Rest days are not the same as cheat meals. The easiest way to lose momentum in your progress is to think that you should completely let loose on your rest day. You should not spend it vegging out on the couch all day, scarfing down a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food. Instead, associate your rest day as the time for your muscles to recover; it’s also a great chance to reflect on your weekly achievements. This practice is a vital component in proper training that even the most rigorous, dedicated athletes honor.
The Notorious Foam Roller and Lacrosse Ball
After a weeklong pow-wow session of intense training, of course, you will be feeling pretty damn sore. Rest days are great to break out those foam rollers, ladies! This is definitely something that should be done more than once a week. However, if you make a point of doing this dreaded act at least once a week, you can be sure you are completing a therapeutic practice for your body! Foam rollers and Lacrosse balls increase your mobility by massaging the connective tissue that surrounds the muscles in your body. If you are training hard, but not using either, you are putting your body at a higher risk for physical pain and potential injury. These tools are most effective when used pre and post-workout session.
Fuel Your Week
It’s always easy to make excuses not to find the time to meal prep, but by scheduling a rest day into your week, you are setting yourself up for a successful week! We all know “you can’t out-train a bad diet,” and that’s why it’s great to utilize your rest day as the time you meal prep for the week ahead. It’s pretty easy to become busy and start to habitually eat out. It’s convenient. Ladies, it’s not that we always want fast food, but sometimes our hectic lives get in the way.
Avoid Burning Out
Overtraining is a dangerous problem that many bodybuilders, lifters, and gym-goers alike have experienced at some point in their lives. When you do not allow your body to recuperate, you deny your body a sufficient interval of time to replenish your muscles, which may lead to lower levels of (GH) growth hormone that your body naturally produces, aiding in muscle growth. Overtraining goes beyond the physical; it is also detrimental to your mental health. Pushing your body past the point of exhaustion can have an opposite effect of what exercise is meant to do. It can result in restless sleep, difficulty sustaining proper nutrition, lack of motivation, and even stress or depression.
Catch Some Zzzz’s
Sleep is so important, and we never seem to get enough. Sleep deficiency can result in some serious consequences such as heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and more! Sleep also acts as a great neutralizer for the hormones parading around inside you. You know, like that voice that says you’re hungry! Yeah, sleep helps balance that out. Believe it or not, deep sleep boosts the growth hormone that will boost muscle mass and repair tissue. There’s no more convincing needed to keep you in bed an extra couple of hours. Rest days are perfect for sleeping in or even taking a much-needed nap.
Get In Some Playtime With Active Recovery
No, you don’t have to become a slave to the treadmill on your day off from the gym. Rest days are great for active recovery that is not part of your training regiment. Physical activities like hiking, swimming, yoga, or even just walking the dog are great examples of keeping your body active without overdoing it. They are also perfect excuses to socialize and catch up with friends. Having a strict fitness-oriented lifestyle can sometimes make it difficult to find time for friends and relax a little. By spending a couple of hours outdoors or with friends, you will find a new level of rejuvenation when you go back to the gym the next day.