Sunday. Sunday is the day I always look at as the most appreciated. I’m going to be honest its not my favorite day of the week, my cheat meal day wins that prize. However, Sunday is the day I look forward to as a day to rest and recharge. On this day I try to stay away from the gym.
Personally, I cherish my off days. My body is so tight, so achy, and so temperamental in its ability to perform that I can honestly feel my muscle tension drifting away from my body as the day goes on.
The importance of this day is often under appreciated by many people in the fitness community. Something I think we all share is a deep rooted love for fitness. We all love the way we feel and look. I hear so often that working out is a version of therapy.
I love hearing those comments. It is way too easy for some to view exercise in a negative light. Those fit freaks who’ve essentially turned that corner and changed their mindset have made the kind of transition, as a trainer, that I will forever be overjoyed to witness.
The problem with reaching the milestone of a new mindset is that people often adopt the “no days off” mindset. I think people misinterpret this to mean that they need to go hard in the gym 7 days a week. The term “ no days off” is misleading.
I never think of my Sunday entirely as an off day. Rest days are an integral part of any training regime. It should be worked into any fitness plan the same as cardio, lifting and nutrition. Each element is different but all are of equal importance. It’s important to recognize this if you want to continue to crush your goals. You need to rest and recharge your mind and body.
I’ve seen it a million times. Those gym goers that go too hard too quick. They burnt out, they stop coming, they become miserable slaves to their idea of what they are “supposed” to be doing to get fit and most of the time i never see them again.
There are consequences to the hardcore anti resters’s that do stick it out for the long haul. In an article by GETHEALTHYU.COM (https://gethealthyu.com/physical-effects-over-training/) six things that can potentially result from skipping your rest day are highlighted. If you identify with any of these things, please recognize they are signs it’s time to take a break, to rest and recharge yourself. Save yourself before the situation gets out of hand and you are forced to stay out of the gym.
What can be affected from skipping rest days-
- Your mood – overtraining can cause major dips in your energy level, constant soreness and as a result you’ll undoubtedly be in a highly stressful state. In short, you’re going to be irritable af.
- You risk injury- Beating your body up daily will cause some sever damage to the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. Name any body tissue and I assure you its at risk. The tissues of the body will be inflamed, weakened and ultimately easily susceptible to injury.
- Your hormones are screwed- Even though you may view your daily exercise as therapeutic, your body does not. Physical stress put on the body elicits a similar reaction from the endocrine system that emotional/mental stress does. Expect a raise in cortisol levels. The infamous hormone cortisol, the same one synonymous with water retention and weight gain. This is the very thing you’re fighting against. Try instead working smarter not harder and enjoying a day of rest.
- Insomnia ensues- An over stressed body is a restless body. Certain hormones the body uses to repair the muscles are optimally produced once your body reaches its REM cycle. No REM, no repair.
- A weakened immune system- All of the stress you’re putting on your body combined with your now crazy hormonal shift will inevitably cause your immune system to virtually shut down. Given that gyms are known to have as many germs as public rest rooms this doesn’t seem like a very wise thing to do.
- Decrease in performance- If you’re hitting the gym hard I’m willing to bet that you’re also measuring your progress. This can mean that you’re trying to lift heavier, run longer, or see the scale weight plummet. None of these things are possible without proper rest. Your body is a very intelligent machine and it will not work without a charged battery. It will fight you and it will win. I’m so certain of this I’d be willing to put money on it.
Here Is What I Do
Great! So hopefully now you decide to set aside a day for yourself. I bet you’re wondering what you should do with all of your free time. I’m glad you asked. Let me just go ahead and tell you how I spend my glorious day of rest.
To start, I like to keep a schedule. Even on my rest days or off days I wake up at the same time as my workout days. This keeps my eating timed properly so I’m less likely to bounce off of my meal plan.
I may not stay up. It’s not uncommon for me to watch a little reality tv and slip into my first nap of the day.
My favorite thing to do post nap, besides eating meal two, is heading over to the golf range. I’ll spend about a hour at the range hitting balls. Its so fun, gets me out of the house and counts as active rest so that I don’t feel like a total slug.
Here’s where things get super fun. I spend the rest of the day in bed only getting out to eat my meals. This is the best. I spend the day in a cloud like, cozy, warm place snuggling my two beautiful pups. I don’t particularly sleep well during the week so this is how I rest and recharge. I’ll spend the day slipping in and out of sleep.
I used to be one of those people who hated rest days. I missed the gym. I still miss the gym sometimes. There are times I find myself completely unable to resist the urge to head there. I will take the drive but, I’ll simply go to stretch and practice my posing. I stop myself from going any further.
I know everyone dreads Monday’s but i never do. I always start the week supercharged and ready for anything it may bring. I start my week on a positive note because I took the time to rest and recharge.