Along with exercise and diet, proper rest is one of the key aspects of fitness. If you’re like most gym goers, you want results and you want them fast. Howe ever, this doesn’t mean you should push yourself to extremes. Too much of anything can harm your progress and overall health. Overtraining may lead to elevated cortisol levels, muscle soreness, fatigue, joint pain, poor concentration, and low energy. Your muscles and joints need time to recover, and so does your brain.
Rest days are crucial to sports performance. When you’re sleeping, your body replenishes its energy stores and heals itself. It also repairs the damaged caused to your muscles and other tissues during exercise. Without adequate rest, you’ll feel tired and worn out, have trouble losing weight, and get sick for no obvious reason. Overtraining and poor sleep put a burden on your immune system, which increases your risk of diseases. These factors may also affect muscle growth and post-workout recovery.
Health experts recommend taking two or three days off the gym, per week per muscle group. The more intense your workout, the more rest you need. Supplements, massage, and stretching can speed up recovery, but you still need some time off. As a rule of thumb, never train the same muscle group more than once in 48 hours. It’s fine to train a lagging muscle twice a week as long as you take a few days between workouts.
When it comes to training, more isn’t always better. Your muscles grow and recover from exercise while you sleep. Adequate rest can boost your performance, lower your cortisol levels, and help maintain your speed, endurance, and agility. However, this doesn’t mean you should lay in bed on your off training days. Walking, light stretching, or even jogging are a good choice. Getting quality sleep is also a vital part of recovery. Aim for at least eight hours of sleep per night, especially if you’re training hard.
In this guide, we have covered the basics of good nutrition, training, and recovery. Whether your goal is to build muscle, get fit, or lose fat, commit yourself to an active lifestyle. Becoming physically fit will boost your confidence and improve all aspects of your life, including your career. What’s good for your body is good for your mind too.
Assess your lifestyle habits and make one change at a time. Be consistent and focus on your goals. Every minute you spend working out should be worthwhile. Eating clean and exercising is not selfish. By taking care of your health, you’re becoming a better mom, spouse, and friend. Be a role model for the people around you. Prioritize your health and set aside “me” time each day.