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The Important of Taking Break Days (Certainly, Even In January)

The muscle building regimen I enrolled in on January 2 suggests completing a workout three times weekly. Meanwhile, I enjoy going for a run at least twice every week, and I engage in a workout session with my fitness pal every Tuesday.

With just one day left for relaxing, how can I manage to fit everything in? As an advocate for heeding your body’s signals and allowing it time to recuperate, I genuinely need to follow my own guidance this month. Even amidst the backdrop of a new year urging you to “keep pushing,” it is crucial to pause, and alternate strenuous workouts with rest days.

“Particularly at the beginning of a new year when enthusiasm is high and there’s an emphasis on constant activity, rest days are crucial to prevent burnout or a loss of enthusiasm following the initial new year surge,” states Tonal coach Kristina Centenari.

However, the psychological aspect of rest for sustaining motivation isn’t the sole reason why incorporating breaks is essential. Rest is actually fundamental in attaining the fitness objectives you’ve set your sights on.

“Many individuals see rest days as separate from training,” highlights Centenari. “However, if we consider our bodies as a system, rest days are essential to your training regimen and ensuring the overall function of your system.”

“If you don’t take breaks, you’re not training correctly.” — Coach Kristina Centenari

When we subject ourselves to the “controlled stress” of muscle-building, what we’re essentially doing is causing micro-tears in the muscle fibers. For these muscles to grow stronger, those tears need to heal—or, as Centenari explains, return to their “baseline.” Centenari cautions against “pushing your body harder than it can recover,” as it could result in pain or injury, hindering your progression towards making those muscles stronger.

Your nervous system also needs a breather. “Exercising places your body in a state of arousal, activating your nervous system and placing you in a ‘fight or flight’ mode,” Centenari points out. “This state is advantageous for training. Yet, failing to incorporate resting periods will elevate your cortisol levels, making it difficult for your nervous system to shift into a relaxed state. This disturbance can disrupt your hormonal balance, affect your sleep, change your mood, and impact your digestion—all of which are harmful to your overall well-being.”

Have you ever attempted a workout challenge when you’re fatigued, irritable, or suffering from a stomach upset? That is not a recipe for a successful outcome!

The form of rest may vary from one person to another. Nevertheless, it generally entails refraining from exercise while concentrating on adequate sleep, flexibility, and nutrition.

I comprehend that feeling at the end of a day when I haven’t engaged in an intense workout, and the pang of guilt that accompanies it. Nevertheless, it’s time to release that guilt, particularly at the beginning of the year when we’re striving to establish positive routines.

“If you’re neglecting to rest, you’re not training effectively,” Centenari emphasizes. “By not training correctly, you may be jeopardizing your chances for long-term success. Honor the importance of rest.”

Looking for some inspiration to rest? Attempt this mobility routine to loosen up those joints while giving your muscles and nervous system a well-deserved break from your more demanding workouts.

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