As you’re working to increase your health… you’re eating well… you’re getting in your cardio… you’re lifting weights. These are ALL good things! But there’s something else you can’t forget. You have to REST!
I know it sounds counter-productive. But rest is an important part of your training! I’m sure you think to yourself – what?! How could that help?? But it does.
I’ve been focusing on the weight room lately. I know I’m getting stronger. And I want to keep that feeling going. But if I don’t give myself a break, I won’t be helping myself at ALL!
I talked with Andrea Cespedes, a group fitness instructor with the YMCA and 24-Hour Fitness. She just completed the San Antonio marathon. (Awesome, Andrea!!!) So she knows a few things about the importance of a “Rest Day.”
In fact, she says it’s the most important, especially when it comes to lifting weights.
“Rest may be the most critical part of your training plan,” says Andrea. “In terms of strength training, rest facilitates muscle growth and synthesis.”
AND as you train… when you think your growth is from that increased weight or rep? It’s definitely part of it! But, as Andrea told me, it won’t help until you allow those muscles to rest.
“The actual "muscle-building" does not happen when you are lifting the weights,” Andrea says. “You are actually creating micro-tears in your muscles. When those tears repair, the muscles grow bigger and stronger -- only during rest can this happen.”
So, I’m carving out a rest day or two into my training every week. It feels weird to make that part of my training. But I know it’s important.
But Andrea also has some other ideas about a rest day. It doesn’t mean that you should hit the couch!
“If you are wedded to a specific form of cardio, consider cross training as a form of rest,” she said. “For example, if you run all the time, try a light swim or cycling class once a week to challenge different muscles but keep your heart pumping.”
Today, unfortunately, is NOT a rest day for me. So it’s back to the gym. Maybe I’ll make Saturday my rest day… a good day for rest, don’t ya think??