Producing and maintaining results with your fitness activities is as simple as working harder and longer, right?…Wrong!
The mistake of doing too much activity with very little or the wrong amounts of rest is as ancient as the Pyramids in Egypt! Do yourself a favor and schedule rest time just as you would your training sessions. Rest periods give your body a chance to truly recover from and adapt to the activities that you perform. Strategically resting your body by taking days off and ensuring ample hours of sleep per night is a great way to keep your body on the fast track to higher levels of conditioning rather than overtraining. Overtraining is when you are training so hard without ample rest periods that your results start to deteriorate. Signs of overtraining are when you start to consistently feel lethargic & tired despite how well you are eating and training. Obviously, we all feel tired and lethargic from time to time but when it becomes a common occurence, you might want to consider getting more rest and sleep.
Obviously, the better shape you are in, your concept of rest is a little different from someone who rarely exercises. Rest, doesn’t mean you sit on the couch and replace all the calories you burned during the week with a spoon in one hand and a bucket of ice cream in the other but rather a good day of rest and healthy foods to help you replenish and recover. Use “active” forms of rest such as a stretch session at home, get a massage, take a basic yoga class, take a simple recovery walk or jog without timing it, racing anybody or worrying about split times, heart rate or anything else! Upon returning home, sit back, relax, drink a quality protein shake or maybe a healthy meal that will re-energize and replenish your body’s many systems that work so hard to help you perform your activities of choice. It’s not rocket science, so don’t make things harder than they have to be. Take the time to ensure that you have some rest time during the week and on the weekend so that you can continue to progress.
Is there anything wrong with training hard, with intensity and with discipline? Absolutely not. However, think of your rest periods as just another tool to help you get that much closer to all of your goals.