When focusing on improving fitness and health, most people will hone in on the following two areas:
- Training – what changes can be made inside of the gym
- Nutrition – how they can adjust their food intake to align with their goals
However, one thing that is often overlooked are rest days and what exactly to do one these days.
If you find yourself avoiding the thought of rest days because you feel the constant need to exert yourself every single day, then this one might sting.
Rest days are essential if you want to improve.
Each training session we complete places great amounts of stress on our body. In order for our bodies to adapt to these stressors, we must give it time to do so.
I prescribe two mandatory rest days per week for my athletes. One of these days is an active recovery day (Thursdays) and one is a full rest day (Sundays).
Try to add the following activities to your next rest day to ensure that you are setting your body up for ample recovery before your next session.
- Easy Blood Flow – these are on our active recovery days. Go for an easy walk, row, bike. This is to move blood through our body and aid in decreasing muscle soreness.
- Screen-less Personal Time – take a break from your cell phone or laptop. Spend some time outdoors, reconnect with loved ones, read a book, play a board game, etc.
- Body Maintenance – perform simple body maintenance such as yoga, active/passive mobility, low-intensity prehab exercises. We all have areas in need of improvement, so dedicate some time to doing exactly that.
- Nutrition – take advantage of this extra time to meal prep and set yourself up for success. Don’t leave food up to chance. It is one of the most important variables in recovery and is also one that you have full control over.
On your next rest day, be proactive with your recovery and nutrition. Don’t leave anything up to chance. Take control of your progress!