Are you gearing up for a rest day? Rest days are a must in any workout program. Your body can only handle doing so many workouts before recovery is required. Unfortunately, though, some people do not approach their days off correctly, making a few grave errors costing them the results they are seeking.
If you often come out of rest days not feeling refreshed, it is important to double-check to see you are not making any of these mistakes …
1. Cutting Back On Calories. Do you think because you are not hitting the gym, you should hardly eat any food? Think again. Remember it is during your rest day your body will be busy repairing any damage that took place while you were in the gym.
Avoid cutting back too much on your calorie intake. Sure, you can decrease your carbs by 25 to 50 grams or so, but do not make too many other changes.
Think of this as a chance for your body to refuel.
2. Doing "Light" Cardio Training. Another mistake some people make is doing "light" cardio training. They head to the gym thinking they will just do an easy walk on the treadmill. Next thing they know, they are doing sprints.
If you can not do light activity, stay out of the gym altogether. Better yet, get some leisure activity in by going for a walk outdoors.
Rest days should not include any form of structured physical activity. If you do, you risk jeopardizing the benefits a rest day should be bringing to your body.
3. Lack of Sleep. Another mistake many people make is to neglect their sleep. And the lack of sleep ends up impacting health, safety, and longevity. They stay up late and only get 5 to 6 hours of sleep. On rest days, focus on having 7 to 8 hours sleep. Since you are not hitting the gym during the day, this should free up an extra hour or two you can use to take a nap or go to bed earlier.
The extra sleep will push your body into a state of recovery and ensure you bounce back quickly, ready to take on your next workout session.
4. Binge-Eating. Binge-eating is another common theme for some people on a rest day. If they are not cutting their calories back too far, they are overeating instead.
If you find you get out of the healthy mindset on your rest days, do something like yoga or meditation By quieting your mind, relaxing and embracing silence you will find it helps to keep you focused on doing something good for your body, ensuring you do not let your nutrition slide.
5. Stressing Out. The last thing to avoid doing on off days is stressing out. Stress is also going to decrease your recovery capacity because you are releasing a high dose of cortisol into your body.
Relax. Just because you are not hitting the gym for one day does not mean your fitness level will decrease. In fact, 99% of the time, you will find you come back stronger than you were before.
Take your rest days seriously. They are an important part of any workout program and if you are not fitting them in, now is the time to start. Take at least one, if not two full rest days from the gym each week. You will see better results because of it.