I’m tired, my body hurts, my joints are aching…so this means I can quit, right? No, this means I need to take better care of my body. When I start to feel this way it generally means that proper rest and replenishment is what’s needed. Making sure that you receive the proper amount of rest is imperative to your growth.
Here is an article from bodybuilding.com that I think would be very helpful:
THE VALUE OF REST
It is rest that makes you stronger, because it is the rest that allows the muscles that you have broken down to heal and recover. It is the rest that allows you to recover so you can be strong, and thereby handle the increased weight, and increased number of sets and reps needed to gain further.
Why does rest play such an important role in muscle recovery? It is during sleep where Growth Hormone (GH) levels are at their highest. Physiologic improvement in bodybuilding can only occur during the rest period following hard training. This is also why consuming the proper foods and supplements immediately following such training is key.
Hard intense training (whether it is aerobic training which will challenge the cardiovascular system or weight training which will challenge the cardiovascular system to an extent and the muscular systems) conditions the body. Such workouts will improve efficiency of the heart, increase capillaries in the muscles bringing greater blood flow (more oxygen and nutrition), and increase glycogen stores and mitochondrial enzyme systems within the muscle cells (resulting in a much fuller look).
Immediately following a workout, during a recovery period these systems build to greater levels to compensate for the stress that you have applied. The result is that you are now at a higher level of performance. However, if proper recovery time (rest) is not given then the body can not regenerate.
The body will store less glycogen which is why you will look flat when you overtrain. If this imbalance between intense excess training and inadequate recovery (rest) time persists then performance will decline.
Without proper recovery time, not only will you reach a performance plateau, but you also will run the risk of injury, and may even experience reduced performance (less strength, less endurance, etc.).
NEEDED REST OR ARE YOU JUST BEING LAZY?
It is important to be able to discern the difference between needed rest and just laziness. There are a lot of factors that can contribute to how you are feeling and how your body will respond.
These Factors Include:
- Physical condition
- Emotional state
- Recuperation time; not necessarily in order of importance.
Regardless of whether I have a show or not I will always listen to my body when it comes to training and recuperation.
Having been training for over 25 years I follow instinctive training to gauge whether or not I need rest. How much I train, how often, how fast, how long and how heavy will all depend on my energy levels and how I feel.
Sometimes, I will opt to take a day off in the middle of my training split; sometimes I may slide a body part to the next day if my energy is off. Sometimes I won’t even take a day off and I might cycle through my routine 2x before taking the day off. It will all depend as to how I feel.
Because the mind can sometimes be tricky, in many cases I will always drive to the gym and attempt my workout to see if my lethargy is real. I have found that approximately 50% of the time once I get to the gym and start my workout I not alone have an amazing workout but I actually feel better (endomorphin release). Making myself go to the gym prevents my mind from psyching me out of a workout because I know I am forcing myself there.
There can be a fine line between resting your body for health and being lazy. When in doubt, ask yourself, “Am I avoiding a workout today because I don’t feel like going/don’t have the time/don’t want to push myself? Or, am I staying home because I’ve been pushing myself to my limit and need a break?” Only you can answer this question. Be strong, be indomitable, but be smart.
Rest your body so you CAN be better than the last time!