Rest can often be overlooked as part of a training regime, although it can be as important if not more so, than the hours spent slogging away in the gym. I advocate planned rest days and> longer recovery periods, although I will admit to not always taking my own advice!

In my current role working in the gym and> personal training, it is difficult to take sustained periods of rest. However I discovered recently just how important it is to take regular rest days and> if possible longer recovery periods. Since Christmas I have embarked on a new training programme which includes regular weight lifting and> heavier weights than I have previously used. As well as this I kept up with all my cardio training (Running/Swimming/Cycling) as I was thinking of competing in another triathlon. All this along with teaching a couple of exercise classes a week meant I was over doing it, without really realising. I’m a personal trainer right, I should be able to exercise all day every day – wrong! After a few weeks of this, I was completely exhausted, unable to move from the sofa. I allowed myself some rest time (3 days), missed a couple of training sessions and> slept slept slept! I felt a lot better afterwards – why? I gave my body time to recover and> this is the important bit rest = recovery!

When you are exercising either with weights or cardio, you are breaking down the body, including muscles and> other tissues and> you work in a fatigued state. You may not realise it, but it is likely you are not working at your best. This can result in lifting less weight and> lets face it rubbish workouts – you need to take a break. Not only to physically repair the muscles you are working but also to mentally recover and> get ready to go harder.

I train 5-6 times a week, taking at least one rest day in every week, usually a Sunday as this also tends to be my only full day off. Every 5-6 weeks I also think it is beneficial to have a recovery week. This doesn’t necessarily mean no exercise whatsoever and> just becoming a lazy bum – but undertaking lighter training sessions. Exercise such as walking, stretching, yoga or even just lifting lighter weights during this period can be utilised. The benefits to both mind and> body speak for themselves. I know I need a rest/recovery period when I start to miss workouts and> feel guilty for doing so. This is why planned recovery/rest helps as you can enjoy the time off without feeling guilty. You can take the planned rest knowing that your motivation will be restored, your body will have repaired itself and> you can go back to hitting the gym hard.

So why don’t you take a rest day…………I highly recommend it!