That’s what I want to talk about in this blog, the importance of rest. One of the biggest mistakes I find myself and others in the past is not listening to our bodies and going too hard for too long. I understand and encourage when people get excited to reach their goals and change their lives for the better but we do need to remember that we are human and that we need rest just as much as action
For the Body- During our workouts we are damaging our bodies and breaking down the muscle fibers and when we eat and rest for the next 24-48hrs our bodies repair the damage and our muscles become stronger and harder. So In fact, it’s when we are resting that the positive effect of our workouts actually take effect. If you continue to work your muscles on an ongoing basis without proper rest, we risk damaging ourselves and minimizing the results of our training. Also remember when you work out, you are stressing your Immune system and thus are more susceptible to get sick. For as long as I can remember, as a personal trainer and making fitness my number one priority, the only time I was ever sick was when I was training for a body building shows. I was so focused on results that I neglected taking the rest which my body needed, thus overworking my immune system and getting sick.
When your body is healing, your white blood cells can only do one task at a time. Example being, repairing your muscles or fight a virus. Therefor if you work out too hard for too long and don’t give yourself enough time to recuperate, your immune system defences will be down and you are more susceptible to catch whatever is going around. Always keep in mind that your fitness is a long distance run, not a sprint. The results will come in time.
The mind- Start with the mind and the body will follow. Like with all things, your mental capacity and strength is extremely important in terms of fitness. Just like your body needs time to rest, you also need to rest your mind. Adequate sleep (Minimum of 8 hours) is extremely important as this is the time your body uses to heal itself. If you don’t give your mind the time it needs to rejuvenate you will lose focus, you will become stressed, your cortisol levels will rise which pushes your body to hold on to stored fat because of stressed adrenal glands. Stress has other major negative effects on your body. In extreme cases, one can become addicted to health and will start to self-hate and never be satisfied with any results. You will become your own worst critic and you will start to obsess over caloric intake and expenditure.
I really encourage you to take time focusing on other things outside of your fitness. Meditate, pray, spend time with friends and family, listen to music ect. All of these things will have a major positive effect on your mental psyche. By concentrating on these other areas during down time, you can then be 100% mentally once back at it.
The Spiritual- Last but not least is the most important, the spiritual. Our bodies are a gift from God and as good stewards we need to take care of them. Along with exercise and eating healthy, we also need to take time to rest and rejuvenate. From a biblical perspective, God intentionally punctuates life with different rhythms. He created the rhythms of night and day. He designed the body to function on a rhythm of waking and sleeping. He made different seasons of the rest. He established the rhythm of rest, renewal and worship through the Sabbath. He instituted the rhythm of feasts, festivals and ordinances for his people to gather, pause, celebrate and worship. Taking time to seek, rest and recover not only has health benefits, it also reminds us that God is God- and we are not him. We are also reminded that the world can and does continue without us.
In conclusion, I would really encourage you all to take my words and “Take a rest”! Have a least one day a week with no gym. If you are an individual who trains 5 days a week or more I would suggest training opposing muscle groups to reduce the likelihood of over training a certain muscle group. Be sure to stretch, take a hot bath, and spend time with family!
Dan has been a personal trainer since 2008.