The Key to maintaining a strong mindset and continued results
Although we often focus on how to increase our motivation for exercise, we can reach a point that we’re so driven and determined to reach our goals that we forget about one of the most important aspects of training – rest.
Within this article we’ve detailed some of the most important reasons for rest and what you can do to ensure you’re making the most of your rest days.
Overtraining is often the point that we reach when our performance begins to decrease or plateau due to consistently training at a level that exceeds our capacity to recover. If we’re not careful, we risk all of our hard work due to a ‘workout everyday’ mind-set and this leaves us frustrated at the lack of progress despite all that training.
The best way to avoid this is with rest. If you feel your progress has slowed down beyond reason or you’re getting that ‘burn out’ feeling, it’s probably time for a day off. Not only does this give your body a chance to recover but it also reduces the risk of injury that overtraining can cause.
Give your muscles a chance to grow. Resting is just as important as working out in that it plays an equal part in the process required to build strength, endurance and muscle.
Not only does it prevent the negative effects of overtraining but it also improves your overall strength and fitness. When you workout, the training breaks your body tissues down and causes microscopic tears in the muscle which then need to repair so that you grow stronger. By resting, your allowing your connective tissue, muscles, nerves and even your bones the time they need to rebuild and make you fitter and stronger. If that’s not a good reason to give yourself a break we don’t what is!
Your brain works hard during exercise but it doesn’t stop there. Thinking, problem-solving, remembering – all of these brain actions burn calories. According to LiveStrong, the brain can use around a huge 400 calories a day!
Rest helps your mind recover as the brain builds up toxins while you're awake and sleep is the time that allows the body to remove those toxins.
How and when do I rest?
So now we’ve established the importance of rest. When exactly should we rest and how?
The general rule for resting your muscles is 48 hours to recover and 72 to 96 hours post workout for full recovery. Of course it depends on the intensity of your workout amongst various factors such as age and experience but we recommend using 48 hours as your rule of thumb.
In all, try to give yourself a day of rest before you work on the same muscle group again.
In the modern world we can often feel like we need an excuse to sleep. If only we had more appreciation for it’s importance. During sleep, especially during REM, the body produces increased levels of growth hormone and this helps in the repairing and rebuilding of muscles post-workout.
So if you’re training with muscle and fitness in mind, but you’re not getting enough quality sleep, this will be affecting your performance and fitness improvements. If that’s not a reason for guilt-free sleep, then what is?
Rest days are a great opportunity to hit your nutritional goals and although it’s a rest from exercise, this is not a day to be resting on your diet. Training will cause you to use the stores of key nutrients that your body keeps in reserve. Rest days are the perfect days for replenishing these stores.
Fruits/Vegetables/Healthy Fats - The recommended approach is often to ‘eat the rainbow’ so make sure you’re eating as much varied fruit and vegetables as possible and remember to factor in your healthy fats since this helps work against inflammation.
Protein - Next step is the all important protein. Your body’s ability to use protein stays elevated for a full 24 hours after your session so use this as a chance to stock up on those amino acids. Here at Supreme Nutrition we have created our very own products for this exact purpose - take a look here.
Hydrate - It goes without saying but don’t forget to stay hydrated. You may not be exercising but when you’re fully hydrated, your body is functioning at its best and that’s exactly what we need on our day of rest.
Last but certainly not least. Remember to relax. Not only are rest days great for your body but they’re also a good opportunity to give your mind a rest too. Consider some yoga or meditation to put your mind at ease.
The Supreme Nutrition Team