Do You Need a Rest Day?

Written by Emily Schromm   |   Photo by  Laura Mahony

Want to hit your goals? The key to results is in proper recovery.

When you’re motivated to hit a goal, it can be easy to go to extremes. Let’s be honest: you’re either all in, or all out. That’s how many of us operate, especially when we’re in the zone, on a mission to get leaner, fitter, and stronger.

For the most part, I see this kind of focus and energy as a positive thing, however, there is definitely a downside to going too hard. When we go all in, it is very easy to burn out. We hit the gas pedal so hard that inevitably we eventually run out of gas. This is where adequate recovery comes into play. If recovery isn’t made a priority in our training plan, we are setting ourselves up for exhaustion and injury, and ain’t nobody got time for that. But I am going to give you the tools to not just train hard, but to recover properly, so that you stay on track every single month of this amazing year.

DON’T OVERTRAIN

It is oh-so-easy to overtrain, especially when the motivation is high. Your energy is revved and you’re getting results, so you might think, why not add a second workout today? Stop right there. I have found the days I go a little too hard only cause consequences the following day. For example, if I did an intense CrossFit workout and then decided to run a 5k that night, the next day my body just doesn’t want to wake up and I have a hard time feeling motivated at the gym. Don’t get in that cycle! Trust the process and stick with your program. Even if you are feeling like you could do another hour, walk away and stay fresh for the next day. I also highly recommend at least one full rest day a week, with no gym or weights.

DON’T UNDER EAT

I can’t even stress this enough. I find this is the biggest obstacle for my female clients who have been preached to for years that we need 1400 calories or less in order to lose weight. Trust me, there is no quicker way to throw off your metabolism, your energy, and your cortisol levels than under eating and overtraining. Feed your body appropriately (my clients are never under 1700 calories a day) and it will lose weight naturally. Under eating, on the other hand, can have the opposite effect. Cravings are a bi-product of a nutrient deficiency and under eating. Going days without enough calories will automatically throw your body into “eff this” mode, and you’ll find your face in every pie, cake, and French fry you can find. 

DO USE RECOVERY TOOLS

They aren’t just for the pros. Wearing a fitness tracker (like Fitbit) can help you monitor your heart rate so you know when you’re in recovery, as well as track the quality of your sleep. An electronic muscle stimulator (check out Marc Pro) can reduce muscle soreness and fatigue so you can drastically speed up your recovery. A daily foam rolling session can ensure you are preparing muscle tissue for activation and proper strength gains. You are training like an athlete, so treat your body like one!

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