Rest Day Rundown
By Coach Chris
We got a great question from one of our members this week about rest days. She wanted to know:
“What should I do on a rest day? How do I find balance between pushing myself and recovering? Sometimes I feel guilty for missing a day at the gym!”
There’s a lot to unpack here!
Let’s start with the basics. A “rest day” in the traditional sense is a day off from working out. It’s meant to be a day to let your body recover and rebuild from training sessions earlier in the week. The goal is to set ourselves up to feel fresh and ready for training the following day.
Taking a rest day doesn’t have to mean laying on the couch all day doing nothing. In fact, we’ve found that many people actually recover faster and feel fresher when they incorporate some low-intensity movement into their days off from the gym. Good examples of this would be going for a walk, light jog, bike ride, swim, yoga, or doing some mobility & stretching. These activities are low impact, and also fairly mindless and repetitive which allows our minds to switch off and relax.
Our bodies are meant to move, every day. When you’re really sore from yesterday’s workout, moving your body through some gentle activity can really help!
About that Guilt…
The guilty feelings you’re experiencing when you take a day off are complicated and stem from different reasons for different people. However, generally speaking you don’t need to feel guilty for taking a day off from the gym! Even the most elite athletes have 1-2 days built into their schedule every week to let their minds and body recover. Pushing your body hard seven days a week every single week is a great way to burn out and get injured. Taking a day off from the gym is not weakness, it’s necessary for your success!
If guilt from taking a day off from the gym is getting you down, you can try being more planful about your rest day activities. If you know you’ll be taking Thursday and Sunday off from the gym this week, set aside some time on those days to go for a 30 minute walk, attend a restorative yoga class, get a massage, or something else that allows you to “check the box” for that day and feel accomplished, while also helping your body and mind relax. Know that rest & recovery are crucial for making gains, and enjoy some time outside the gym.
If we look at rest days as vital parts of our overall training program, and active recovery as a normal part of our rest days, we’ll be set up for success in the long run. We’ll feel better in the gym, keep our bodies happy, and have more focus on our workout days.
What’s your favorite rest day activity?