite tips on how to get the most from your time off from the grind.
1. Diet: a lot of people think that they can let go and just eat anything on rest days. Needless to say, this is not the case. If anything, it’s important to eat even more carefully on these days since you are not burning as many calories. Especially on rest days, it’s advisable to eat a lot more protein than carbs. Carbs are important for when you need the energy and are being active. On rest days however, your body is unlikely to burn through carbs and so you should watch your carb intake. Instead, double down on the proteins since they are the most effective in helping your body rebuild.
2. Myofascial release: foam rolling and massage are effective methods at helping release the fibers of your muscles and bringing extra blood flow to them. Both of these are crucial in improving the process of rebuilding and regeneration.
3. Sleep: we can’t say enough about the importance of getting enough (and consistent) sleep. When you sleep you truly give your body the chance to relax and do it’s magical work of rebuilding muscle. Maintaining a regular sleep pattern also helps you stay fresh and energized during the course of the day.
4. Walking: walking is a great way to burn some calories and get you outdoors without putting much strain on your muscles. It’s gentle with your body and that’s exactly what you want on a rest day.
5. Swimming: this is a great way of working out without creating too much pressure on your joints and muscles. The resistance offered by the water help reduce the effect that gravity plays on your body and allows for a great cardiovascular workout without damaging your tired muscles.
6. Yoga: you might have already noticed that we are huge fans of yoga. Not only is it good for stretching your muscles out so that they might have more space to rebuild, it also increases circulation, reduces stress and improves your breathing. All in all, it’s the perfect companion to a strength or cardio routine as it compliments both types of exercise. Dynamic stretching and mobility exercises are a great alternative to yoga.
So yeah, rest days can take some work too! One effective habit is to set aside the same amount of time for rest activities like foam rolling, massage, walking, stretching and yoga on the days that you are not working out.
Fitness isn’t easy, but at least it can be fun! That’s what keeps us motivated to continue building out Vivo so that you can find more enjoyment in becoming the best version of yourself.