Training goals are so rewarding, and when you see the results in form, it's hard to think of giving yourself a break. You've worked hard to find the rhythm of working out daily and are proud to say it's now part of your daily routine. The thought of undoing a habit you've worked on so hard to instil, just so that you can have a rest day, is unnerving. Do you even need rest days? Given that so much of life today feels chaotic and overwhelming, exercise is a much-needed distraction, a grounding stress relief and a controllable piece of reality. Hence you may be wondering whether you should take a day off from working out.
However, you've been sensing something is different about your body. You've noticed subtle signs of fatigue you've brushed off. You've experienced a few sleepless nights here and there; so you caffeine it up during the day to get through., Now you're beginning to notice that your regular exercises seem harder than they used to be.
Is it possible that you're overtraining?
Overtraining occurs when your body is exposed to more training stress than it can possibly recover from. If the body is not exposed to the rest it needs, the overtraining syndrome can occur. This can lead to more severe conditions that would result in you taking months to recover. If you are involved in training or fitness in any form or capacity, you are likely to experience signs and symptoms of overtraining. Effects of overtraining such as fatigue, increased hunger and the lack of progress can make people anxious.
This is where rest days come into play. A rest day allows muscles to replenish the body's energy stores, reduce muscle fatigue and prepare muscles for the next workout. During a rest day, cells called fibroblasts repair and build muscle tissue. On rest days, the body has the chance to remove excess lactate from the muscles. Hence, rest days are crucial for those who work out regularly to combat the effects of overtraining.
How can you tell if you should take a rest day? And how many rest days should you take? These are all valid questions. How often you should take a rest day depends on the severity of your condition. It is safe to assume 24 to 48 hours is sufficient to recover from regular workouts. As for the effects of overtraining on the body, there are a few signs and symptoms that you should look out for when routinely working out. Your body always sends you messages when it requires something. You have to watch out for those subtle signs when they appear.
Signs you need a rest day from working out
You feel tired and sore all over
While it is normal to feel tired after exercise, fatigue occurs when the body has not fully recovered from your training. How long do muscles take to recover after a training session? Research suggests that muscle soreness peaks two days after exercise. Hence, a rest period of at least 48 hours is optimal for recovery and injury prevention, at least in competitive athletes, according to studies.
You're exhausted even after sleeping 8 hours a night
Sit back and lay off the workouts for a day or two if you know that you are getting enough sleep but still feel exhausted. Give your muscles and your body a break to recuperate. Perhaps rethink your workout strategy and try a rest day and a good night's sleep before doing another training session.
You feel overwhelmed and stressed
Maybe you're not looking forward to your training session. Just the thought of exerting more energy after the hectic workday you've experienced may be debilitating to your mind and body. This is a clear sign of being stressed and overwhelmed. If this is the case, it may be good to take some time for yourself to rest and unwind.
Your progress has come to a halt
You notice that even though you've been pushing your limits, your progress seems to have slowed down. You know you are eating right and training with an expert, so what might be holding you back? Well, your body has likely been exposed to more training than it can cope with, so a rest day is what it needs to return to optimal condition.
You're unusually irritable
Your body is exhausted after too many workouts, and you may notice that you are cranky. It is because your body is in a catabolic state, which means it is wasted. You're losing the body mass and muscle you've worked so hard to gain. Ensure you give your body and mind sufficient time for relaxation if this is the case.
How to speed up muscle recovery
While it is essential to take a rest day, there are things you can do to help your sore and strained muscles to recover faster. Taking a relaxing massage would be ideal after a strenuous workout to ease up all those knots in your body. Better yet, using a muscle recovery tool like SPRYNG provides compression therapy for your sore muscles and improves blood circulation in your tired and strained leg to help you recover faster while at the comforts of your own home. The portable and easy to use device only requires 15 minutes to provide you significant relief from your strenuous workout.
Nobody trains the same way, and no one reacts the same way to overtraining. So, you have to pay attention to different signs and symptoms your body gives out as a call for help. If your body feels fatigued, give it adequate rest and nutrients to recover. If your muscles feel strained, use techniques such as massages and leg compression therapy and if you want to reach your ultimate fitness levels, make sure your body is in its optimal condition.