When we get motivated and are in the heart of a great workout plan, we can get carried away. Working out the same muscle groups day in and day out sounds like it would produce some phenomenal results, but your muscles need time to recuperate to really make the most of your hard work. Finding the right balance of workout days and rest days can be a bit of an art, and it depends on how much you currently exercise.
The Benefits of Rest
Finding the proper time to allow your muscles to recuperate properly is as important as exercising properly. It is important to first define what proper rest is. A proper rest day does not mean that you should be completely sedentary, far from it in fact. Your rest days should be days devoted to helping your muscles recover, and that includes providing proper blood flow to your tired muscles.
Blood circulation provides your muscle tissue with nutrients, which in turn help your muscles, recover from your workout. The best way to provide proper blood circulation is by staying active with small activities like a 20-minute walk, always taking the stairs when possible, and getting your heart rate up a bit. We find it beneficial to refer to these rest days simply as “Non-training days.” By setting up the expectation that these periods of rest are not simply crash on the couch days, you will find it easier to stay active and moving.
Finding the Right Balance
Finding the perfect balance of training days and non-training days is something that should be determined on an individual level. If you have any questions about your own capabilities and what kind of exercise schedule you should keep for yourself, talking to one of our experienced trainers can help you set expectations and keep yourself on a successful path.
The first step in striking a successful balance between your workouts and your rest periods is in creating workouts that work for you. If you leave the gym feeling like you just lost a fight and are in turn extremely sore for multiple days afterward, you are working out too hard. You want to leave your workouts feeling a minor level of soreness. Chances are that if you have pushed yourself too hard in the gym on a previous workout that it will hinder your ability to perform well in the gym at your next workout.
Once you have designed a workout plan that works for you, it is important to set up a functional rest schedule as well. A good rule of thumb to follow is that if you are sufficiently challenging your muscles in the gym, your body requires between 1-2 days of rest to make the most of your workout.
These rules are by no means universal and every person’s capabilities are different. They are simply to help you figure out what is best for you 🙂