Do You Really Need Rest Days?

When’s the last time you rested? I mean, more than one day every three or five days.

Seriously, when was the last time you took a week off from training, or at least took a “deload” week and went light? A long time ago?

  • Do you feel cranky?
  • Are you repeatedly irritated?
  • Find that you’re picking up more colds?
  • Generally feeling a little “off” some days?

Take a rest day. Take a deload week. Find out how much better you can feel.

See, we get this idea that more training, more exercise, more dedication, more effort, more everything is better for us (we’re healthy, right?) but the reality is that your body needs time to rest, time to recuperate, time to rebuild itself.

But why, if we know they are good for us, are rest days SO hard to take?

1.) We Are a Tenacious Bunch of Humans

If you’re into intense exercise, you are most likely an intense person already. Sure, you could be super-duper mellow and then love to toss bars and run hard, but the reality is Mellow Mikes are more rare in intense exercise than Aggressive Annies. Many of us are hard-drivers who don’t know how to take our foot off the gas. We like our foot on the gas. So, to rest takes as much discipline for us as it takes for a resting person to get up and go do CrossFit.

2.) We Don’t Always Listen to Our Bodies

Part of what we do in intense exercise involves switching off the pain centers in our brain, convincing ourselves to push on when everything in our body is screaming to stop. As much good as this does us in the workout, this can also be a detriment after the workout when we are hurting.

We tend to ignore aches, push through injuries, and “man up” even when we’re women. We take the pain and eat it – crunch it up really good and swallow it like glass. (We are kind of weird achievers in a “ouch, that hurts” pain-avoidance society.) This “I can take it” attitude serves us well in workouts and (often) in business, but it can hurt us when our bodies need time to repair themselves. And the best repair comes during rest.

What You Should Consider

Here’s the deal — you don’t have to stop everything for a week. Just throttle back for a few days every 6-10 weeks, depending on your volume, intensity, and training frequency. Give your body a chance to do what it needs to do so you can stay healthy and keep getting stronger.

Do your lighter workout, then kick back with some PaleoKoko, snuggle up with your chocolate and find yourself a good movie on Netflix. Man (and woman) does not live by weights and workouts alone. Take time for yourself. You’ll end up back in the gym, refreshed, eager, and ready for more. You will benefit from rest days, so take them!

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