Freckles in April: My Tips for Gym Success: Rest, "Rest" and REST

Monday, March 6, 2017

My Tips for Gym Success: Rest, "Rest" and REST

When I first started going to the gym with my own cobbled together plan I worked out 3 days a week and rested the other 4 days. Because what's what rest days are for, right? Resting. Sitting around. Not doing things.

And then I started doing Shortcut to Size. I was DYING I was so sore after the first couple days and was so relieved to see a rest day. Until I saw the fine print.

Remember that every rest day should be an active rest day. Rest days are for recovery; they're not an excuse to be lazy. Get out and hit 15-30 minutes of HIIT cardio today, or perform 30-60 minutes of your favorite activity: hiking, biking, walking, playing a sport, etc.

Me, complaining to Aaron: they're not rest days! They're "rest" days! Agghhhhh everything hurts and I'm dying.

That particular program really pushes the HIIT but I hate cardio that's just for the sake of cardio. Instead, as much as possible, I get outdoors.

Aaron: You hike so much!
Me: I'm not hiking, I'm "resting".

Hiking is my rest day activity of choice. I've always loved it but didn't get out very often because it's hard to go with my whiny kids or to coordinate schedules with hiking buddies. Now that I think of it as a necessary part of my fitness routine, I've started occasionally going alone when it's convenient for me (which I love!) and I've found new trails that push me.

I've schedule my lift days so that my hip hop dance class falls on a rest day then I try to hike one of the other rest days. If I can't hit a trail somewhere I'll go for a run or push my daughter around the neighborhood in her stroller for a while. I try to stay more active on my "rest" days but I do also try to have at least one real rest day each week. My muscles need it.

Which brings me to REST. Sometimes you need real REST, not "rest." My thyroid got wonky in January and I dropped my gym time down a lot for a couple weeks until we could get my medication sorted. I didn't hike so much. I went to bed earlier and slept in whenever I could. If your body feels sluggish and you're exhausted it's possible that you need REST*. Train less. Sleep more. Let your body work on healing and rebuilding. Then get back to it!

*or possibly more food. We'll talk about that.


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