Believe it or not, “Netflix and chill” can be just as important for reaching your goals as going hardcore at the gym!
We often place a lot of emphasis on workouts while neglecting an equally crucial part of creating that dream physique: rest and recovery. If you’re someone who hasn’t had a proper rest day in weeks, we want you to slow down and read this section - and we will do our best to convince you that sometimes, less is more!
It’s easy to forget that every time we workout, we place stress on our bodies. Placing load on your muscles and tissues leads to microtraumas and tears, as well as affects your bones and joints. When managed correctly, it’s not dangerous - in fact, this very stress is something that helps the body adapt, promoting muscle growth and increased bone density. However, failing to implement recovery strategies can lead to completely opposite results, such as:
Decreased strength and performance
Weakened immune system
Rest days are a perfect opportunity to repair and rebuild effectively to continue functioning at an optimal level.This is why we always recommend a rest day into your training schedule - and depending on your lifestyle and workout intensity, you are welcome to add 1-2 more active rest days on top of that!
How to spend your dedicated rest and recovery days depends on your personal preference and fitness level! For example, if you’re new to training or are really exhausted, and your body is begging for a complete rest day - do exactly that! If you’re feeling energised and refreshed, you can opt for an active rest day instead - such as going for a long walk, taking a yoga class or playing recreational sports with friends - that’s a great option too! Avoid any strenuous activities to give your body an opportunity to recover properly - but you don’t have to spend an entire day in sedentary mode unless that’s what you feel like.
In addition to rest days, the following simple and effective strategies can be applied every day to promote recovery and reduce muscle soreness:
Consume 2-3L of water every day to replenish any losses occurring during workouts and other activities
Nourish your body with wholesome foods to provide building blocks for recovery and maintain energy levels
Aim to get quality sleep each night - most people need around 7-8 hours
Do some relaxing stretches or even treat yourself to a massage
Aim to create a consistent routine - your body performs best when it knows which resources to mobilise at what times each day!
Hot Tip: If it’s been months since you’ve entered a training block, and daily recovery strategies paired with weekly rest days don’t leave you feeling refreshed, take a few consecutive days - or even up to a couple of weeks - off structured exercising while remaining generally active and nourishing your body well. It’s completely normal - and healthy - to deload, and if your body is asking for more rest, don’t ignore it! Your progress will not be ruined!