Whilst I pride myself on (and genuinely enjoy!) doing some form of exercise most days, I'm well aware that I don't use my rest days as effectively as I could do, and I really want to do something about it.
On a typical week, my workout schedule looks something like;
Monday - Gym
Tuesday - Bootcamp circuits
Wednesday - Yoga & or gym
Thursday - Bootcamp circuits
Friday - Gym
Saturday - Bootcamp circuits and / or a decent run
Sunday - Rest day
By the same token, my social schedule usually looks something like;
Monday - nothing. at. all. zzzzz.
Tuesday - nothing, don't be silly
Wednesday - still nothing, don't be silly
Thursday - cheeky glass of red with friends?
Friday - chilled night in
Saturday - usually travelling to some other part of the country after bootcamp to see friends or family, most usually a night out or a meal out...
Sunday - hangover / seeing friends / seeing family / travelling / eating out
Another thing I do is track macros every weekday, usually on a Saturday but most likely never on a Sunday. Which is coincidentally the day I'm really lax about my diet, more likely to be hungover and eat crap *and* it's the day I choose to not do any exercise - WINNER, not...
Of course, some Sundays I'll just fancy blasting out a run, or a big walk will be planned in, but as a general rule Sundays are my day off.
Why are rest days important?
I've been doing a bit of research into using rest days more effectively; why we need them and the benefits they have so I can try and get the most out of them!
We need rest days for muscle repair, for the body to repair, to prevent injury and to help with sleep, but as well as physiological benefits there are psychological ones too, like preventing burnout and boredom, as well as helping to keep a healthy balance (good article on 6 reasons that we need rest days here).
Rest days help the body cope with the stress of exercise, to replace energy stores and help repair tissues. There's a really useful, comprehensive article that goes into more detail on this on sportsmedicine.about.com, which has strict verification from a medical review policy. The article also highlights the need for sleep in aiding rest day effectiveness, which is also something I know I need to work on...
All in all, the fact I eat more and move less on my rest day probably isn't the best. I'm all for cheat days and 'refeeds' but when this is consistently happening on a rest day, it ain't gooood..
With this in mind, I'm trying to be better. Committing to them most importantly, but also learning how to use them effectively.
My rest day goals:
- Try to incorporate rest days into a day of the week where I'm not eating out / drinking / out of a routine.
- Track macros on rest days.
- Improve my sleep pattern (blog post to come)