“I really regret that workout.”
You’ve probably read the above quote, followed by the words, “Said no one ever.” I left out those words on purpose. Because, let’s be real, I think most of us have had a workout that sucked so bad we wish it wouldn’t have happened. Whether it reminded me how tired and burned out I really was or it was so bad it even ruined the next day’s workout, there are plenty of workouts I’ve regretted.
A terrible workout can be rooted in many reasons. You had a bad day at work. You didn’t get good sleep the night – or several nights – before. Your mind is focused on a major issue with your partner or child. Or, one of the biggest and what I often find, a bad workout is a plea for a rest day.
Rest is crucial to every athlete’s workout regimen, whether the casual gym-goer or the hardcore professional. There’s now even a #restdaybrags phenomenon, with people sharing their rest day on social media instead of bragging about their workout.
National Relaxation Day is this week so it’s a great time for a reminder of why a rest day every week is important.
Your Body Needs It
You know how you’re not supposed to lift the same muscle groups two days in a row? It’s because those muscles need to rest in order to recover and grow.
The same is true for the rest of your body; you’re doing more harm than good by pushing it every day without allowing adequate time to recover.
Your Mind Needs It
Workout burnout is a real thing. Even the most enthusiastic gym rat can fall into a rut with a day-in, day-out, over and over again workout mentality. Like other muscles in your body, your brain deserves a day off from counting reps, calculating splits, or thinking about what’s next in the circuit.
An added bonus, knowing a rest day is coming can help you keep pushing in the days leading up to it.
Your Tomorrow Self Needs It
I don’t know about you but after one day off from running or the gym, I’m eager to get back at it. There’s something about taking a day away that allows the recharge needed to come back strong and with energy. Especially if you’re one who dwells on a bad workout and it gets in the way of the next day’s, the rest day really proves its worth, not the day you take it, the next day.
Take too long to give yourself that opportunity to step away from workout-mode, and you might find the next day at the gym is harder. The day after that, even worse. It’s a pattern that can lead to major burnout and forgoing workouts for a timeframe TBD – a pattern none of us want to fall into.
Do you take a rest day every week? Is it planned or do you listen to your body and use that as the guide for when it’s time to take a day off? Comment or tweet me, @LindsayIRL. Share your rest day pics on Twitter and Instagram too, and be sure to use hashtag #wellirl along with #restdaybrags.