Cardio • 11.07.2015 • Lunden Souza

6 Signs To Find Out If You Need To Take A Rest Day

When we are feeling extra motivated and eager to see results, we may often push ourselves too far with our training. In fact, I have heard many people say, upon deciding to start a health and fitness regimen, “I’m going to workout every single day and never eat anything bad.”First of all, that’s completely unrealistic and unattainable! You may see things on social media like #nodaysoff and feel like you have to train every single day intensely to see results. The reality is, everyone is different and in a different stage of their training and it’s absolutely vital that you listen to your body before you push yourself far beyond your limits. The last thing you want to do is overtrain and risk sickness or injury. Here are some signs you need to pay attention to.

Do you feel exhausted despite getting 6-9 hours of sleep per night?

Rest Day

If you know you are getting enough sleep, but you still feel exhausted, sore and fatigued – take a rest day or even two. Give your muscles a break and your mind a physical break of thinking about what workout you will do next. The real transformation of your body happens during sleep and your rest – be sure to give your body what it needs to see real results.

My muscles are still sore, but I want to train!
Sometimes if you train a particular muscle group intensely, it can be sore up to 2 days later. This is called delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS. You might know this feeling after not training legs for a while and then doing an intense leg day full of lunges and squats. Even if you planned to train that muscle group two days later, but you’re still sore – don’t! You don’t want to train a muscle that is still store, it’s counterproductive. That muscle needs time to fully recover and rebuild before it can be broken down again with exercise. Take a rest day, or work a different muscle group – adjust based on your body’s needs.

Keep drinking water but aren’t feeling hydrated?

Rest Day

Do you feel like you keep drinking water but cannot seem to feel satisfied or quenched? This can be related to insufficient fluid intake or even hot weather, but it can also be due to the fact that your training very hard and need to give your body time to rest, restore and rehydrate. It could be that your body is in a catabolic state, which means it’s actually wasting away. A symptom of this is dehydration. It’s important to note, that thirst is your body’s last signal that it needs water. Be sure to drink water regularly even when you may not feel particularly thirsty.

Did you already train 5 or 6 days this week?
REST! You already did a lot of good for your body – now let it rest and recover.

It’s been 3 days, and I’m still sore.
It’s normal to be sore 1-2 days after training, especially if you train really hard. However, if you’re still experiencing soreness 3 days after training, you could have done too much. Take a moment, re-evaluate your training plan, and cut out some exercises, or split one training day into two training days so you aren’t overdoing it. You can also try these 9 Natural Tips for Sore Muscle Recovery.

There is such thing as active recovery.

Rest Day

Going for a brisk walk, a low-intensity hike, or a slow bike ride are good examples of active rest. Maybe you’re feeling extremely sore from your workout yesterday and you know you shouldn’t hit the weights again, but want to move those muscles to get some of the lactic acid to dissipate – so you go for a walk. Great idea! Sometimes sitting and doing nothing can make the soreness even worse. Get outside for some fresh air and move a little bit and you’ll feel much better and a bit more energized. Pair that with a great night’s sleep and you should be good to go.

How do you know when your body needs a break? Are you good at listening to your body’s cues? Let’s hear about it in the comments below.

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Lunden Souza

Lunden Souza is a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist & the Runtastic Fitness Coach. This California native started out as an at-home personal trainer in Orange County, California for 5 years, then moved to work at Runtastic headquarters in Austria in March 2014. She inspires Runtastics worldwide with weekly fitness, nutrition and wellness tips via the Runtastic Fitness Channel on YouTube. She loves to do yoga, cook, run in the sun and go for long bike rides listening to her favorite podcasts.
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