A REST DAY IS NOT A COP OUT

The other day, after working out 3 days in a row (2 running, 1 CrossFit), I woke up tired. And I did not want to get out of bed. (some of that may or may not have had to do with the 2 sweet snuggly kitties purring around my chest and head.) But, I had a workout planned! I even wrote it down on my white board in my garage. I had to get up and get out there.

But my body was so tired, my knee ached a little, and my eyelids were soooo heavy and I went back to sleep. I’ll just take today as a rest day, I thought.

When I finally woke back up, I felt bad. Definitely not because I got more sleep because that part was great, but because I didn’t get up to work out. I was lazy. I should have gotten up. I copped out.

Um. Wait.

A rest day is not a cop out

Rest days are necessary. Your body actually needs the rest.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not talking about those days where you just don’t want to get up early or go to the gym after work or you think, “I should probably go to the gym/do the workout/go for a run but I just don’t want to because (I have a hangnail, I want wine, it’s my coworker’s husband’s sister’s boyfriend’s mother’s birthday/insert your excuse here).” On those days, you need to get up and go. Trust me, you’ll feel better after you do.

I’m talking about those days when your body is exhausted and sore and you’re feeling worn down. Those are the days when you need to give your body a break, give it a chance to recuperate, give it a chance to do its magic and reconstruct those muscles so you’re stronger and faster.

Did you know that your body takes care of you like that?  Pretty amazing, isn’t it? That’s why you have to listen to it – you need to respect it. Did you know that when you’re exercising, you’re basically creating microtears in your muscles? If you continue to work out and push hard without taking a day (or two) off, your body doesn’t have time to repair those tears and get stronger and you could cause a whole host of other issues. Serious issues. Give your body the break it needs!

Give your body the rest it needs! #sweatpink #fitfluential #iamempowered Click To Tweet

Now, I don’t know about you but I’m not one of those people who can work out 5-6 days in a row. I honestly don’t know how those people do it.

The most I can do is 4 days but I pretty much default to 3 days in a row (especially when we’re talking CrossFit workouts), and then I need to take a rest day. It’s just better for me. I’m healthier when I stick to that schedule. Of course, my planned rest days were always when my favorite lift was programmed at the gym and that always made it even harder to stay at home! Gah, why did it always have to be that way!?!

But, even with running, when I was training for marathons, I took rest days. I never ran more than 3 days in a row. That allowed my body to recuperate from those tough speedwork or tempo sessions. I’m not saying that you should follow that same schedule but you should definitely schedule days off the same way you schedule your workouts.

Schedule your rest days just like you schedule your workouts. #sweatpink #iamempowered #fitfluential Click To Tweet

And, in case I haven’t convinced you yet, here are a few other reasons you should take a rest day:

  • when your body is overtired or overtrained, you get sick more. And when you’re sick, you can’t work out. Or go to work. Or deal with your kids or LIFE.
  • when you don’t give your body a break, you turn into Mrs. (or Mr.) Crankypants. Which is basically the human version of Scrooge McDuck (before the ghosts come and scare him happy). Nobody likes Scrooge McDuck.
  • when you don’t take a rest day (or two), you increase your chances of injury. Um, in case you wondered, injuries are bad. They tend to prevent you from being able to work out. Some can be severe. Trust me on this one.

And you know what? NONE of those reasons is a cop out. Zero.

Tell me:

  • Do you struggle with taking rest days?
  • How many days in a row do you work out or run before you take a rest day?

9 COMMENTS

  1. Farrah | 15th Sep 17

    I have a tendency to skip rest days when I haven’t worked out in a long time and finally start again–I wanna do all the things! Rest days are definitely important though, so I’ve been making sure that I do give my body a break so I can recharge!

  2. San | 30th Aug 17

    I am all for rest days. I usually work out 3-4 times a week and I don’t feel guilty having the other days as rest days…

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer | 31st Aug 17

      Generally, I don’t have guilt either because I know I need the rest. But man, that one snuck up on me!

  3. kookyrunner | 28th Aug 17

    I love my rest day every week and I look forward to it! I know that on Fridays I can relax and just go to work and come home and not worry about getting in a workout or a run – it’s the best. It’s the one day of the week I can reset.

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer | 28th Aug 17

      You do such much! I would fall apart. Lol. You definitely need to take that rest day!

  4. Chocolaterunsjudy | 28th Aug 17

    Yes, Yes, YES!!!! The whole I’ll sleep when I’m dead mentality is so unhealthy.

    No, I will be the first to admit that I struggle with it a bit. I do take rest days, but sometimes not as many as I should. I commented on Wendy’s blog recently that some of that is due to the irrational fear of regaining all the weight I’ve lost overnight. It’s silly, I know, but it’s something many people struggle with.

    I was running 3 days in a row for a while until I was run down. I might do it occasionally now, but I’m pretty sure that’s just a little hard on my body.

    I do workout most days of the week, but they’re not crazy Crossfit WODs. 🙂 Did you catch that interview with the founder on 60 minutes yesterday? Interesting.

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer | 28th Aug 17

      I missed it! I’m actually surprised I didn’t know about it. He’s an interesting man.

      And yeah, I get that irrational fear too. I tend to be afraid that I’ll lose strength and I just lose my fitness. I did lose some weight when I started running and rest days + eating can stress me out sometimes. So silly what we do to ourselves via our subconscious.

  5. Marcia | 28th Aug 17

    I freaking love my scheduled rest days. Those days where I feel like I’m being pressed into my bed by a force field I call “gravity days”. And yes, those are my body’s way of saying to ease up! No shame in resting at all.

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer | 28th Aug 17

      I love my rest days too! Sometimes, during especially difficult training weeks, I look forward to them from the start. Haha!

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