Take a Rest Day

“No days off!” they said, “Please, PLEASE, take a rest” your body says.

As stated in our blog Common Fitness Myths Debunked!: “Intense workouts 7 days a week for weeks at a time SOUNDS like a really great way to keep fit and maintain muscle. However, your body needs rest in order to properly repair and restore the muscles. Just as proper nutrition, exercise and sleep are important, so are rest and days off from the gym. Taking the time to let your body recharge is crucial for not only your muscles, but also your overall health, mind and life balance.”

Personally, I have struggled with allowing myself to take proper rest days. I would get so set in my routine and focused on my goals, that I would push myself so hard and end up with some sort of pain, which I would then ignore. Ignoring the signs that my body would need a rest, resulted in not only injury, but would force me to have to stop and rest my body to repair the injury. Luckily, I learned how to properly rehab and take care of my body when needed, but couldn’t this have been avoided if I just listened to my body in the first place? The answer is yes. Your body will send signals, such as pain, when it is in danger of a larger injury and needs rest. I have gone through many trial and errors through my fitness journey so far and one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made is not listening to my body and confusing exhaustion with lack of motivation. I had to learn that it is OKAY to slow down every now and again. It is OKAY to rest and recharge. I even often found myself feeling stronger and more motivated once I took that time to myself.

Sometimes, when you have a fitness goal in mind and find your groove, it is hard to slow down for fear that your efforts and results will backtrack, just as I once felt. However, that could not be further from the truth. Your body is smart. When it is beat up over and over again, it has no time to recover. Not taking rest days can eventually slow down your progress and dim your motivation due to exhaustion. Just as it takes discipline to get to the gym and stay on your diet, it also takes discipline to rest.

Remember: train hard, recover harder. Take an active rest day! A rest day does not always mean lay on the couch and do nothing, although that is also nice and feels good some days. Get out and ride a bike, go on a walk, swim- anything! Enjoy your life and enjoy reaping the physical and mental benefits from resting your body.


Common Fitness Myths Debunked!

Many people get so caught up in the latest diet and workout “fads”, that the truths behind health and fitness are often forgotten or ignored. Everyone wants a “quick fix” or an easy answer to weight loss and getting ripped abs in the least amount of time. However, many of these “fads” or “trends” are not the answer.

Here are some common myths that people get hung up on in the fitness industry:

1. Cardio and Constant Caloric Deficit is the Only Way to Getting Muscle Tone And  Lose Weight
Naturally, based on science, a caloric deficit along with physical exercise, results in weight loss. However, a lot of people who are looking to lose weight while still getting toned, are sometimes under the impression that cardio and minimal eating is the secret key to muscle tone.  Although cardio is a great supplement to other forms of exercise and does aid in weight loss, it is not the answer for muscle tone. Muscles must be worked and repaired in order to gain and maintain muscle. Weightlifting, compound movements and circuit training with weights, all aid in burning fat while also building that muscle tone that is so often longed for.  You can probably imagine what I am going to mention next. You’re right, nutrition! When your body goes through intense weight workouts, your body needs to be refueled in order to rebuild and maintain the muscle you just worked so hard for. If you are eating excess calories of the wrong things, you will gain fat. However, if you are eating the right things, your body will use that food to burn fat - even after your workout! Your body is smart. If you put yourself into a crazy caloric deficit for a long period of time, your body will think it is starving. It will store the water, carbs and fat that you do give to it, which is not ideal for long term weight loss goals. It is important that you are nourishing your body with nutrient dense food in order to maintain proper functions- especially, for long term weight loss.

2. You Only Work Your Abs by Doing Ab Exercises
Crunches, v ups, few and small meals, more crunches, equals abs...right? Wrong! There are other, and more sustainable, ways to get abs and reach your weight loss goals. Abdominal exercises are key to integrate into your workout routine to make sure you are hitting all of the right spots. However, engaging your core during any exercise will lead to a stronger core. Your legs and back are a big part of your core. They all work together to keep your body stable. Performing any exercise, especially posterior and compound movements, require a braced and stable core. Taking the time to think about your abdomen during your workouts, will increase core strength and help you, not only get the abs that you want, but also reduce possible injury and pain while doing other exercises.

3. Abs Are Only Made in The Kitchen 
If you eat right, you’ll get abs. You don’t really need to workout. True or False? False! Other than those blessed with genetics that allow for a naturally chiseled abdomen, just eating healthy will not tone your abs. Like every other muscle, your abs need to be worked out in order to get toned. A healthy diet WILL however, help this process and make it easier to get toned abs and sustain them. Make sure you are incorporating ab exercises into your routine. If you often forget or get lazy after your workout, try doing some ab exercises while either watching TV or while dinner is in the oven. If you have difficulty thinking of some core workouts, check out our Core In 4 routines. They are easy and minimal to no equipment is needed.

4. No Days Off 
Intense workouts 7 days a week for weeks at a time SOUNDS like a really great way to keep fit and maintain muscle. However, your body needs rest in order to properly repair and restore the muscles. Just as proper nutrition, exercise and sleep are important, so are rest and days off from the gym. Taking the time to let your body recharge is crucial for not only your muscles, but also your overall health, mind and life balance. Many tend to obsess over getting ripped abs, wanting to hit unrealistic weight loss goals every week and working their body so hard and still not being satisfied. What if I told you that if you gave your body a day or two a week to rest, you may start to see the results you are looking for? Keep this in mind the next time someone says “no days off!” or next time your body feels like it needs rest. It is trying to tell you something! Slow down and take the rest if you need it.

As you can see, there is no “quick fix” and many social myths when it comes to staying fit. Losing weight and getting the muscle tone and tummy that you want takes time and consistency. Be patient with yourself and stay motivated; it is possible to achieve your fitness goals!