Rest day is one of the most important days in your training routine, as it gives your muscles the time they need to rest and recover properly to get stronger and bigger.
MP Clothing have been working hard to design the perfect rest day fit, and they’ve finally cracked it with their latest collection — Rest Day. Featuring a range of hoodies, joggers, T-shirts, sweat shorts and more comfy classics, all made with fabric that prioritises comfort over everything else, the Rest Day collection is ideal for lounging around or a light active-recovery walk.
You don’t need an excuse to take a hard-earned day off, but some people may be sceptical of the importance of rest days, so we’ve recruited PT Sim Farrington to explain exactly what a rest day is and why it’s crucial for muscle recovery and growth. Here’s what she had to say.
What is a rest day?
A rest day is a day off from training, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you must sit around doing nothing. It may mean you have an Epsom salt bath, kick back and watch a box set, but a rest day can also involve active recovery, so gentle low-impact exercise.
Your body and mind need rest days to help you grow and heal. They help to prevent injury and you from burning out, both mentally and physically.
Have a think about what a rest day means to you and how to implement them into your schedule. Be consistent with your rest days and self-care — your gains will thank you!
Why should you take a rest day?
1. To let your body heal and allow your muscles to recover
Each time you train you create tiny tears in your muscle tissue. When you rest your muscles heal and grow back stronger. Muscles develop while you’re repairing, resting and refuelling.
2. Reduce the risk of injury
If you’re constantly training you will become fatigued, which increases your risk of injury.
3. Avoid mental burnout
If you become mentally burnt out, your workouts will be less productive, and it could affect your mental health. Avoiding mental burnout means you can focus on getting the most out of your workouts, focusing on technique and planning your workouts to ensure you’re smashing your goals.
How often should you have a rest day?
Everyone is different, and some people require more rest than others. It also depends on the type and intensity of training you‘re doing. The general recommendation is to take two rest days per week for optimum performance. But you should always listen to your body and take more if you are feeling fatigued.
How to make the most of your rest day
It can be difficult to allow yourself a rest day, especially if you’re on a roll, smashing your training and feeling the highs of those endorphins flowing. But you can have productive rest days if you’re not in the mood for relaxing.
A rest day can look different to each of us; there’s no one size fits all approach.
Active Rest vs Full Rest
If you’re feeling good you may want to take part in some light exercise such as walking, swimming, restorative yoga or a gentle ride on a spin bike. You could try foam rolling, which increases blood flow and lymph function to muscle tissue to help recovery.
You don’t build up as much lactic acid in your tissues, minimising post-workout soreness and stiffness.
Active recovery can help to get rid of lactate that accumulates in the blood and would otherwise settle within the body.
Having one full rest day a week is a good idea and can be a good chance to catch up with friends or catch up on a box set.
Other ideas for rest days are meditation, a good day or night out, or a self-care evening. My favourite is a spa day or massage.
Ultimately, you want to build long term healthy habits that support your goals; having some flexibility within your schedule and some time to reset will help you to avoid burnout.
Use others for inspiration, but try not to compare your journey to someone else’s.
Trust the process and listen to your body; you’ll come back stronger and more likely to smash those PBs.
Take home message
Rest day is just as vital as a heavy push day in your training routine. Giving your body the time it needs to recharge is how you build back stronger for your next sesh.
Take on Sim’s tips and get kitted out for your rest day antics in the brand new collection. Soft fabrics and comfy silhouettes made for chilling.