6 signs you need a rest day

27 August 2017 by
First published: 1 June 2015

While balancing an impressive combination of spin, Pilates, yoga and circuits every week is definitely something to be applauded, there does come a point where you need to take time out, so here are 5 signs you need a rest day. It’s vital to include rest days in your programme to allow yourself time to recover and stave off injury. If you can tick one or more of the following statements, it’s time to have a long, hard look at your schedule.

1. You lack energy
Being fit usually goes hand in hand with having boundless energy; but a lack of rest days can lead to you feeling lethargic, making it harder to get up in the morning and concentrate throughout the day.

2. You have no motivation
Working out regularly without rest days can lead to loss of interest in exercising. We all have days when we don’t feel like training, but if you go days, or even weeks, without wanting to work out, it’s time to listen to your body. Zuzana Kubisova, personal trainer at Stayfitbreakfree and Fitfarms, says, ‘You need rest days for proper recovery and adaptation. A break from training gives you a chance you get your strength back. Rest days can also work as a great motivation to reward yourself when you don’t feel like training. You can even make it something you look forward to by making time for meditation, booking a massage or organising a spa day.’

3. You have injuries
No rest can lead to injuries that can occur because your muscles are exhausted and weakened. If you continue to overload your muscles and body without rest, it will eventually give in.

4. You feel sick
A relentless training programme can lead to a weakening of your immune system. If you are starting to get headaches and colds more regularly, it’s time to take a break.

5. You have ongoing muscle soreness
It’s common to get delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after an intense workout session, but it should only last a few days. If your muscles are continuously sore, this is a strong indicator that you need to rest.

6. You’re not making any progress
On rest days your body repairs and recovers. Lack of results and progress can be a major sign that you aren’t resting your body; so, if your weight loss, muscle gain and fitness have plateaued or taken a tumble downhill, it’s time to take a break.

Clifton Fearon, personal trainer and owner of Enlite Fitness, says, ‘If you’re looking to lose weight, increase muscle size, or improve cardio fitness the body does need to have rest days to help it to recover and build up the strength and energy that has been depleted during your workouts.

‘It gives your body and mind time to rest and recharge so that you are stronger, fitter and focused for your next session. Your body repairs itself during your rest days by replenishing with good nutrition and eight hours of solid sleep. A lack of rest days can cause the body to break down and this will affect your workout goals in a negative way.’