The Rest Day

The alarm went off early for my planned cycle. As I got myself out of bed my body felt tired, not the normal just woken up tired, but drained despite a good 8 hours sleep. I was about to brush it aside and put on my Lycra when I realised it was my body telling me it was time for a rest day.

I like many just now are working from home every day and despite still working I find myself with more opportunities to exercise. I was allowing myself to get carried away, chasing MEP’s on MYZONE or miles on Strava. This combined with my focus on calorie deficit was taking its toll. I was neglecting a very vital component of a successful training plan – REST. So with this in mind today is now an unplanned rest day.

Why are rest days so important?

Whilst many are promoting the negative effect of long periods of inactivity during lockdown, it’s also worth highlighting that over training can also be a problem. Particularly if you have gone from very little exercise, to every day. Failing to recognise the signs of this often leads to injury or illness.

Your body actually requires sufficient rest periods in order to fully benefit from the exercise you are doing. During exercise, particularly high impact (HiiT) being pushed so heavily just now, the muscles suffer microscopic damage. This is completely normal and in fact is required in order for your muscles to adapt and become stronger. This adaptation occurs when you rest and refuel the muscle with a well-balanced high protein diet.

When is it time to rest?

Listen to your body for signs of over training. Fatigue, a drop in performance, trouble sleeping, increased muscle soreness are all signs you need more rest.

‘The Rest Day Challenge’

Rest days can be difficult to take especially when you are hitting all your targets but they are so important. Why not use the time you would have used exercising to develop yourself in other ways; listen to an audio book, do an online course, reach out to a friend or go for a walk; take in your surroundings and enjoy them – MAKE YOUR REST DAY COUNT!

Ewan Gray – Fitness Manager & Personal Trainer

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