Not sure when you should be taking days off from the gym? Here’s 5 signs that you need a rest or recovery day.
1. Always sore.
Muscle soreness after a strenuous workout is totally normal, especially when switching up your routine or if you’re new to training in general. If you’re exercising regularly you shouldn’t constantly be feeling sore though. Allow specific muscle groups 24 to 48 hours to recover between training sessions!
2. Constantly tired/mood changes.
Moodiness, depression, anxiety and fatigue can be indications that you might be overtraining or under-recovering. Exercise is a form on stress on the body and can release the stress hormone cortisol. If stress remains elevated for too long, you may feel a dip in your mood. HiiT is another form of exercise that requires you to be mentally invested due to it’s intensity, so without the right frame of mind performance will suffer, as well as your form!
3. You haven’t ate well in days or fasted too much.
Your nutrition is your fuel for workouts. Not only will it help you build muscle or burn fat, but it will also help provide the energy and vitamins/minerals needed for you body to perform at its best. When nutrition becomes bad or you’re simply not eating, your performance will dip and your body will struggle to get the results you want. Yes, it’s still good to get some exercise in, but you’ll definitely feel lethargic when you’re trying to constantly outwork a shitty diet. So if you’ve fallen off the wagon with your diet, take a day or two to get it dialled back in again and increase your water intake too.
4. Feeling tight/stiff all the time.
If your workouts have been leaving you unable to perform simple movements like bending over and twisting, it might be time to take a little rest. Ligaments, tendons and joints take just as much impact as muscles do so be aware of this too. Mobility and stretching can go a long way with helping this, but most people will choose to avoid doing it, therefore everything gets tight and is more prone to injury. If you’re tight and immobile, start adding in some mobility-only days or active recovery days to your routine while you lay off the weights for a while.
5. Weights suddenly feel heavier.
Remember that each workout you do isn’t a hunt for a new personal best lift. However, if you’re lifting quite light/moderate and suddenly notice that the weight is now extremely heavy, the chances are your muscles (or energy levels) haven’t recovered fully yet. Similar to point 1, try to plan your week so that you’re allowing muscle groups to recover adequately before hitting them again. If you’re on a plan with a lot of heavy lifting in, it’s good to look at de-load weeks where you lower the weights and volume on your workouts, allowing your muscles and nervous system to recover and progress.
A good quote to remember…
The harder you recover, the harder you can train!