Are you part of team #nodaysoff?
You know, the group of people with the mentality that you should be grinding and putting in work at the gym every single day-- no time to slack off and rest?
If this so, then I have a request... get out. Ditch that ideology and leave that team immediately, because I'm here to tell you why rest days are actually the best days!
Almost everybody knows that in order to get results, you've got to put in work. However, many people seem to over-estimate how much work you need to put in, and under-estimate how much rest you need to get out!
Without an accurate understanding of this, athletes risk overtraining and not obtaining maximum results or performance from all that hard-work being applied!
As you may already know (based off of previous blog posts here), exercise causes muscle fibers to break down and develop very small, microcosm tears in them. These tears are not the same as the major tears you may be familiar with (i.e. pec tears, bicep tears, groin tears...) as micro tears are not painful and are actually necessary!
Muscle tears show themselves in the form of sore muscles and need to time to heal and recover before you go out there and tear them again. This is where rest comes into play.
With accurate rest, the body can regenerate as it calls for amino acids to come and repair the muscles; and, as the nutrients rebuild the muscles, they rebuild them stronger and bigger to adapt and prepare for the tearing to happen again.
In exchange, you come back stronger, ready to increase weights, reps, sets, and ready to keep gaining.
Take "#nodaysoff", and forget any of what I just explained happening.
Without rest time, you can't have regeneration.
Without regeneration, you can't come back stronger.
Without your muscles adapting and growing stronger, you're risking injury, reduced performance, and your overall progress.
In the grand scheme of things, resting is just as important as working out.
So, how much rest? When do I rest? How do I rest??
(Okay, maybe no one really needs to learn that last one...I like to think I excel in knowing how to do that one-- zzzzz)
How much/when do I rest:
These are important because you want to rest enough to allow your body to fully recover, but not so much that you wind up losing gains.
A good, general rule of thumb is to allow at least 48 hours to recovery before working the same muscle group again. A smart training split (and something Forza can provide for you...) will have you working specific muscle groups on specific days, with those days spread out enough that you won't see -for example: chest- again until a few days later.
Aside from organizing your training in a way to provide rest, you should also be organizing your training to fit in 1-2 days of complete rest (rest days). Ideally, after having completed all your muscle-group splits for the week.
These full days off take the stress of exercising completely off of your muscles, permitting the rebuilding of nerves, bones, and connective tissue.
How do I rest:
The best answer-- sleep. Make sure you are getting good, quality sleep!!
During sleep, Growth Hormone (GH) is at its peak. This means the repairing and rebuilding process is functioning at an all-time-high. Cutting your sleep means cutting the release and effect of GH, thus limiting recovery and muscle-growth.
Not to mention, sleep has numerous other important health benefits...
Now, I do write this all with some fear that people will read it and use it as an excuse to "rest" whenever they just simply don't feel like working out, so I caution with this:
Know the difference between needing a rest day and being lazy.
Take time off, but not too much time off.
Don't just hand out rest days to yourself because you feel lethargic here and there. 9 times out of 10, once you get to the gym and get working, those endorphins will make you do a 180.
Stick to the rest layout that I just described, and continue putting in solid work when you are exercising! Scheduling your rest days prevents using them as a cop-out and also helps keep you excited to jump back in after!
Forget the "no days off" mantra, and keep your body from breaking down.
Forget the "no days off" mantra, and prevent higher risk of injury and muscle soreness.
Forget the "no days off" mantra, and avoid suppressing your immune system
Forget the "no days off" mantra, and increase performance, strength, and growth!
*For your own, personalized training program utilizing accurate rest periods, head to the "About Me" tab and send me an email! I'll get you set up!*