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Do rest days slow your progress?

If you have reached the point in your training where you dislike or are afraid of rest days, then to be honest I feel like giving you a high five! By far the biggest problem in the fitness industry is getting people into the gym in the first place, then comes the even bigger problem of getting them to stay. 

So take a moment to pat yourself on the back, you are obviously a committed individual and I’m guessing that you are getting results that you are happy with. 

Good for you, but as a fellow gym rat I have to point out the problem with relentless, rest free training. It is going to start undoing all of your hard work. 

Why? Think back to the fire triangle you learned at school - Oxygen + Fuel + Ignition = Fire! 

The Fitness Triangle
The fitness triangle is very similar - Training + Nutrition + Rest = Results! In the same way that no ignition means no fire, no rest means no results. Every time you do an intense workout you produce microscopic tears in your muscles, this is a good thing because it tells your body adapt and get stronger. Your body then takes the carefully balanced macro nutrients your put in and gets to work on a bigger/faster/stronger version of you. Your body does this while you are resting, no rest - no repair, no repair - no results! 

Worse still, the micro tears may turn into actual tears, leading to injury and forced time out of the gym. When lack of rest turns into full on overtraining it might not only be your muscles that suffer, severe overtraining can lead to damage to your central nervous system and you do not want that. 

Your attitude makes you a hero and I applaud you, but even heroes need to take some days off.

Things to do on your rest day


Rest day by no means completely doing nothing. However, you can consider focusing on less intensive things such as;

Yoga


Yoga is one of the best things you can do on a rest day. It’s excellent for improving body awareness, breathing, and flexibility. It also helps you build strength while loosening your muscles.

Low-impact workouts


Like yoga, low-impact exercise is a great rest day activity. Low-impact workouts help you stay active without overstressing your body. They also let you enjoy exercise in a more relaxing way.

Dieting


On rest days, your body generally needs fewer calories because you’re not as active. But instead of trying to omit a specific number of calories, simply listen to your body, be sure to get enough carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water

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