As much as I love working out, there are days where both my mind & body are just like “nahhh” and if you experience the same, you should totally lean into that and know when it’s time to give yourself a break.
I personally love rest days-why? Well first off it’s an excuse not to workout;) JK.. kinda.. but because it’s ABSOLUTELY necessary to give myself a break. Don’t play into the notion that you have to workout 7 days a week, multiple times a day in order to meet your fitness goals. I get the Q: how many times a day do you workout.. I’m like, A DAY?! WHAT. lol. 4-5 times a week I workout. So what do I do on the 2-3 other days? Rest days are just as important for your health and I’ll fill you in why and share what a typical rest day looks like for me!
Rest Days are important because they:
Support Your Immune System: Did you know too much exercise can actually suppress your immune system? Yup, it’s a thing!! This is because when you workout hard for long periods of time, stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol increase which suppresses white blood cell functions. By taking well spaced rest days, you give your body the chance to recover and strengthen its immune system to help prevent colds and viruses.
Allow Your Muscles To Grow & Recover: If you’re looking for some gains, REST!! Every time you get in a hard workout you create tears in your muscles and as your body repairs these tears, your muscles grow STRONGER so they’re able to perform the same workout with less effort-sounds pretty sweet right?! Well, in order for your muscles to grow & strengthen, they need time and rest so they can heal from the stress of exercise.
One of my favorite things to do on rest days is to use my Wahl Cordless Deep Tissue Percussion Massager. It is literally LIFE CHANGING! It provides all-around and targeted muscle relief, even deep down, to speed up your healing or fitness recovery. Percussion is the ultimate massage experience providing fast comfort by disrupting pain signals and increasing local blood circulation and blocking neurotransmitters and may help decrease inflammation and increase oxytocin levels; all of which allow muscles to relax, reducing feelings of tiredness and pain!
Help You Sleep: Not only do we need sleep to properly function as humans in the mornings, but during sleep, the body releases hormones to help your muscles repair and grow, allows your brain to process information from the day and stores it in your long-term memory and also helps to reduce tension! Exercising can increase your body’s production of stress hormones making it harder to wind down, so if you’re training too hard your sleep can be thrown all out of whack leading you to miss out on all of the benefits sleep has to offer! Taking a couple of rest days can help ensure you get the quality sleep you need each night.
Keep You Motivated: It’s hard enough to get motivated in the first place to workout, so when you’ve finally got some momentum going I’m telling you to rest?! I know I know…might sound crazy at first but TRUST, rest days are just as important to help keep you motivated! If you’re skipping out on rest days for fear of falling off track, you’re actually setting yourself up to take the fun out of working out and making it seem like a chore. Rest days are important so you don’t feel burdened by actually having to workout. A couple of days of rest will actually have you hyped and looking forward to your next sweat sesh!
My favorite rest day activities
Make a great breakfast, something filling and comforting. I like to make either my perfect oatmeal recipe or some type of egg scramble packed with my favorite veggies and lean protein! This just helps set the tone for the day and keeps me on track for my normal eating schedule. Do not eat less just because you’re not working out!!
Go for a walk, first thing in the morning! I love getting fresh air right when I wake up. It gets the blood flowing, oxygen pumping! Since I would normally workout first thing in the morning, on rest days, just exposing yourself to natural light first thing in the morning helps wake your body and mind up naturally.
Make yourself a cafe level coffee when you get back! I love making coffee at home. I have a frother that I love to use to make it feel like I’m drinking sweet cream foam from Starbucks. Check out my favorite coffee recipe here!
After work, I like to take a hot bath with epsom salt. Epsom salt helps reduce soreness and pain and helps reduce stress too! It’s the perfect rest day activity. I like to light some candles and absolutely do not take my phone in the bathroom with me so I can fully relax and detox, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.
A quick massage from Wahl is a must for rest days! I’ve been using their Hot-Cold Therapy Massager recently and it’s SO FREAKING GOOD you guys! This handheld massager uses both hot and cold therapy to increase blood circulation and relieve muscle pain and speed up fitness recovery. You can also get hard to reach places like your lower back with it too! I don’t know about you guys, but getting regular massages always helps me feel more relaxed and comfortable.
Even though it’s a rest day, I still like to move my body, even just for a few minutes! So I will usually do a slow recovery or stretch routine (I have tons on my app if you need some ideas and I also include a quick 5 minute recovery flow in my latest YouTube video). On rest days it’s especially important to make sure you stretch out and give attention to anything in your body that isn’t feeling right. Get that blood flowing a bit, allow your muscles to recover and get ready for your next workout!
I always like to end a rest day with a face or hair mask because I count it as a full on self care day. Make a cup of hot tea while you’re waiting for your mask to work its magic, and BOOM you’ve had the best rest day! Now get some sleep so you’re ready to take on your next workout and whatever tomorrow might bring!
Keep in mind, rest days don’t necessarily mean a lazy day- you can have an active rest day where you go for a walk & get errands done. The point is to focus on recovering both mentally & physically so you can always be on your A game, whatever that means for you!
So how many rest days per week do you need? There’s honestly no magic formula to calculate the number of rest days each individual needs since it’s affected by other factors such as intensity of workouts and how stressful your everyday life is, but listening to your body & monitoring your tiredness and soreness should help you work out what’s right for you!
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I’m going to link all of my favorite Wahl products below for you for quick and easy access: