31 Jul The Importance of Rest
In a previous post, we spoke about the importance of a good night sleep for fat loss. When it comes to finding the balance between training days and rest days, it’s important to note that the rest days are as crucial as giving it your all on your training days.
We see it quite frequently where individuals are trying to achieve their goals whether it be endurance training, strength training or body composition, that people can have the tendency to over train but sometimes less is more for your body and your goals.
So, why are your rest days as important? When you train and exercise consistently, with each weight lifting session the muscles that are being trained are torn slightly. These tears can only repair during rest and this repair process is what makes your muscles stronger than before. Training your muscles hard (!) during sessions is equally as important giving yourself a rest day for your muscles to repair and recover.
If body composition is your goal, overtraining can also cause a fat loss plateau. It might seem a little strange as we are commonly taught that the more output of calories and energy consumption, the more fat loss will happen. However, overtraining can cause an increase of cortisol (see our cortisol post!) which in turn can cause the body to trigger the fight or flight response causing the body to hold on to whatever energy stores it can.
For females, overtraining can also have an effect on the menstrual cycle and depending on the individual, overtraining can cause the absence of menstruation. The absence of menstruation can be an indication that all is not well. The drop in estrogen can also cause premature bone loss making you even more prone to injury.
Rest days should really be planned so that you know what days you train and what days you take a rest. Otherwise, rest days can become rest weeks and no training happens at all and you subsequently slip into a routine of little or no training with the excuse that it is your ‘rest day/week’! If you’re unsure of nutrition and what you should be eating on rest days, check out our Carb Cycling post where examples are given for macros on rest days.
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