Allow us to explain. When it comes to reaching your fitness goals, rest and recovery are just as important as all those sweat sessions. Here’s why: when you exercise, you break down muscle fibres. As the fibres heal, they come back stronger. It’s that healing process that reshapes your body – but it only happens when you give your muscles a break. So do your body good by taking a workout breather. Here, some recovery rules that will ensure that you tone effectively in the end and use those rest days effectively.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Being sleep-deprived messes with your hormone levels and depletes your energy, resulting in ineffective workouts and cravings for sugar as a source of quick energy. What’s more, your body repairs itself best when you’re sleeping.
Need some motivation to switch off that series? A study at Stanford University had 1 000 volunteers report the number of hours they slept each night. The people who got less than eight hours of sleep per night had higher body fat content. Aim for seven to eight hours a night.
2. Take a Break
Allow at least 24 hours between workouts and give yourself at least one day off every week. Usually, three to four days of strength training weekly is the most your body can handle. (In fact, you can get amazing results with just two a week.) A hard workout won’t help if you don’t allow adequate rest days.
3. Feed your Muscles
Studies show that getting a four-to-one ratio of carbs to protein within half an hour of your workout is the best way to offset muscle damage.
4. Listen To Your Body
Ignoring muscle soreness or tightness is like continuing to drive your car when the “check engine” light flashes on the dashboard: it just sets you up for bigger problems. If you start to feel pain during exercise, pause to stretch or stop your workout completely. Even better, make time to stretch before or after your routine to keep your body running at its best.
5. Work Out The Aches
The healing process sometimes creates adhesions, or scar tissue – those “knots” in your muscles that hurt like hell. Use a foam roller to massage away those adhesions and help keep your body in peak, pain-free condition.