Let’s face it; we hammer ourselves in the gym on a daily basis. We are always pushing to get better, faster, and stronger. As with so many people in fitness, we think we have to hit it hard every day. After all, if you take a rest day you might miss an epic WOD. Or somebody might just beat your Deadlift PR or Fran time. A missed day in the gym is a missed opportunity. But is it?
The reality is that rest is really important because it gives our bodies and muscles an opportunity to recover. Building muscle tissue requires physical action that tears our muscles in order to rebuild and restructure them. The rebuilding part requires proper nourishment, rest and recovery. So, when we do work in the gym, we actually cause damage to our muscles through weight training and high intensity; which is destructive to the muscle tissue by nature. We need the rest time to repair the damage so that we can adapt to the stimulus put on the body. A good schedule for someone who is training hard should be no more than 3 days on, 1 day off, 2 days on and 1 day off.
Rest days do not necessarily mean that you have to be idle. There are plenty of things you can do that will help the gains in the gym. You can consider “active rest”, recovery or mobility work on your rest days. Here are some things you can do:
These activities will help you recover and be ready to crush it again when you’re back tomorrow! It is ok if you do not do today’s WOD. There will be others!
In reality, rest days are under-appreciated, under-used, and under-rated. They are necessary to actually repair the tissue into stronger, leaner muscle. Go ahead take a rest day; it just might do you some good. And it may help you with your Fran time and your Deadlift PR!
For more ways to recover check out:
Fred W says:
September 27, 2011 at 6:25 pm -
A timely article. I ready this on Sunday morning when I felt very tired and decided to take the day completely off. Thanks.