5 Reasons You Should Take a Rest Day

We have all experienced feeling bad about taking a “rest day” from the gym thinking that it’ll reverse our progress from the hard training that we’ve been doing. We are scared we’d miss a leg day. We are all different level athletes who are aiming for different goals. A professional athlete versus a person who just works out to get fitter might have completely different training volume. Yet, regardless of one’s fitness level, our bodies still need time to recover and rebuild. Here are some good reasons to take a break from coming into the gym once every few days.
  1. Your muscles need to recover
When you exercise, you are breaking down and creating micro-tears in your muscles. You might not experience any pain or soreness during the WOD as our adrenaline is pumping and our endorphins level are at an all time high. However, we all have experienced soreness a day or a few days later a really intense session. We called that DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). Your body is trying to heal those micro-tears that you have induced, and get stronger and more resilient. If you are constantly only breaking your muscles down and not giving your body time to heal, you will not be getting stronger. Instead, you will feel like your body cannot perform the way you know it can. That is also when a lot of injuries happen.
  1. You might actually gain weight, especially fat mass
You might think the more you train, the more weight you should be losing. That is not exactly true. The right amount of training will help you lose weight. Training increases stress on your body, which means your brain is secreting more cortisol into your system. When you rest, your body returns to homeostasis and the cortisol helps to regulate the insulin level in your body. However, if you are overtraining, the level of cortisol is always elevated. As cortisol is responsible for spiking your insulin level, which increases glycogen storage, in laypeople’s words, it increases fat storage and decreases fat metabolism.
  1. Give yourself a mental break
You crush your soul at the gym every day (and assuming you go HAM in each work out). You are testing your mental toughness every day. On top of the minor stress from your job, your kids, and just every day life, each one of these small events is a stressor. One day a week to just sleep in for one more hour instead of waking up to go to class, or rushing from work to get to the gym, give yourself a little more rest time once every few days might not be a bad idea – refer back to my first and second point!
  1. Your performance might be compromised
The type of training that we do at the gym is challenging and rigorous. If your body is tired, you might benefit more from taking a day of rest than coming in and half-assing a workout. It might also lead to more injuries as you are trying to get through a tough workout in poor form as your body is exhausted, or you are putting extra stress on your already tired muscles, tearing it down to a point of no return. Resting does not mean you are losing your strength or cardio gains. Instead, it is giving your body time to recover to come back and hit it faster and stronger.
  1. Utilize your fitness and enjoy life!
Our training makes you fitter. If you are just working out at the gym every day, you might eventually become good at those wall balls, box jumps, or double-unders. We do fitness because we want to be able to live a long and healthy life. We want you to enjoy your fitness outside of the gym as well. Whether it is doing an ultra, mountain biking, surfing, playing beach volleyball or tennis, you have earned your fitness to become more proficient at those other hobbies.  Ultimately, listen to your body. We want to help you build a strong and healthy life. Eat well, rest well, and train well.   By Larissa Hon, InnerFight Performance Coach