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The Importance of
Rest Days for Fitness

Why You Need Rest Days for Optimal Fitness Performance.

The Importance of Rest Days for Fitness

Why You Need Rest Days for Optimal Fitness Performance.

Rest & Recovery

No days off? Psshh. More like intentionally designated and purposefully designed rest days.
At Ekrin Athletics, we value rest and recovery as much as the act of working out itself. Here’s why.

What to Know About Rest Days

Establishing a prophylactic rest schedule is the only way you’ll avoid overtraining. This is true even if you primarily do low-impact or low-intensity exercise.

Whatever your fitness level, your body has a threshold that you should respect.

Otherwise, you’ll push yourself past the point of overreaching and into the territory of overtraining, which leads to symptoms like decreased performance, demotivation, injuries, persistent and severe performance, disturbed sleep, and cranky moods.

How Rest Affects Workout Recovery

Rest days facilitate recovery by giving your body a chance to breathe. Many people believe that your muscles grow during workouts, but the opposite is true. During workouts, your muscles become damaged and break down. During rest, your body repairs damaged muscles and builds them back stronger and bigger.

What to Know About Rest Days

Establishing a prophylactic rest schedule is the only way you’ll avoid overtraining. This is true even if you primarily do low-impact or low-intensity exercise.

Whatever your fitness level, your body has a threshold that you should respect.

Otherwise, you’ll push yourself past the point of overreaching and into the territory of overtraining, which leads to symptoms like decreased performance, demotivation, injuries, persistent and severe performance, disturbed sleep, and cranky moods.

How Rest Affects Workout Recovery

Rest days facilitate recovery by giving your body a chance to breathe. Many people believe that your muscles grow during workouts, but the opposite is true. During workouts, your muscles become damaged and break down. During rest, your body repairs damaged muscles and builds them back stronger and bigger.

Woman in shorts massages her arm with a massage gun outside on a bench in a park

Rest Days Allow Your Muscles to Repair

If you continually pummel your muscles, battering them day after day with more volume, they’ll eventually stop growing. You’ll hit a major plateau because your body is essentially trying to survive. Without time to rest, your body can’t keep up with important processes that contribute to recovery, such as the muscle protein synthesis and the release of growth hormones. After a while, you’ll notice feats that were once easy start to feel extremely challenging.

Rest Days Allow Glycogen to Replenish

In addition to muscle repair, rest days give your body time to replete energy stores lost during tough workouts. Your body stores carbohydrates in your muscle in a form called glycogen. It uses up those stored carbohydrates during workouts, and if you never allow your body more than 24 hours to recover, your glycogen stores will remain partially depleted. This leads to early fatigue during workouts and potentially decreased performance.

Rest Days Allow Time for Other Priorities

Some people say fitness is life. We like to say fitness is a means to a greater life. Taking time away from the gym makes space for other important things, like spending time with your family, reading the book you’ve been meaning to open, experiencing a new spot in your city, or simply catching up on sleep (few things beat a rest day nap). Instead of feeling lazy on your rest days, remember that you’re fulfilling other desires and duties — and letting your body do its thing.

Massage therapist giving a back massage to a client
Woman in shorts massages her arm with a massage gun outside on a bench in a park

Rest Days Allow Your Muscles to Repair

If you continually pummel your muscles, battering them day after day with more volume, they’ll eventually stop growing. You’ll hit a major plateau because your body is essentially trying to survive. Without time to rest, your body can’t keep up with important processes that contribute to recovery, such as the muscle protein synthesis and the release of growth hormones. After a while, you’ll notice feats that were once easy start to feel extremely challenging.

Rest Days Allow Glycogen to Replenish

In addition to muscle repair, rest days give your body time to replete energy stores lost during tough workouts. Your body stores carbohydrates in your muscle in a form called glycogen. It uses up those stored carbohydrates during workouts, and if you never allow your body more than 24 hours to recover, your glycogen stores will remain partially depleted. This leads to early fatigue during workouts and potentially decreased performance.

Massage therapist giving a back massage to a client

Rest Days Allow Time for Other Priorities

Some people say fitness is life. We like to say fitness is a means to a greater life. Taking time away from the gym makes space for other important things, like spending time with your family, reading the book you’ve been meaning to open, experiencing a new spot in your city, or simply catching up on sleep (few things beat a rest day nap). Instead of feeling lazy on your rest days, remember that you’re fulfilling other desires and duties — and letting your body do its thing.

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Things to Consider

Things to Consider

A rest day is a rest day. Try to fill it with activities that fill you up, not activities that drain you even more than a workout. It’s just as important to rest your mind as it is to rest your body. Choose things that make you feel relaxed mentally and physically. For example, a long walk listening to your favorite playlist or podcast can shake out muscle soreness and reduce stress.

Learn More About Massage and Exercise Recovery

  • How Many Days a Week Should You Work Out? 
  • How to Treat Post-Workout Muscle Soreness
  • The Top 6 Ways Athletes Can Prevent Injuries
  • 5 Ways to Accelerate Post-Workout Recovery

Keys to Recovery

Nutrition

Sleep

Massage

Supplements

Stretching

Keys to Recovery

Nutrition

Sleep

Massage

Supplements

Stretching