I used to be one of those people that thought I needed to be in the gym 7 days a week in order to see results. Not only is this so not true, but it’s actually going to prevent you from reaching your goals faster!
Rest days are SO important for both physical and mental recovery. If you want to see your physique continue to improve over time, your body has to be able to repair and rebuild its muscles. How can you make that happen? By taking rest days!
To learn more about how putting stress on our bodies with high intensity exercise affects our ability to lose weight, listen to The Ask Abbey Podcast Episode #23 where I chat through this topic.
To see how I stretch post workout, check out this YouTube video:
I now take 2-3 rest days a week (usually 2, but depends on my schedule). I also have a “reset week” every 6-8 weeks where I decrease the weights, lower my sets/reps, and don’t do any high intensity interval training. This is an awesome way to give my muscles and joints a well deserved break.
BUT with all that being said, some of us tend to take advantage of rest days and turn them into “6 rest days in a row every 7th day” quickly (hi, I used to be the queen of this). There is just no way we can reach our fitness goals by doing this!
As cliche as it sounds, I find that my body usually lets me know when it’s time for a break. Here are the top 3 signs that it’s time for a rest day:
SIGN #1: You’re Incredibly Sore
If your muscles are so sore to the point where you can feel it just from standing up, sitting down, or reaching over to pick up your coffee, TAKE A DANG BREAK GIRL. Your muscles need time to recover. Working out when you’re crazy sore is just going to prevent that from happening.
I get it- when we have the energy to workout, it sucks to have to take a break because we’re too sore. But I always just remind myself that the workout wouldn’t be nearly as effective as it normally could be because I wouldn’t be able to push it as hard anyway!
SIGN #2: You Feel Heavy On Your Feet
If your body just feels heavy when you’re doing normal everyday movements, it’s time to cool it on the gym for the day. When I start to feel this way, it’s a dead giveaway that I’ve gone too long without having my reset week. That’s why I like to proactively work reset weeks into my calendar- so that I don’t get burn out!
I find that when I try to push through those days when I just feel super slow and lethargic, my workout is hardly considered a workout. I always wish I would’ve just listened to my body and taken a break!
SIGN #3: You Feel Overly Exhausted
Don’t get it twisted- I don’t mean those days when you just “don’t feel like it,” “had a long day at work,” or are “not really motivated”. Those are all just excused we tell ourselves to try to get out of a workout! Try to push yourself to get to the gym on those days.
What I’m talking about is when you feel wiped. It could be because you haven’t had a reset week in a while, or maybe you truly haven’t been getting enough sleep lately. Whatever the reason is, this is a sign to take it easy. If you are genuinely sleep deprived, take a break and prioritize sleep. A well rested workout is always more effective than an exhausted one. Get your sleep back on track, meditate, watch your favorite movie- do whatever you need to do to feel rejuvenated!
Your energy levels will be back to normal in no time, and you’ll be ready to crush it in the gym!
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