A question I get a lot is "do you take a rest day?" And "how many?"
Heck yes I take a rest day! Usually just one, but if my body needs more than that, then I take more! My background is in recovery and stretch therapy, so I know the importance of rest and will do what is necessary.
Resting is important for many reasons. The body needs time to recover, and if it doesn't, it can end up injured and overworked leading to a decline in overall performance. The key is always staying efficient and productive when working out.
In my other blog post, I discuss soreness and how it's crucial to recover those muscle groups before training them again. Aside from soreness, the muscles are also inflamed and fatigued. Training on unrecovered muscles is not productive and instead can inflict injury simply because the muscle tissue is damaged, inflamed, and requires healing time.
Essentially, if you don't properly recover, you could get injured or fatigued and not be able to train at all.
It is better to take small breaks than one large one that could result in potential muscle atrophy, loss of results, and even weight gain!
3 Things I Do To Recover
1. Stretching & Yoga
It took me overtraining and eventually injuring myself to learn the value of stretching. Shortly after this, I studied progressive dynamic stretching at a stretch therapy facility. I became versed in the entire muscular system and how to stretch each muscle group. This knowledge has transformed me into someone who is extremely conscious of my body and how CRUCIAL it is to stretch before and after a workout.
I complete a series of dynamic stretches before my workouts such as leg swings or hip circles. I then incorporate yoga poses, specifically Downward Facing Dog and Upward Dog, throughout my workout. Afterward, I do a series of static stretches and yoga to "lock in" my workout and cool down.
I have tried so many different forms of recovery- cold tubs, ice baths, cryotherapy, etc... and I am STILL a huge fan of the old fashion hot bath. When I am sore, I fill up my bathtub at home with Epson salts or just soap, and I sit in the tub (hot water) for about 25 minutes.
I always feel looser afterward and even the next day. This could be a personal opinion but I am a strong advocate and recommend baths to all of my clients.
3. Percussive Therapy
Ok- this is my new favorite. I use my Theragun and Hypervolt and I love them both.
Percussive therapy is amazing and extremely productive. I always say using my Theragun is like foam rolling but more efficient, 10x faster, and more pinpointed.
Percussive therapy targets and massages each muscle closely, increases circulation and range of motion, and stimulates the nervous system, sending messages to the brain that the muscle is now less tight and more capable of movement.
Immediately after I use my Theragun, I have an increased range of motion and any tightness I was having becomes benign.
I am a firm believer in rest days. Take them when your body needs them, not when it wants them.
Stretching, practicing yoga, and bathing (if you have a tub) are 3 amazing free ways to rest and recover. Once you get into your recovery, I highly recommend treating yourself to a Theragun or Hypervolt for additional recovery!