Top 5 Reasons Why You Need Rest Days
Being on a mission to achieve your fitness goals can make it very tempting to ignore your body’s needs as you’ve developed the mentality that it’s gym or bust. Having this type of motivation can be both a blessing and a curse.
Why, you ask?
Well, when the only thing you have on your mind is the gym – you tend to believe that it’s a necessity to go to the gym 7 days a week. By doing so, you feel like you should skip rest days because you want to gain that extra edge and not feel so guilty about missing out on your workout.
After all, isn’t it a good thing to work out every day and not spend time on the couch watching Netflix? Not really. In fact, not taking advantage of rest days can severely hinder progress and could potentially lead to added injury risk.
The problem is that there’s generally a dark cloud that hovers over rest days. You feel like you’re not making any progress by taking the day off or there’s a sense of guilt by not going to the gym. Pushing these feelings aside, rest days are actually a great thing – both mentally and physically.
While it might be a strange concept to grasp at first, there really is a strong need to just kick back and relax. But what exactly do the benefits of taking rest days entail and why should they be considered important?
Let’s look at the top 5 reasons you need to start taking rest days.
Rest Days Help with Muscle Recovery
The biggest need for utilizing some good ole, R&R, is for the simple fact that it helps improve your body’s ability to recover after a long week of intense workouts. Pushing your body into overdrive in the gym is great. Still, if you’re constantly tearing down muscle fibers and not allowing enough time for recovery before training them again, you’re going to do more damage or potentially stall out or become injured.
Constantly pushing your body to its limit can cause much stress and tension. Throwing in a rest day or two allows your body to focus on repairing itself which leads to greater muscle growth.
Most importantly, rest days are used to help reduce the risk of more common/severe injuries that can come along with high-intensity training. Injuring yourself will become a huge setback and can further push you back from obtaining your goals. This is a big issue as it’ll take more time and effort to heal and by then, you’re starting from ground zero again in the gym.
Order that pizza, watch that show you’ve had in your queue for months – chill the hell out and relax a little – you deserve it and so does your body!
They Help You Mentally
Being high-strung and always feeling like you can’t go out and do something or you can’t eat a certain food is a mental hurdle when you’re really focused on bettering yourself. But does it really need to be an everyday thing? No, absolutely not.
Your mental health needs to be treated with high importance as well. By ignoring it, you can potentially start to get off track as your overall motivation or desire to even go to the gym decreases. The added stress of feeling like you always need to go work out or stick to your diet can be overwhelming and suffocating if you’re not careful.
Letting yourself take the day off can improve your outlook and help get you focused on the next week ahead. It shouldn’t be a struggle to drag yourself to the gym, you should be excited and ready to crush your next workout.
While it’s a great way to reset your mind, it also gives you the time to go enjoy the things you want to do. Everyone is human, it’s okay to make time for other things outside of the gym – if you put in the work and are making progress – then a mental rest is very much beneficial.
Improved Sleep Patterns
There is nothing better than waking up in the morning with an empty schedule and the ability to lay in bed all day and just catch up on some sleep. Many of us live hectic lifestyles; always on the go, working, or constantly having to run from place to place.
Making time for the gym with a lot on your plate is difficult to manage in most instances. Working out daily also throws a wrench in hormonal balances with increased cortisol and adrenaline being the main culprits that can cause sleepless nights of tossing and turning.
Fatigue and exhaustion can become major issues when it comes to your daily schedule and can throw off your workouts entirely by causing a lack of concentration and energy you need to accomplish a solid training session.
Taking a rest day is helpful as it promotes balance with hormones which allow sleep patterns to return to normal.
Sleep is key for many reasons. It’s important for muscle recovery and lean muscle growth. Without it, your body is lacking the sufficient recovery time it needs during deep REM sleep where your body is most relaxed.
Rest Days Help Progression
A common issue seen with some individuals is that they tend to hit a certain spot within their progression where it feels like they are no longer making progress or starting to plateau entirely. This can be the ultimate spark of frustration for most people as they feel like they’re doing everything they can to push themselves to the limit.
That’s just the problem.
If you’ve found yourself in a dilemma where nothing you’re doing seems to be working or you’re simply not making any ground with your progression goals – odds are, you just need to take a day or two off. Yes, that’s really all that’s needed…
This is the body’s way of telling you to take a break because it desperately needs one. Constantly pushing yourself day in and day out will only get you so far; if you’re not allowing for recovery time, then you won’t be able to make any progress.
Take a day or even a couple of days off. Let your body reset itself and you’ll walk into the gym like a whole new person with increased strength you didn’t know you had and just a refreshed state of mind after allowing yourself some time away from the gym.
The added recovery time will help you push past those plateaus and can kickstart your goals once more.
They Help Prevent Overtraining
There is such a thing as working out ‘too’ much. The term, overtraining, is commonly used within the fitness community that’s described as a syndrome in which your body becomes overly stressed due to the amount of training without much rest.
On some occasions, overtraining can be deadly. Putting your body through rigorous training and not allowing yourself a break can lead to potential medical issues if not properly taken care of. Rhabdomyolysis (rhabdo) is a medical condition caused by overtraining in which the muscle tissue starts to release a protein into the bloodstream which causes extreme fatigue and exhaustion as well as kidney damage or total renal failure if not properly treated.
If you’ve ever thought that working out too much couldn’t kill you, well, you’re wrong. It’s critical to allow yourself proper recovery time to avoid instances of overtraining. If you’re developing similar symptoms, it’s time to put the weights down and hop into bed for some much-needed time off.
The Take Home
Rest days shouldn’t be frowned upon or avoided when the opportunity arises. Taking time off is essential to the building blocks of everyone’s fitness and health journey because of the benefits surrounding them.
Just as motivated as you may be to go to the gym each day, you should also be just as hyped to stay away from the gym sometimes. Just like with all wounds, your body needs to heal and recover – use the same ideology when it comes down to working out.
If you’re finding it difficult to truly take advantage of rest days with sleep or you really just need to break the stress a little bit – add in supplements that support hormonal regulation like Cort-Eaze to help reduce cortisol imbalance or try taking a natural sleep aid that supports stress relief with Relax Liposomal.
You’ll go much further by giving both your mind and body a much-needed break.