The Most Important Day for your Healthy Lifestyle

Can sometimes also be the most challenging day:

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Rest Day.

I say that as I write this from my bed, which I’m still snuggled up in, having just barely woken up.

Some people may be envious of that statement, seeing as it is 12:19pm on a Tuesday….yet, here I am, feeling guilty. I’m feeling like I should be doing something; I should be going to the gym, I should be at least taking a walk, I should get up and move around, I should have pushed through the fatigue hours ago instead of going back to bed and surelyshould eat nothing but a few sticks of broccoli since I’m living the life of a sloth today.

Does anyone else have these kind of negative thoughts when you’re really doing something beneficial? Why do we feel guilty when we’ve been working so hard that we’re mentally and physically run down and finally take the rest we need? Why do we feel guilty if we just need to sleep in an extra hour instead of going for that early morning workout? Why do we feel guilty after one cheat meal? Why do we feel guilty when we come home from an indulgent vacation? Why do we feel guilt when we do things that are actually healthy and beneficial to our well being?

Of course, sleeping in every day, indulging every day or skipping work outs everyday isn’t the best or healthiest thing, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about rest in moderation, just like how everything else should be in moderation. I have not taken a day off from the gym in weeks. My day off is usually Sunday but I teach a cycle class on Sunday mornings now so I know it’s not a full day off.

Apparently, today it caught up with me. Since New Years I set a goal for myself to make every workout count. So, if I’m in the gym I’m there to work and really push myself. I’ve been good about hitting that goal, everyday. On Saturdays I usually teach two cycling classes back to back but this past Saturday I volunteered to teach an hour long charity ride, a third for the day. I also went to the gym early that morning (I knew I shouldn’t have, but I let this voice take over). Dan and I were supposed to go out for dinner but by the time I got home I was so utterly exhausted I couldn’t even bear the idea of getting dressed up and going back out. It was also pouring rain, cold and already dark by 4:30pm so we decided to call it a night and order in. However, I know that despite the weather, had I not overexerted myself we would’ve still had our date night. My workouts this week were also really intense. I was still sore from them and by Saturday evening I felt like I’d been run over by a truck. Did I also mention I’ve also been working 7 days a week? On Sunday my friend wanted to meet at the gym and work out; I knew it’d be intense and I was beyond tired but I figured I’d push through and take off on Monday. So I went to the gym, worked my tail off, came home, had to go do some more volunteer work for another gym I work for, so I showered and was back out the door until dinner time. Monday morning I was up at 4:40 to teach my 5:45am cycling class. I came home, worked a few more hours and decided I was NOT going to the gym and promptly parked my behind on the couch. Except that I got bored, got up, cooked dinner and quinoa, photographed, did some chores and blogged. I was tired; I passed right out around 9pm last night. I set my alarm for 7:30 this morning thinking I would sleep in, wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed and hop off to work and then hit the gym.

Nope.

I woke up at 6:40, felt ok, a bit hazy, but I figured it’d surpass after I ate and had some coffee. I did that and realized I was still not only hazy but completely SHOT. As in, walking to the bathroom seemed like an excruciating task that I did not have the energy to accomplish. I went back into my room to make the bed and realized that if I layed down in it, I’d probably pass out until tomorrow. Then I felt my head and realized I felt really warm. Sure enough, I had a little fever. So, I crawled back into bed and didn’t wake up until now, and actually questioned what time I should go work out.

Then I got up, splashed some water on my face, looked in the mirror and reminded myself, out loud, that I am crazy. Then I said, “YOU are not working out today. You are resting and you’re not feeling guilty about it. Go lay down, you NEED it”. Therefore, here I am.

Here’s what we forget about “rest day”, it’s actually the MOST important day when it comes to training. Rest Day is the day when our muscles repair and rebuild themselves, aka, the day that they grow STRONGER. If we don’t incorporate our rest days we never give our muscles rest and we end up overtraining them and doing just the opposite of what we intended to do! Overtraining makes them weaker and even risks injury! I know I am training with my gym buddy tomorrow and I know the workout will be sweaty and killer. So, I’m going to take my rest now so I can power through tomorrow with the sufficient amount of energy I’ll need (provided my fever subsides by then, of course). It’s the same with sleep. Sleep is the one thing I pontificate about the MOST; ask my clients, I always drill in the importance of sleep. I go to bed between 9pm-9:45pm to assure I get a full 8 hours before my early wake up calls. Your muscles also repair themselves while you sleep!

My point of this whole rant is that we shouldn’t be feeling guilty for listening to our bodies and giving them what they NEED. If you’re so tired that you’re not functioning at your optimal level you may, in fact, be burned out, desperately in need of a rest day or even possibly overtraining. Look back at your previous week/weeks and see how strenuous your work/activities have been. Are you under a great deal of stress? Sometimes we just need one of these days to relax, rebuild and recharge. It’s perfectly ok, normal and healthy. Sure, sometimes we need to remind ourselves that and sometimes it can be challenging to do so, especially in our go-go-go society. Honestly, how many people may judge me as simply being lazy today? I don’t know how many hashtags I’ve seen all over Instagram and Facebook like #teamnodaysoff. I’m sorry, what? TAKE DAYS OFF. Sometimes it’s hard for me to even take my own advice, but, I won two very competitive fitness competitions and while training for both I consistently took 2-3 days OFF COMPLETELY per week!! Some weeks I only worked out 3 times because the workouts were so intense and my body simply needed that rest time to repair and come back even stronger. I may have been feeling a bit guilty earlier, but I do feel much better now and hopefully my body will be feeling back to normal tomorrow and ready to get back into it all.

Sorry for the wordy post, sometimes a girl’s gotta rant 😉

xox

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