Every athlete who strives for a high level knows that recovery in a workout rest day can be like a second job. Proper nutrition, proper amount of sleep, activity, the list is really long … The body is your car and you have to give it the right fuel and the right maintenance.
While an athlete is doing one workout, the other one is already painted on the board, and another one is being planned in the head. High motivation to be better than you are now and than others, concentration on the result and the intended goals allow to reach heights. But until a certain point.
One day, an athlete stops listening to what his body tells him. The only thing he feels is a constant fatigue, low mood, trauma. The question arises in his head: what is happening to me? And this is nothing but a lack of proper physical and mental rest.
Let’s start from the beginning
Recovery is a term used to describe the process of adaptation of our body to the loads caused by training. For a healthy body, this term means a positive response to stress factors such as exercise.
Rest, both mental and physical, is necessary for the proper recovery of muscles and the whole body. Its quality determines how quickly we can see the progress and results of daily trainings. Workout rest day is something irreplaceable in the training plan. This is a time not only to fully recover, to accumulate strength, but also to distract from daily routine activities. How many people actually include workout rest days in their training plan?
Workout rest day as a part of training
It often turns out that people who start their sports way, especially in bodybuilding and CrossFit, often seek quickly achieving the effect of exercise. They quickly lose fat and build muscle. And they train without rest every day. Meanwhile, this is the first mistake they make.
Without enough time to relax after a workout, it’s harder to build the body of your dreams or improve physical performance. Constant intensive exercises will only lead to the fact that our body will no longer be able to cope with the load, we will be weaker, the threshold of both psychological and physical discomfort will be reduced.
Body and mind depend on each other. When our body is sick, our mind is not in the best shape. The same situation happens in the opposite direction, when too much happens in our lives, stress leads to physical fatigue, inefficiency and weakness.
All these symptoms are also experienced by athletes. And although it is often difficult to accept this, it is important to include workout rest days in the training plan. Thanks to this, we will not only achieve the intended results, but also our cardiovascular system, especially the heart, will work much better.
Below in points there are the main, most important reasons why “workout rest day” is necessary. It helps:
– avoid overtraining (muscle pain, constant fatigue, lack of energy),
– avoid injury,
– to keep motivation necessary for further training,
– reduce emotional stress,
So you have to learn to relax!
How to spend workout rest day
The workout rest day should be less active and less intense in the first place. You can spend it in two ways.
Rest or complete laziness – we lie on the couch and spend the whole day on it, visit friends, go to the cinema.
Active recreation – physical activity of medium strength, such as cycling with a friend or swimming pool.
Your “workout rest day” in the first place should be pleasant and carefree. The only way you will relax and physically and mentally.
To make the workout rest day effective, it is important to remember about:
Healthy diet. Training is hard work that significantly reduces energy, water, vitamins and minerals. A balanced diet allows you to cover the current needs of the body.
Quality of sleep. Good sleep is necessary to maintain health, but even more important to achieve high sports results. During sleep, the entire muscular and nervous system is restored. Emotional tension is also reduced.
Mental attitude. On the workout rest day you should do completely different things than your favorite training – read books, listen to music, walk. It is very important to keep the mind at least for some time away from trainings and even from thinking about them.
Warm-up before a training. The body, prepared for training, undergoes less damage, which leads to a faster recovery after training.
Work on breathing. There is a close relationship between breathing and our psyche. The rhythm of breathing changes under the influence of thoughts and emotions that we experience. Focus on your breathing. Slow and deep belly breathing (diaphragmatic breathing) calms the mind.
Health spa. When your training is carried out daily (in some cases even 2-3 times a day), the body do not have enough time to fully relax. Then there is a need to include in your training plan the wellness treatments – sauna, bath, massage.
Schultz’s autogenic training can be useful. It is a relaxation technique based on self-hypnosis, that is, imposing feelings such as a feeling of warmth and heaviness in different areas of the body. This relaxation reduces the mental stress of the athlete, improves his concentration, restores the proper functioning of the nervous system, affects the immune system.
The Jacobsen’s Method. Jacobson’s progressive muscle relaxation method involves training in sequential tension and relaxation of various muscle groups throughout the body. This exercise reduces stress, muscle tension, improves the quality of sleep, improves the functioning of the internal organs.
Imaginative techniques – visualization involves creating and imagining certain situations in the mind using images, sounds, scents, etc. It is one of the most famous techniques used among athletes. Visualization not only relaxes our body and head, but also teaches us new skills, allows us to improve techniques, correct mistakes, fight destructors and strengthens concentration and self-confidence.
Training, no matter what sport activity you do, is your means to increase the body’s capabilities. But focusing only on training is a methodological mistake. If you want to achieve maximum results and benefits from your hard work, remember that rest is an essential part of your workout.
Training works only when you teach to rest.