Do We Need Rest Days From Lifting? The Short Answer is YES!
Thinking about taking a week off from the gym and working out?? Well, today I’m going to discuss what happens when we take a well deserved week off from lifting and gym time.
I know it can be tough to take a week off, I know from personal experience. I enjoy the gym so much and it has become such a big part of my routine its hard to take days off. I just feel so great after a workout. It may be tough getting to the gym some days or your just not feeling it that day but I never feel bad after any type of workout. I always feel accomplished after a workout. I’m currently taking a few rest days and I’m going to be honest, it has been mentally refreshing.
I go to the gym 6-7 days of the week for lifting and cardio. I lift at least 5 days of the week. When we do lifting sessions this will initiate our muscles to build and grow. Lifting will give our muscles the stimulus to grow, but outside of the gym is where your muscles recover and grow bigger. The gym for me is a second home so taking a rest week is really hard, but it is necessary. Of course, you want to always stick to your routine and normal planned workouts outside of your week break. But its crazy to say but time out of the gym should be part of your workout or lifting schedule.
Taking the time off your body needs between workouts is needed for muscle repair and growth. Our muscles get fatigued and they need rest too. The amount of rest days you need depends on your type of workout routines and how you train. This is very individualized. This is why we never workout the same muscle groups day after day. If we did that our muscles would never have time to repair and get stronger. I’ve been training for over 4 years so ideally, I do need more than 1 rest day to recover. For me I need multiple rest days.
Let’s go a little more in-depth for those science geeks out there like me. There are many theories about how lifting breaks down the muscle and then results in muscle growth to help protect the body from future stresses. The human body is quite amazing, and our bodies will break down and build new muscle every 15-30 days. When we do incorporate lifting into our fitness routines this speeds up the muscle building process since the muscle fibers are breaking down at an increased rate. We are putting our muscles through stress when lifting and growth hormone is also released. Normally our bodies will work hard and rebuild muscles 24-36 hours after training. Also, it has been thought that when we put our bodies through weight lifting it increases blood flow which increases the nutrients needed to promote muscle growth.
A good starting point or guideline is to take a week off of heavy training every 8-10 weeks. A week off of the gym lets you mentally take a break, lets your muscles repair, makes sure your not overtrained, but also gives you that extra motivation when you do get back the gym. After a week off the days back at the gym you are super focused and ready to attain new goals. I also feel a rest period gives you a new focus. It’s also a time to reflect on all your goals and reflect on everything you have accomplished. This is a time to make up a new routine, start a new activity, start to think about adding more weights and challenging yourself, it’s a time to start fresh.
Now with that being said a break is tough. I feel guilty and lazy since I wasn’t training. I get almost stubborn haha, I just want to keep training and maintain my normal routine. But its necessary. For me, I will continue with cardio on my week off. Of course, this all depends on your personal goals whether or not you omit cardio as well. Now this week off does not mean to stray from your normal healthy eating habits. I normally will cut out extra carbohydrates during a rest week. It’s important to maintain that and still remain active.
Letting your body rest is very important. It’s important to incorporate rest days or a rest week into your routine. Let your body recovery physically and mentally. Also, this is a great opportunity to start fresh with new goals.
Sources: www.self.com/story/this-is-what-happens-to-your-body-when-you-take-a-break-from-working-out. ISSA August 29, 2017 • 5 min read. “What Makes Muscles Grow?” Bodybuilding.com, 29 Aug. 2017, www.bodybuilding.com/fun/issa7.htm. Yeager November 04, 2016, Russell. “Using A Recovery Week To Propel Your Muscle-Building Efforts!” Bodybuilding.com, 3 Nov. 2016, www.bodybuilding.com/fun/russ24.htm Brown, Mary Marcia. “Can You Build Muscle If You Work Out Every Other Day?” LIVESTRONG.COM, Leaf Group, 11 Sept. 2017, www.livestrong.com/article/345319-can-you-build-muscle-if-you-work-out-every-other-day/.