You know that exciting burst of inspiration you get when you’ve been working out for a couple of weeks and finally see results? You feel so pumped and ready to keep pushing forward that you forget to take a breather. Then suddenly, you’re so sore that you can’t even sit up in bed.
When we first start working out, we typically get so caught up in the great results that we want to keep working out day, after day, after day with no rest.
Like most things in life, too much of a good thing can be damaging. Like when you eat a lot of chocolate in one sitting and end up feeling like you’re going to hurl.
Exercising consistently is great, and extremely important to your overall health. Some of the many benefits of working out includes raising your endorphins, boosting your energy, reducing your risk of heart disease, increased strength, and improved self-confidence.
With all these amazing benefits, it seems crazy to not want to go hard in the gym every day, right?
While regular exercise will keep your body in tip top shape, it’s also important to remember that your muscles need time to recuperate after intense workouts.
Here’s some reasons why you should take rest days between stretches of workout days to maximize the results of your fitness journey:
Exercise Stresses The Body
You’re probably asking your screen right about now “wait, I thought exercise was supposed to relieve stress?”
Well, this is a different kind of stress. Intense exercise breaks down muscle fibers and causes your body to feel sore.
By giving yourself rest days, you allow your body to stitch itself back together, so to speak. Imagine there’s little tiny workers in your muscles who are doing some maintenance to strengthen and repair those damaged fibers.
In fact, when your muscles rebuild, the new tissue is even stronger and more powerful than the tissue before. Plus, the whole process makes your muscles longer, which also adds to your strength and flexibility.
So remember: in the end, your muscles will be stronger and more resilient than they were before. Our bodies are like superheroes, if you think about it!
Prevent Muscle Strain
As we’ve discussed, that soreness you feel the day after a tough workout is your body fighting to strengthen and grow your muscles. You’re already in a pretty vulnerable state, so adding even more tension to your body could lead to pulling a muscle, which is even less fun.
A “pulled muscle” is actually another way of describing a strain, and this strain happens when muscle fibers are torn. The more fibers you tear, the worse the strain will be. So if you jump right back into another high intensity workout back to back, you risk further strain and could eventually end up with a muscle rupture. Not good.
If you seriously strain your muscles, you’re not going to be working out for a few days, so your best bet is to take the safe route and just give yourself a break between extreme workouts.
Rest Days Help You Lose Weight
That’s right, you read that correctly. Taking a break between workouts can actually help you lose weight.
It’s during these rest days when our bodies are repairing the breakdown of muscle tissue, making our muscles tighter and stronger.
If you do too much intense exercise without rest, the stress hormone cortisol increases, and your body begins to hold onto extra fat rather than burn it off. Think of this fat as the house guest who can’t take the hint that it’s time to leave!
Now, rest days don’t mean you don’t have to do anything. If you’re worried about falling off the wagon from missing a couple days of exercise, then consider doing recreational exercise like walking the dog.
Don’t worry, light exercise on your “days off” won’t slow down your recovery process. In fact, keeping your muscles in motion is actually the best way to soothe soreness (unlike sitting on the couch, which makes the soreness stick around longer).
Protein Aids in Recovery
Say it with us now: Protein, Protein, Protein!
Protein rich foods are an important dietary staple in general, but in terms of a speedy recovery, they’re your best friend.
When it comes to building muscle tissue and cells, protein has your back. Give your rest days a little extra of the good stuff to get you feeling strong and ready for another intense workout!
Some examples of protein rich foods are eggs, yogurt, fish, milk, chicken, nuts, beans, oatmeal, etc. With a little research, you can find a wide range of protein rich foods that best fit your dietary needs.
Restore Your Immune System
Exercise, in the right amount, is great for building up your immune system. Too much, however, can cause your immune system to weaken, and leave you more susceptible to illness. And you can’t workout while you’re sneezing up a storm, can you?
So how can you keep your immune system running smoothly while getting your workouts in? Train in shorter time increments and eat a well balanced diet.
It’s a common misconception that the only way to get a great workout is to train for hours each day. That’s simply not the case; in fact, Fit Body Boot Camp specializes in this area.
FBBC’s Afterburn workouts are designed to give you a full body, muscle training session in only 30 minutes.
The combination of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) with Active Rest Training gets your body burning more fat than you would in say, two hours of exercising.
Because you’re getting such a powerful workout in one session, you can space out your training to 3 or 4 times a week if you’d like. And with personalization being key, you’ll get the workout that will best achieve your goals.
As you can see, an amazing workout can be achieved in a shorter amount of time—which gives you even more recovery time so you can get right back into it!
Plus, our workouts come with the “Afterburn Effect,” which keeps your body burning extra fat for up to 32 hours after the fact.
So really, even while you’re resting, you’re still losing weight and making progress toward your goals.
We want to see you achieve your fitness goals, and we want to make sure you’re doing so safely. Don’t burn yourself out trying to get to the finish line, half the fun is the whole journey!
So listen to your body when it’s telling you to slow down. Your hardwork and determination will get you exactly where you want to be. Remember, health and fitness is a lifestyle!