The Vital Importance of Rest
Rest is an important topic because people have mixed views on it.
How much rest should we take? Is it really necessary?
There are so many variables that determine the length of your rest, which is why this is a fascinating topic for me. Many people do not realize the importance that getting the right amount of rest has in allowing you to achieve your goals – whether your goals are to shed that extra weight, do some bodybuilding or just get into better overall shape.
What is Rest?
Contrary to some opinions, rest is not just time to be lounging around on the couch. It’s important to keep active, even when segmenting your workout routine. Laziness can kick in so easily once you start to allow yourself a few days off.
It’s the same as giving yourself the odd treat when you’re trying to eat healthily – it is important not to completely restrict yourself from the things you enjoy, but one thing can so easily lead to another, so you have to be careful and deliberate in your actions.
When your muscles get broken down through exercise, it is during the rest period that they are rebuilt and strengthened. If you are bodybuilding, then this means you will be able to increase the weight or the reps you are performing. Your body systems build up to greater levels to compensate for the stress you previously put on them, and this is how you build bigger muscles.
If you do not get the proper rest time, you are actually risking serious injury, and certainly reduced performance levels. You will reach a performance plateau and won’t be able to get any higher until you reset your workout and body and do it properly.
It’s important to listen to your body and what it wants, because everybody is different. Your rest and recovery time period will vary from mine because we are different people, with different lifestyles and habits. Pay attention to your energy levels, but always give the workout a try. You may be feeling lethargic before you start, but that does not mean you aren’t ready. Start the workout, and if you still feel like your energy levels aren’t coping, then you can delay it for another day.
There are 2 types of over-training: local and systemic. Local means it is specific to a certain muscle group or area of the body, and this is the most common type. If you train one muscle group too frequently without adequate rest, you will not give them a proper chance to recover.
Don’t worry if this happens to you – local over-training is actually quite common and you will find that real bodybuilders and professional fitness competitors experience localized over-training.
Systemic over-training on the other hand is less common but potentially more serious. It affects the entire body, as there becomes a negative nitrogen balance and increased levels of cortisol hormone. Cortisol is released in response to stress, and it impedes muscle repair and function, inhibits protein synthesis and muscular growth, amongst other properties.
So it’s important to listen to what your body wants to avoid overdoing it and causing harm to your body. It does work both ways, however.
There’s no excuse for taking too much rest time. I often see this when people complain of fatigue in certain body parts, like arms and upper chest. While your body is connected by interconnected ligaments and tendons, this does not preclude you from moving onto different muscle groups, such as your legs.
This is why it’s important to properly plan out your weekly workout routine, and segment it into different muscle groups each day.
Workouts You Can Try
Every single workout I’ve reviewed on this site preaches the importance of rest and recovery. That’s no exaggeration. Here are some you should try:
The Insanity Workout
The Insanity Workout, created by dancer Shaun T, has become one of the most popular home workout dvd programs.
You can read my Insanity workout review here.<<
It’s designed to give you a total body transformation within 60 days. The results speak for themselves, as thousands of people have been through the program and changed their lives as a result.
Insanity introduced ‘maximum interval training’, which translates to longer periods of intense activity with shorter rest periods. This is just during the exercises though – Shaun T still recommends certain days off to get proper rest and recovery.
Les Mills Pump
This workout is based on the Les Mills Bodypump classes, which are held across thousands of gyms worldwide.
It’s based on the ‘rep effect’, essentially high repetitions of barbells to develop lean muscles. You can customize this workout to your needs, and the classes are great fun with a variety of soundtracks to workout to.
Read my Les Mills Pump review <<
You may have heard of P90X. Tony Horton has taken the world of home workouts by storm with P90X, and its successors P90X2 and P90X3.
This is perhaps the most intense of the 3 workouts, and requires a bit more equipment investment. The results are proven without question though, so if you want to get ripped then give it a try. Tony understands the key role of rest in between his workouts, with at least 1 rest day each week.
You can my P90X review here.<<
You should be able to find a workout that suits you from these picks, but there are plenty more options if these are not quite right for you. Check out the different categories in the horizontal bar above to read more on my site.