Some people take far too many rest days, while others do not take nearly enough.
Have you ever found your self in a good routine: your workouts are tough and you are going to the gym every day? Then suddenly you sprain your ankle. Or you hit a plateau. Maybe you are falling asleep at work. You get angry and ask yourself, what am I doing wrong? Everything was going great and then it wasn’t.
Maybe you should have taken more rest days.
Rest days are important because your body needs to heal. If you are working hard every single day, your muscles will never get a chance to recover. Rest days are actually beneficial to your progress. If your muscles never get a chance to recover, they won’t grow. If you are too tired to give one hundred percent in your workout, it is not as going to give you the results you want. Doing five killer workouts are a week is better than barely finishing seven lazy ones.
How do you know it’s time for a rest day? Let’s talk about it…
You’ve stopped seeing progress
If you have hit a plateau, you may think you need to exercise more. Before you do that, try taking a day or too off. If you are overtraining, your muscles will never get a chance to heal and change. Take a day off and consider how you can switch-up your exercise routine once you’re back in the gym.
You hated every minute of your last workout
Distance makes the heart grow fonder. Take a couple days off and you might find that you actually miss your workouts.
Those annoying aches have turned into serious pain
It is one thing for you knees and ankles to feel achey, but when those aches turn into real pain it is time to take a break. It is possible that your muscles are being overworked and are causing this pain to worsen. Take a day to roll out and stretch your muscles. If you are still feeling pain after a day or two of recovery, go see a doctor.
You are constantly tired
If you’re exhausted and moody, it may be better to skip a workout that to push through. Being constantly tired is a symptom of being overworked. Your body will not do the things you want it to in these conditions. Exercise creates a rush of endorphins, which is great. But those endorphins are also accompanied by cortisol (a stress hormone). When those cortisol levels remain high, you will start to feel stressed and moody. Most of the time exercise is great for stress, but too much of a good thing is too much. Do yourself a favor and skip the gym for a day or two.
You’re always sore
Yes, sore muscles are completely normal after a strenuous workout. It is also common to feel a lot of soreness when beginning a new workout routine. But if you exercise regularly and find you are still sore every day, it is time to take a break. This is a sign of overtraining, which can lead to injuries or a plateau.