Even the toughest athletes are required to take their rest days. A lot of people work hard and hit the gym with a high level of intensity on a day to day basis. However, experts believe that it should always be a combination of working hard and working smart. Rest days should always be part of the equation regardless of your fitness goal or athletic aspirations.
Unfortunately, a lot of people still make the mistake of not taking their recovery seriously. Not only can this slow down your progress, it can even make you prone to injuries.
What happens to your body when you don’t take rest days?
Are you still not sold on the concept of rest days? Skipping your recovery day can do more damage to your body than good. Overtraining can affect the body in a number of ways. In fact, according to experts, it affects us both physically and psychologically.
It’s called overtraining syndrome among fitness circles. This condition has affected more than 60% of long distance runners over the years of their career. It has affected more than half of professional football players during a five-month competition season. And yes, even basketball athletes are affected by this condition. 33% of basketball athletes during a six-week camp have suffered from overtraining syndrome. Unfortunately, there is no agreed definition of what it is.
Even coaches admit that they can’t predict exactly when their players will end up getting fatigued with overtraining syndrome.
Characteristics of overtraining symptom are similar to having depression. Blood cortisol levels are decreased, while there’s a significant alteration in epinephrine, as well. And it doesn’t end there. Neurotransmitter serotonin and tryptophan are also affected both in depression and overtraining syndrome.
In addition to psychological problems that include irritability, insomnia, and even change in appetite, you can also expect a decrease in physical performance when you are overtraining. For women, it is even possible to mess up with your menstrual cycle since it is still stress.
Recovery during rest days
Working out, especially when engaged in resistance training, involves breaking down of tissues even down to the microscopic level.
There are many factors at play how your muscle groups are going to recover. From the intensity level of your workout to the volume of workouts every week, not to mention the type of nutrition that you get all play on your body’s recovery.
You even hear gym trainers tell you that you’ll need to rest the muscle group that you just worked on for a day. The general rule of thumb of recovery is 48 hours for a full recovery for a specific muscle group. Full recovery can be achieved within 72 to 96 hours after a workout.
However, keep in mind that there is always that fine line between rest, and losing the gains that you’ve achieved over your workout.
How should you take your rest days?
Not all rests are the same. There are days when you should be more inactive than others. There are times when you can actually do some less stressful exercises such as stretches and some other sports.
It all depends on the level of intensity of the workout you’ve been doing for the past days. If it’s a high-intensity exercise that you did mostly for the past days, then it’s a good idea to stay out of the gym. Let your body get more sleep as needed, and take the necessary supplements that can help repair damaged muscle tissues. Some even take supplements like L-carnitine to speed up the recovery process of the body.
Get your L-Carnitine HERE!
During your recovery day, expect that your body is craving for protein. It is important that you also consider other things that can help give your body get back to 100%. For instance, blueberries that contain antioxidants can help get rid of free radicals that can damage the muscle tissues.
Next, you also want to make sure that you take potassium-rich foods such as bananas and leafy green vegetables to prevent contractions and cramping. And lastly, you want to make sure that you meet the body’s protein requirement if you wish to recover fast. Normally, the body’s protein requirement is at 1.25 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of your ideal weight.
Perks of having a rest day in between workouts
So what exactly do you get when you stop and let the body rest? Here are some things that you actually get from a day (or two) of inactivity/recovery after some intense workouts.
Keep in mind that exhaustion can lead to stress. Stress can disrupt your level of concentration during workouts. After a day of rest, you’ll notice that you will have a renewed interest in working out. You’ll be able to have a sharper mind and focus more on your workouts.
Next, you’ll notice that you will be able to have an improved performance from the last time. Don’t be surprised if you have improved your one rep max the moment that you went through a day or two of rest.
The best person to listen to when to have your rest day is your very own self. Keep in mind that even coaches can’t predict when overtraining syndrome is going to kick in.
It is a good idea that you listen to your body every once in a while. Sometimes, it is a good idea to take a day off after doing an intense workout. But keep in mind that not all rest days can be the same. There are days when no exercise is required, while there are still days when you can do light activities such as stretching and some walking.
Also, you can increase the quality of your day off when you take the right food and supplements. You can maximize the recovery by taking protein rich food, along with other nutritious food. In addition to this, you can include supplements that can help the muscles recover.
Protein supplements have been the ultimate favorite supplement that people take. However, there are other supplements that can also come in handy such as L-carnitine that has been known not only to burn fats to turn into ATP but to also help reduce signs of fatigue. To get the best L-carnitine supplement that can help you get through the workout, click here to order.