Taking time off helps you avoid setbacks and achieve your goals.
When it comes to professional athletics, there are definite seasons. In the offseason, training volume is increased and programs are based on progressive overload, a strategy that increases the difficulty of workouts as the athlete's body adjusts over time. This is how we're able to get stronger, faster and gain muscle.
Training actually creates micro-tears in the muscle. Don't worry. This is a good thing, as long as the muscles are given adequate time to rebuild after they tear. When rebuilding, the fibers become thicker and stronger than ever before. This is how we gain strength and muscle.
Workouts are initially based on building a foundation, and rest days allow for the body to recover and rebuild.
When running track in college, we always had at least one day off. After the season, we would take a month or two off from running. This allowed us to mentally and physically recharge. In training for figure competitions, I still take at least one day off from lifting every single week.
Here are three major reasons to take at least one rest day when training:
All these problems can be easily avoided by taking days off and allowing your body to recover. Train intuitively. If you start to feel fatigued all the time, take a day off or take an active recovery day. Active recovery days use pastimes that will get your blood pumping but won't tax your muscles or CNS. Some examples include walking at an easy pace, going for a bike ride, practicing yoga, kayaking or stretching. This also can help with muscle soreness, as you're increasing circulation throughout the body. It's a good break for the mind, too!
Written by Erin Stern for Oxygen Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.