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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

And on the 7th Day....I RESTED

It's that day of the week that every exercise junkie dreads....rest day.




Hi, my name is ____________ and I am an exercise addict.

You all know this person; in their eyes, if they didn't work out one day they bed worrying that they got a little fatter and probably lost all the muscle and strength they had worked so hard for.  People may think this way even though they  KNOW this couldn't be further from the truth.


A lot of people fall into the misconception that if a little bit is good, than a lot is better! This can be true for some (i.e. if you weigh 400 lbs than there is no such thing as too much time on the stair climber).  However, for those individuals who try to train/lift/workout all out, give 110%, balls out, day in and day out than you may be  hindering your potential to improve.  It may sound crazy but it's on your off-days that you actually get bigger and stronger.  if you are training at a high intensity, you are actually causing micro-tears and other cellular damage to occur within your muscles.  Just like restoring an old building, sometimes you just have to tear down the old stuff to make room for the new stuff.  In a nutshell, this is how muscle growth works.  You damage your muscles and therefore are essentially forcing them to come back bigger and better than before.  So not only is your time in the gym important but so is your time away from the gym.  This is also the reason why you should try to avoid training the same body part/muscle groups on consecutive days as those muscles need proper time to recover.


Proper sleep and nutrition are not only important on training days but they may be even MORE important on your rest days.  You need to make sure you keep your protein intake up in order to support the increased rate of protein synthesis occurring as a result of your training.  This is especially the case for the weekend warriors who during the week eat right, get a solid 8 hrs of sleep, workout every day and then when the weekend comes around they party for 48 hours, eat like crap and then expect to pick it right up where they left off on Monday.  Then refer to their weekend as their "rest days."  Not only will the extra (and worthless) calories from alcohol likely lead to increases in body fat, research has shown that alcohol can lower growth hormone and testosterone levels which are key players in muscle growth and recovery.  A lack of sleep can also hinder your recovery and can have negative effects that last several days.

One thing I should mention, is that rest days or off-days don't have to consist of 12 hrs of couch time (unless it's football season).  Your off-day can consist of light activities or even your normal exercise routine but just drop the resistance/intensity way down.  Or this would be a great time to incorporate some of the mobility exercises that we post on our Mobility Mondays.

So, moral of the story: Train hard and rest hard!
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