There is a saying, “It’s not how hard you train, but how well you recover.” Your muscles need time to recover from lifting in order to become stronger and larger. Incorporating one to two off days in your workout schedule is essential for muscle growth and repair in addition to other health benefits such as a stronger immune system and hormone regulation. If you’re like myself and seriously cannot sit still for an entire day, here are five ways to make the most out of your off-days.
1. Bodyweight Exercises
These are the kind of exercises I see my mom and her old lady friends doing, and I’m like what the hell are they doing? What’s the point of that? Just use the machines, woman! Grab a mat and call your moms for some tips because these exercises without weights are a great way to improve your strength while testing your stamina. Gravity acts as resistance that works various muscle groups without adding strain, while enhancing an active blood flow to your muscles. Some examples of these exercises include planks, pushups, and pullups. Be mindful not to turn these light movements into an intense
Yoga is my favorite activity for rest day because it provides so many benefits for our body and overall health! While lifting tightens our muscles, yoga lengthens and stretches them to relieve tension. It improves flexibility and mobility which are useful in and out of the gym. Many people find yoga to be a positive stress reliever and an opportunity to focus on your mental state; goals. Furthermore, it focuses on balance and coordination.
3. Stretching and Mobility
Some people determine how effective their workouts were based on how sore they are the following day. Stretching before and after lifting heavy loads helps prevent tension, stiffness, and injury. Like many health behaviors, increasing muscle mass or definition is a process in which the results to not necessarily appear overnight. Stretching a little bit every day will prepare your body to work its hardest during your workouts and properly repair itself after.
4. Play Basketball
If basketball isn’t your thing, you can play tennis, go for a swim, ride your bike –the goal is simply to do anything that gets your blood flowing and heart pumping! A day off does not mean you are bed-ridden; you can still have some good old, healthy fun.
5. Indulge Responsibly
People who follow a rigid meal plan may be inclined to go crazy on their off days and consume more calories in one day than they ate throughout an entire week. I love Kate’s trashcan nachos as much as the next guy but if that’s how you want to treat yourself on your off day, maybe don’t drink five beers, a double bacon cheeseburger, the rest of your girlfriend’s plate, and an entire box of Oreos, too.
Article written by GUADS guest writer, Nicole