So like most people, since it's the new year, I have been working on establishing some new habits such as going to the gym every day. However, I didn't start until January 3rd, so I've been playing catch up with my workout plan. Thus, as a result, I went to the gym like five days in a row and skipped the Rest Days so I could catch up to the current day of my workout schedule.
And we come to the present day, I worked out this morning and I'm glad I did. However, I'm super sore from yesterday and tired from today, and I don't think I can skip another rest day. Besides, I'm only one day behind now. So I decided to use that as today's topic: The Importance of REST.
Rest is very much under appreciated in our society today. When you're exercising and lifting heavy weights, you're breaking down your muscles as much as you can. Your muscles don't grow when your working out! They grow when you sleep...alot! And if you keep working out every day without taking a rest day like I did then like me, you feel like your shoulders can't move and are going to fall off!
Yes, eight (8) hours of sleep every night is crucial to muscle recovery and not feeling fatigued and exhausted. But even that is not enough, you should take rest days too if you're working out on the daily. You should only be lifting heavy weights no more than three days a week. Any more than that and you risk injuring yourself. You can still do cardio on the other days and other types of exercises. And you should NEVER work on the same muscles groups hard two days in a row, you need that time to let that particular muscle group rest and recover.
Another form of recovery is FOOD. Healthy foods can be huge for helping your body to recover. They give your body the energy and the nutrients to get back quick. In the morning I like Bananas, hard-boiled eggs, avocados or any healthy fats are great too. And of course, PROTEIN. Protein is the main ingredient in muscle recovery. Make sure it's high quality protein and find out which foods have high levels of protein, aside from steak and eggs of course.
And last but definitely not least, is MASSAGE. Massage is a great way to break up the muscle tension and get the muscles to enter of state of relaxation. Massage after a workout can cut the recovery time anywhere from half a day to several days. Sports massage is great for both pre-event and post-event.
Self-Care Tools For Recovery
Heat Application to the body is a great way to relax the muscles. Hot water, hot showers, heating pads can all be used to recover more quickly.
Foam Rolling is a great post-workout self care exercise you can do and it doesn't take long to do it. If you really feel like you're going to be sore the next day after a hard workout, try doing some foam rolling for a couple of minutes after your workout. Roll on whatever part of the body you worked on that day. Go slow, and if you find a painful spot, hold it for 20-30 seconds, that's how long it takes for the relaxation response to kick in.
In conclusion, rest is very important.
1. Sleep 8 hours
2. Take rest days (depending on the intensity of your workouts)
3. Eat healthy, nutrient-rich foods
4. High quality Protein
5. Massage/Sports Massage
6. Self Care Tools
1. Heat Application
2. Foam Rolling
I hope you found this article helpful and got some value from it. Let me know if you liked it and what you'd like me to cover in the future.