PC: Kat Horrocks
You have got your goals set for the month, you have planned out what style of exercise you are going to do and the sessions have been penciled into your diary. You know what you are going to be doing in each session maybe even down to the reps/ weights / lengths / distance covered etc. The trainers are out and new kit ready and you are on it. BUT it sounds like you are missing something …
Have you actively planned rest days? Or are you team no rest days? Have you planned some active recovery and stretching into your routine?
A massive part of any training routine but something that is forgotten a lot of the time is recovery. Recovery is essential in any type of training to help your muscles repair and let your body take some time to get back to normal. If you have been putting it through stress to get fitter, stronger, faster etc it needs time to chill out or you will burn out. And rather than just waiting until you can on no more you should actually take the time. Now this can be done in 2 ways you can take Rest days and you can also add a couple of active recovery sessions in.
Active Recovery / Rest
This is when you take the stress off the body from whatever form of exercise you have been doing but you keep it moving. You lower the intensity on the body and you focus on moving to ease the body not stress it. Common ways to do this are through walking or light cardio, yoga/stretching, foam rolling. It needs to be something that works for and fits in with your lifestyle. I tend to find this works with people who need to move or do something so this way you are giving your body time to recover but still move.
Full Rest Days
When exercise is not on the agenda, use this time to let your body and your mind have some time off. These are so important as we can’t all be go all the time. Use it to see friends, get your to do list done, practice self care and look after number one. You can still move on these days but I would recommend having at least one of these in your weekly routine, let yourself sleep in relax and chill out. It is ok to rest our bodies need it.
Unplanned rest days / days off exercise
Now something I know can cause a lot of stress in people is when you have to take a rest day and you weren’t planning on it. These can happen for a number of reasons:
Life gets in the way plans change etc. If something comes up and prevents you from training that’s ok just postpone it for the next day – 1 or even a few days off is ok. Things happen out of our control and if there is no way you can fit the training in that day then just try again later on in the week. What you shouldn’t do is try and cram the whole week sessions into 2 for example just do what you want and start again next week.
Tiredness. If you or your body is tired then listen to it and get the sleep / rest it needs. There is no point doing a half assed session because you don’t have the energy as it won’t benefit anyone. Instead look at why you are tired what can you do to change this to prevent it from happening. There is a difference between tiredness and unmotivated so just have a look to make sure which one it is but if your body is tired it won’t be firing on all cylinders so it won’t be safe. Instead why not take it as an active recovery day instead.
Illness. A massive one that needs to be addressed. If you are ill intense exercise is the last thing you need to do. All it is going to do is put a massive stress on the body which is only going to make you feel worse and decrease your recovery time. I used to be of the mindset ‘I'll just push through which always left me feeling worse in the long run. We are meant to exercise to feel good so why push through when ill to make you feel worse in the first place. Instead focus on getting better, keep the body moving if it can, feed it nutritious foods and drink plenty of fluids. Then as you start to get on the mend start back slow and ease yourself into it.
Taking time out or having a rest day is not a negative thing, it doesn't make you any less fit or into exercise. If anything it makes you more aware of your body and what it needs. Meaning that in the long run you will be better off for it. Remember we can't run on full steam all the time there is going to be times when you need take a time out to be able to continue better than before. Both the body and the mind need a break from stress so make sure you look after number 1 and allow for that to happen :)
So take a look at your training regime and see where you can input these elements and I promise you, you will thank yourself for it !
Love Vicki xxx