Your rest day checklist - don’t skip it!
Think being fit is all work and no rest? Think again!
Whatever your goal, rest days are crucial. Let’s break down why they’re too important to skip – and give you a checklist so you can kick back like a pro on your days off.
Why you need to rest
When you’ve just started a new fitness routine and you’re keen to see results, resting may seem like the opposite of what you want to do. But if you don’t, your strength gains may actually be slower – or even go backwards – argh!
That’s because the process of muscle repair and growth happens when you stop, rest and sleep. And if you’re pushing your body too hard, even a full eight hours’ sleep won’t be enough time for your body to do a full repair job.
When you’re overdoing it, you’re putting your body at risk of injury, too. Overuse injuries happen as a result of consistently and repetitively putting strain on a specific body part. Resting for a few days will usually help any pain settle down.
Plus, fitness should be a sustainable habit that fits into your life, not an unrealistic drain that you’ll drop in a few weeks. That’s where rest comes in – giving you a good balance and preventing your workouts from turning into a chore.
How many rest days do you need?
Good news: if you’re doing FIT Foundations we’ve scheduled your rest days for you!
In general, up to 1–3 rest days a week is recommended. However, it’s important to learn to listen to your body and know when it needs a break.
Injury: You may be tempted to “push through the pain” when you’re injured, but doing this can actually add weeks to your recovery. Illness: If you have a cold, you may choose to shorten your workout or go for a walk instead, but if it’s something more, let yourself rest.
What should you do on your rest day?
1. Move! Just because it’s a rest day, doesn’t mean your butt should be glued to the couch. Gentle exercise – like walking, yoga or swimming – keeps the blood flowing and prevents stiffness.
2. Stretch. When you’re new to exercise, it’s normal for your muscles to feel sore. That’s why your FIT Foundations rest days include optional stretch sessions to reduce DOMS and improve mobility and flexibility. You’ll also find active recovery sessions in your FIT Planner on weekends – which you can do any time.
3. Nutrition. You still need to eat well on the days you’re not training because your body is hard at work growing those muscles.
4. Me time. There’s more to life than the workout mat, so be sure to look after yourself mentally, too. Do a meditation, indulge in something you love or learn a new skill.
5. Get solid sleep. This is important ALL the time, not just on your rest days. Take a look at our tips to help you sleep better, and if you need help switching off, try a calming sleep meditation with Emily.
Try using this visual guide to make the most of your time out.
How to stop a rest day from turning into a rest month
You know how it goes: you’re really motivated at the start, then you stop for a weekend away or work gets busy, and you never get back to it. So how do make sure you avoid falling off the wagon?
1. Schedule rest days like you schedule your workouts.
2. Take rest days regularly, not just when you get rundown or super tired. This way they become a part of your routine.
3. Fill your rest days with all the good stuff we’ve mentioned above. Don’t get into the mentality that it’s a chance to binge back-to-back TV shows without moving your body in some way!
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