How many of you feel tired and ache from the amount of training you are putting in? When was the last time you took a day off from exercising and allowed your body to heal? Rest days aren't the best, after all who likes to rest when they love putting in time to achieve a better physique but sometimes you need to listen to your body. Here is what you should do...
When To Rest
Like I have already mentioned above, if you are feeling tired and your muscles ache, this is a clear sign you should take a day off from lifting/exercising so that your body can recover properly. If you have been exercising straight for a few days, really pushing your body to it's limits then again this is another sign you should take a day off. Why is it important that you rest and take a day off?
If you don't listen to your body and give yourself time off from exercising, you run the risk of getting ill or worse yet, not getting much from your workouts. How many times have you tried to push yourself through this but haven't given yourself a good session and in the end you might resent going because the passion isn't there. What's more important though is that when you rest you are ultimately letting your muscles and the central nervous system repair and grow stronger. When you exercise you break down muscle tissue and you also weaken your immune system. The body needs this time to recover preventing it from picking up illnesses and allowing you to stay healthy.
On rest days you can still eat the amount of food you would normally eat and you should still make sure protein is a priority as this speeds the recovery process. You can still use your whey protein shakes as a snack, these aren't just for workout days and will help ensure you get enough protein inside your body. Using other supplements alongside your diet like creatine and glutamine will also help aid in the recovery process. Resting is when you grow, so give your body every chance of maximising its chances of recovering properly.
How Often Should I Rest
Resting one or two days a week is adequate and is enough for your body to recover and grow accordingly. When you rest it isn't just a physical response you get from it as it also helps you mentally. This is because taking a day off from your routine can leave you feeling hungrier and more enthused about getting back into the gym. So a rest day away from what you love doing actually keeps you more motivated to get back to working out.
Resting will help you come back stronger and more focused than before, especially if you have been working out 4 or 5 days in a row. The rest day will help you reset and feel more alive, so be sure to listen to your body and rest when it needs it. It is sometimes hard to rest so make sure you force yourself into a day off, it will help you :)