To reach your fitness goals , you need to train, but you also need rest. When you optimize the ratio of work to rest, you’ll reach your fitness goals faster. Find out how to use rest days as part of your training and what you should focus on to get the most out of each rest day.
What is a rest day?

A rest day is your day off from training! You can take a break from your regular workout routine to allow your body and mind to recover. It’s important that you rest on a rest day. This means doing lighter activities and varying your training schedule to include active recovery.

A rest day allows your body to consolidate the hard work you’ve been doing. Muscles recover, adapt and become stronger and your nervous system has a chance to regenerate. Including appropriate rest in your training program can also help to prevent a plateau or over-training.

What to do on a rest day?

You can maintain your fitness momentum, even on a rest day. Use your rest days to relax and rejuvenate your body and your mind in whatever way works best for you. While sometimes a day of Netflix and chill is exactly what you need to re-energize, be aware that you don’t want to slip into bad habits.
Stay active on a rest day with a house cleaning, yard cleaning or just take a long slow walk. Yoga is another way to incorporate mindfulness and movement while promoting recovery.
Here are some suggestions to help you maintain fitness momentum on a rest day:
Grab a foam roller and do an active recovery session! This will help to reduce muscle soreness and improve your range of motion.
Use your rest day to do meal prep for the week ahead to ensure you have healthy food that fills you up.
Rest days are when your muscles grow, so respect the need for rest. On your rest day, prioritize your nutrition, get enough sleep and remember to stretch.
Practice meditation or mindfulness, spend time with family and friends or take a walk in nature.

What to eat on a rest day?

The food that you eat on a rest day can help to speed up muscle recovery as your body adapts to your training load. Make sure that your protein intake is adequate to support muscle repair, and include complex carbohydrates as well as fruit and vegetables.
Eating mindfully can help you to give your body the nutrients it needs for muscle repair. For anyone who is carb-cycling, you may have fewer carbs on your rest day and increase your intake of healthy fats to stay satisfied.
Finally, make sure that you stay hydrated. I do have an awesome hydration drink – all active ingredients – no sugar, sweetened with stevia, preservatives:
Drinking plenty of water will help to flush toxins and lactate from the muscles while ensuring that the nutrients needed for muscle repair reach the muscle tissue.

How often to schedule a rest day?

You should always allow at least one full rest day each week. When you start a new training program, you might aim to do three workouts each week and then increase or vary your workouts as your body adapts to the new training style.

Trainer tip: The optimal number of rest days depends on the type of workouts you are doing.
The number of rest days you’ll need each week depends on:

  • Training intensity.
  • Whether you are doing full-body workouts or split workouts.
  • How long you’ve been training for.
  • Your training style.
  • Where you are in your training cycle.
  • Lifestyle stressors outside your training.
  • Training style and intensity.

Rest days are essential for short term recovery, adaptation and your overall well-being in the long term. How frequently you take a rest day will depend on the amount of stress put on your body in each training session.

The body responds to cardiovascular training and strength training differently, so keep this in mind when planning rest days.When weight training, it’s ideal to have two full days of rest before hitting each muscle group. This means that if you train on consecutive days, you should ensure you’re hitting a different area of the body — for example, legs on Monday and chest and back on Tuesday.

The number of rest days you need each week will also depend on the intensity (or rate of perceived extortion) of the training session. If your workout on one day is high-intensity, you can follow it the next day with a low-intensity workout.

If you run or do high-intensity cardio workouts, you may find that you need to rest for two or more days between workouts, especially when you are starting out. As your body adapts to the training, you’ll be able to increase the frequency or intensity of your workouts.