How to Know When You Should Take a Break From the Gym
You may think that there can never be enough exercise or activity, but a fitness journey encompasses a lot more than just lifting weights and running miles. Going to the gym is an awesome habit to get into and is very valuable for your body and mental clarity, but there are days and even seasons of life when a break can be good.
If you were to look up most top “fitness influencers” on social media, you’d see the constant perpetuation of a #NoDaysOff #EmbraceTheGrind mentality that categorizes you as “weak” if you decide to skip the gym in favor of catching up on your sleep. While we are certainly not advocating for laziness, there is absolutely a point of diminishing returns one can reach when fitness is taken to an extreme. Let’s first look at the negatives of excessive training as well as some ways to be okay with taking a rest and how to break from the gym from time to time.
When is it time for a rest day?
There are definitely times when you’re better off not working out and taking a day off instead. Here are some examples of days when you should take a rest day and how to deal with it.
For the most part, don’t work out if you’re sick. Your immune system is stretched thin already and working out will demand extra energy from your body that you simply don’t have if you’re sick, so you may end up feeling even worse. Besides, you’re not able to give a 100% to your workout anyway if you’re not feeling good.
Depending on how sick you are, light movement like walking may be good for you, but we wouldn’t recommend doing high intensity exercise.
How to prevent it: The main things are, of course, taking good care of yourself by eating vitamin rich foods, supplement as necessary, and move your body in a way that feels good for you. We all may get sick once in a while, but by keeping your body healthy, the chances are much smaller.
Working out when you’re injured only puts you at risk of injuring yourself even further. We know that it may be hard to stay away but that’s really the best thing to do. It’s better to give yourself enough time to recover and then come back all healed up. You probably don’t lose as much strength as you thought you would! How to prevent it: Take care of your pre-workout warm-up and post-workout cool down. Also foam rolling, ice, stretching and massage can help your muscles stay in great shape and therefore decrease the risk of injury.
You’re Absolutely Exhausted
If you didn’t get enough sleep, it’s better to either take a rest day or if you can, sleep a little longer and then try to work out.
Constant sleep deprivation and pushing yourself in spite of it is a bad combination. It may be detrimental not only to your performance but also your hormonal balance. If your goal is weight loss, you may in fact not lose but actually gain weight when you work out at the expense of your sleep.
How to prevent it: As mentioned before, avoid things at night that keep your brain alert, like watching TV or checking your phone. Instead, darken and cool down your room and read something. Turning off your wifi for night is a good idea as well. Get at least seven hours of sleep, although many people might need at least eight to perform their best.
You Haven’t Eaten Anything
Food is fuel — you know that. It’s your friend, not your enemy! You need food to work out.
Sometimes people run out of the door without having had breakfast. Or they may skip lunch because they get so busy at work that they have no time to eat, or because they think that skipping meals helps them to lose weight better.
But by the time you’re going to work out, your body is exhausted if it hasn’t had any food. Totally understandable, because where is it supposed to get energy to fuel the workout? If you still work out when you’re super hungry, the quality of your training probably suffers. Or, you could be so hungry that you miss your workout and dive into any food you find, because you’re just so hungry.
How to prevent it: Don’t skip your meals. Also, keep some snacks in your purse or backpack to have some extra fuel before or after your workout if you need it.
Or just change things up..
If you are not suffering from lack of sleep or a sickness, you may just be bored of your current routine. Take a class at a local studio or find a new fitness hobby to enjoy if you are lacking to the motivation to
get to the gym. Fitness is not one routine or style, it is being okay with the idea that all movement is valuable!
Learn to Listen to Your Body
To get really healthy and fit and crush all the goals you have, you need to be consistent. It’s all about repeating good practices day in and day out.Good nutrition, enough sleep and dedication are really important in order to become a successful athlete.
It’s incredibly important to learn the difference between excuses and valid reasons for skipping a workout: are you just making things up so that you don’t have to work out, knowing that it’s not going to help you, or do you have a real reason to take a rest day and come back tomorrow? Learn to listen to your body and know when you should keep pushing or when it’s time to take a break.