So not too long ago, I was of the strong opinion that overtraining is a myth, and that ‘rest days’ was something sissies invented to get a day off from the hard work and effort that was going to get them to their goals. While that still might be true, overtraining is definitely NOT a myth, I’m telling you first hand.
Now you’d probably say, ‘eh, I’ve trained every day for a while and if I eat and sleep well I’m good yeah!’ – Which is what I’d say too, until I decided to up it to training twice a day sometimes and definitely hitting the gym once a day without taking a rest day for nearly two months! I read up on overtraining and there were a lot of conflicting opinions.
A lot of bodybuilders claimed that you should rest for 2-3 days a week. It is then that you actually grow and recover. On the other hand, some proven stalwarts like Arnold himself said that the human body needs merely 5-6 hours of sleep. And sometimes a little Glutamine to expedite recovery. They believed that you need to push past the point of fatigue to truly grow.
Both sound good, don’t they? But the point is that we neglect the fact that these guys were on stuff that helped their recovery almost supernaturally. For the normal average guy, rest and sleep are A MUST!
Learning the Hard Way
My overtraining got me 2 damaged tendons and 3 months off the gym! That’s a hard way of learning a lesson but I feel it did me good. Now when I train I give myself at least a Wednesday off mid-week and sometimes a Sunday too for rest. Sometimes I take an active rest day just for stretches and mobility along with light cardio.
Rest is a Must
My point here is – REST IS NECESSARY but you can mix it up.
Get in some active rest, go solely with the purpose of recovering. Do your stretches, do your foam rolling and don’t hesitate to add in a little cardio just to break a sweat.
A day or two of rest in an intense week, along with the right diet and sleep cycle can do wonders for your mind and body.
Fitness is a gift we’re lucky enough to have – Let’s use it and not abuse it!