“Pain means gain!” “More means muscle!” “Train until you puke!” Does this all sound familiar? Does this sound reasonable? NO! I have been there and trust me your body needs rest. This is the hard core mentality which dictates injuries galore. Recovery is not taken seriously enough and is not recognized widely enough as part of the muscle gain. Recovery comes in many forms yet most of these forms are ignored. I am one of those people that pushed her body to its breaking point. I was forced to rest. Listen to your body when it tells you that it’s had enough. I had to learn the hard way and I want people to learn from my mistakes. Sometimes to get a step ahead you have to take two steps back.
When I say rest I don’t mean take a nap. However sleep is as important as exercise. Rest comes in 3 forms when referring to weight training. There is rest between your exercise sets which can vary in time value depending on the style of training you are doing and the amount of intensity being used. Then there is rest that you take during your workout week, that day or 2 off which is needed for muscle rebuild and health. Last is active rest which is not really time-off per say, but rather a week from every 4 which allows you time away from the normal weight training. Active rest also helps to avoid plateaus by doing some different activities that you normally would not do. An active rests week is ideal for biking, hiking, a step class you normally don’t take or maybe a drop in for a sport you have never tried. The active rest week helps shock the body to coax ongoing gains. These forms of rest cannot be ignored if you want serious results.
I always thought of rest as not necessary and I would push and push until my body finally broke. After two months of rest and recovery I am finally starting to come around to my old self. I have started incorporating yoga as a way to relax my body and distress. Take care of your body and listen. Nobody knows your body like you do. I did not listen to mine until it screamed ENOUGH. Rest and recovery is just as important weight training. It’s during rest that your body recovery and repairs itself so the next time you can go harder. Learn from my mistakes and Rest your body.