Understanding the important benefits that consistent daily exercise brings into your life can become a beautiful thing once you learn how to implement it. The benefits are insermountable and extremely humbling. But just as daily movement is vital for your health, so is rest.
The body doesn’t recover when it is actively working, the body does all of its great work while it is sleeping and resting.
This is an important topic. I have found moments of struggle finding the proper way to rest and recover on days off from the gym.
There is a great deal of energy and focus that is present when focusing on your consistency with daily exercise and nutrition. On days off, you may find yourself struggling with figuring out how to turn off that switch.
If you don’t apply the proper focus on your days off from the gym, or your rest days, you could find yourself falling off track rather easily. You may even find yourself over training. Which, over training is not something that you want to tap into, too often.
From experience, over training has its benefits, but if pushed too far, it can be detrimental to your progress. You can find yourself burnt out rather quickly and completely veering off course from your goals.
I try to harness my days off from the gym in a more progressive fashion.
First, I had to look at the day differently, from the rest of the days that I was active. I had to re-create the meaning of an off day, and force myself to understand the fundamentals.
This is where the mental shift takes place and a new perspective is gained.
Here Are 5 Key Areas To Stay Focused On Throughout Your Rest Days And Days Off From The Gym:
1. Take A Load Off
Use your rest day to actually give the body a day off from strenuous exercise. Most people don’t remember how great a dose of physical exercise in the day feels, but if done properly, it feels great.
Exercise is a great way to challenge your mind, body, and spirit. In fact, it can be so positive that when your rest day rolls around, you find yourself having trouble turning off that switch.
It’s during these moments, that you must apply patience and remind yourself that the body needs its rest.
On days off from the gym, use your time to take a load off your joints and let your body recover.
Many people use a rest day, and actively recover by attending a yoga session or going for a walk.
While I have dabbled in active recovery days, it gets to a point where you just simply need a day to take a day off and just rest.
2. Increase Your Water Intake
A day off from the gym can make you lose your momentum on many different levels that you typically pay attention to, such as your water intake.
I make a strong consistent effort to take in 1 gallon of water daily. This is not something that I just started to implement, so before you go thinking this is impossible to do, remind yourself that habits like these take time to implement.
Making sure that we are proactive about our water intake is important to our recovery, and our rest.
Not only have I found that water intake keeps me fuller longer throughout the day, but it also plays a significant role in my recovery.
Hydrating the body properly can provide you with a nice feeling once you get back into the physical training the following day. If you stay consistent with a habit like hydrating yourself sufficiently, just one day that goes by where you may have slacked on your water intake, you feel it.
3. Don’t Eat Like An A**hole
I don’t know about you, but a day off from the gym, or a recovery day, just screams “free-day of eating” 😂.
It can become super easy to binge on delicious foods, and put yourself into a mental fog the following day.
I find this one tip extremely important. Especially, if you are trying to make some sort of physical progress.
On your days off from the gym, you want to find a good balance to properly re-fuel yourself, and stay mindful not to over eat. After all, on your rest day, you will find yourself with limited movement throughout your day. This translates to the body not requiring as much fuel for the day.
I have found that a great way to stay ahead of this one, is to stay dialed in on your nutrition. Don’t just let it go. Especially, on your rest days.
When I say dialed in, I don’t mean dieting, or restrictions. It is just about staying mindful of how you may feel the day after you have gone overboard on poor food choices.
Things to look out for: your weight may shoot up due to an excess of sodium and calories, your energy may be on the floor, you may feel moments of regret for eating like an a**hole. These are all the things to keep in mind.
The goal is to move forward and make progress, not set yourself back.
Just because it is a day off from the gym, it shouldn’t mean it is a day off from being mindful of how much you are feeding yourself. It took me a while to learn this.
4. Put The Extra Energy To Good Use
Finding yourself with extra energy can become a bit stressful if you don’t properly expend that energy.
If you exercise daily, then you know what it feels like on a rest day, or day off from the gym, where you find yourself with extra energy on your hands.
Put the extra energy to good use for yourself.
Try to find a few things that you can do in order to use the extra energy you have, towards things that will propel you throughout the week. In taking this approach, you can knock out quite a few things that you normally don’t have the energy for.
Let’s face it, working out and taking care of your body, is no easy task. It can drain you.
Taking advantage of your rest days, and days off from driving to the gym, can really help you towards accomplishing those other tasks you have coming up.
Maybe with the extra energy, you can use the time to clean and organize the house for the week, or you can use the time to knock out a research paper for school, work on some homework with your children, revise your goals for the week—the possibilities are endless.
You just have to take the time to prioritize where your extra energy is going to go and then execute.
5. Get Outside
When you factor in your weekly schedule, how much time do you allocate to spending it outdoors?
When you factor in all of the indoor activities such as; you sleep inside, work indoors, we drive to and from work, we rest and recover indoors—you quickly begin to see how little time we spend under sunlight.
Being outdoors is something that can be extremely therapeutic. Getting some natural sunlight and taking your mind to outdoor activities can become an excellent way to rest and recover.
We must remember that rest is not just for the body, but the mind as well. There is an immense amount of focus, energy, and drive that is being expended throughout a process such as physical movement. Especially, when you are consistent.
Take some time to get you and your family outdoors and take in some beautiful scenery. Take in scenery that you would not necessarily get to experience throughout your day-to-day schedule.