Today’s blog post is going to be about recovery. Make sure to check out my blog post about the link between sleep and fitness. Today’s blog post will go over why taking rest days is important, deload days/weeks (what they are and how to take them properly), rest day frequency and best activities for recovery.
Why take rest days? What are the benefits of taking them?
Rest days serve many functions, one of which is muscle recovery. Other benefits of rest days are having a mental break from training, allowing for total body recovery (ie: allowing the central nervous system to rest) and an overall reduction in fatigue. Allowing our bodies to rest is also crucial for glycogen repair, this, in turn, allows our muscles to grow as a result of having performed no activity.
Muscles are broken down during weight-lifting sessions and are repaired when we rest
Glycogen is primarily responsible for the energy utilized during our weight-training workouts, it therefore cannot always be depleted. While athletes and advanced gym-goers do have an increased ability to sustain volume/intensity/load as a result of their adaptations and require an increase volume/intensity/load to see more results, rest should always find it’s way into our workout program. It simply does more good to us than harm, at any level in terms of growth and performance.
What is a deload day/week?
Recovery consists of the activities done to enhance the body’s ability to perform and of our nutrition, sleep, etc. Deload days/weeks are programmed into some training programs strategically to increase our body’s ability to keep achieving progressive overload (and make continous training progress). Check out my previous post on deload days for ideas on what activies to perform on your next deload day (ie: activities include doing some light yoga/taking a brisk walk).
How many rest days should we take?
I personally take two rest days per week (I take my weekends off). I think a lot of our rest day frequency comes down to how hard we push our training sessions (and how much we enjoy doing so frequently). I think at least one day a week of no training is a good starting point for most people!
In conclusion, taking rest days allows for better hypetrophic results by allowing our muscles to grow at rest. Taking deload days (aka: training breaks) can also help improve our performance. Our rest day frequency should be congruent to the effort we put in while we train, this is largely subjective!
I hope you that enjoyed this blog post on recovery days, please let me know what you thought of it in the comments section below. I would love to hear your thoughts!