Rest is a Weapon
In a motivated town like Fernie, it is rare to hear people talking about their rest days. There seems to be an associated guilt that comes with a “rest day” or a weekend that didn’t include an epic adventure… and we need to get over it! People who “go hard” often end up in our office recovering from overuse injury or struggling with plateaus, stress, poor sleep, poor nutrition, and bad exercise habits. AKA burnout. You do not want this, it sucks and is actually pretty hard to recover from. “Rest is a weapon” is the mantra of Jason Bourne and he is definitely onto something!
What rest does for the body:
-Restocks glycogen (energy) stores -Tissue repair -Builds strength
-Minimizes fatigue -Reduces overuse injuries -Avoids mental burnout
What exactly does rest mean? The amount of rest you need depends on the intensity and frequency of training you are doing. If you are an elite athlete working out hard three to five sessions weekly in addition to three to six sessions of your sport, you are best to have a rest day with only a casual walk as your limit in order to recharge for the following week. Every eight weeks, you should incorporate a de-load week where your intensity is lightened and increase your soft tissue, mobility and flexibility. Elite athletes usually have a periodized strength-training regime (pre-season strength, on season maintenance, post season recovery) so depending on what phase of your sport you are in, rest should also be adjusted accordingly.
If you are currently a non-competing athlete or motivated Fernie-ite who works out/participates in classes three to five sessions weekly, your rest day can include light sports, yoga or a hike as long as it is a change from what you are doing during the week. A proper day off indulging in board games may also be just what your body needs, leaving you recharged and feeling strong as you start your next training session.
If you are new to the gym, try starting with alternate strength and cardio days so you are starting with two to three strength sessions weekly. Listen to your body and if you are feeling tired it is okay to have a lighter workout as you are building a base. Plan something different from the gym during your rest days such as a walk or yoga class or even a full blown non-guilty day off. It is important to set realistic sustainable goals, rather than jump into working out five days a week!
Meditation can also be a huge asset in switching your mind off. If you are new to meditation I would recommend checking out “Headspace.” It is an app you can download with free ten-minute meditations that you can do anywhere there is wifi.
Sleep is also a weapon. Just ask someone who is not sleeping how effective he or she is feeling. Try to set a regular bedtime, limit screen time before bed and if you find yourself lying awake at night, try to appreciate that you are resting and see if you can go five minutes without thinking about anything.
The most important thing is to listen to your body and watch for signs of overtraining. Experiment with your rest days to see what works best to keep you recharged.
“Yeah, I’m kind of a big deal.
Xo, Rest day”