When it comes to fitness we often talk about things like getting motivated, reaching goals, and pushing yourself. Let’s talk about something that’s just as important which is overtraining and taking rest days.

We live in an all or nothing society so we play with extremes instead of trying to find balance. We’re either really struggling to motivate ourselves to workout or we’re on a roll and want to it every day. At North Corner Studios we’re not just looking to offer great classes, we’re also looking to teach our members how to workout properly.

When you are doing intense workouts, it can stress out your body. Too much of this stress can lead to overuse injuries, muscle strains, and joint pain. Overtraining occurs when you workout out past your bodies ability to recover. Some of the symptoms you may experience if you are overtraining include:

  • Decreased performance
  • Fatigue
  • Altered hormonal states
  • Poor sleep patterns
  • Reproductive disorders
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood swings
  • Suppressed immune system
  • Injuries

There are many professional recommendations out there as to what the appropriate amount of intense activity is recommended. There are also a number of factors that play into this such as intensity of your workouts, the total volume of your weekly training, training experience, and age. We encourage you to do your own research based on where you currently are and we also want to empower you to listen to your body.

Once you understand what physically occurs on a rest day, you will see why you need to account for it in your plan. Resting is just as important as working out because it’s an equal part of the process of changing your body. It’s required to build strength, endurance, and muscle. Working out, especially resistance training, breaks down body tissue. In fact, resistance training breaks down your muscles causing microscopic tears. Rest days allow muscles, nerves, and connective tissue time to rebuild.

A few other key components to recovery are hydration, nutrition, and sleep. Properly hydrating and nourishing your body is where your body needs your help! What we put into our bodies can either be supporting this process or making it much harder. Nourish your body with healthy, nutrient dense foods and supplements that will support the body in rebuilding stronger muscles. There are a number of benefits to getting enough sleep, especially when it comes to our muscles. When we are in REM sleep the body’s production of growth hormones increases, aiding in the repairing and rebuilding of muscles.

Take advantage of your rest days and enjoy them! We are not saying sit on the couch and do nothing (although that’s certainly ok too). Use this time to explore something you’ve wanted to or that will contribute to your mental well-being, such as:

  • Healthy meal prepping
  • Reading/listening to personal development
  • Restorative yoga
  • Taking a walk
  • Meditating
  • Sleeping
  • Soaking in a hot tub or Epsom salt bath
  • Foam rolling
  • Stretching
  • Or simply relaxing

Taking all of these factors into consideration, we want you to lay out a balanced fitness plan for yourself. If you have any questions or are unsure about how many rest days you should be taking, talk to one of our NCS coaches next time you’re in for a workout. They would be happy to provide a customized recommendation for you.

This is what whole mind/whole body empowerment looks like … embrace it!