Rest and Recovery
If you’ve followed the How Much and Making Progress sections, then, I bet you can find the answer yourself to this last question:
How often do I train and how much recovery time do I need?
And yes. Of course: it’s all relative 😊 The answer we all love and hate.
But that is real life for most of us.
We know that, ideally, we would do 2 to 3 sessions a week of strength training per se. That lives at least 4 days in the week to rest and recover. So we may have 1 or 2 days in between each strength training session.
Now, when it comes to rest and recovery, we have more than one option on what to do or not to do.
Maybe you hear rest is for the weak. Or No pain, no gain. Or even a rest day is a lost day
From my experience, it is quite the contrary.
Before we go on, a personal story:
Last week, I spent a full week weighting myself every day (you don’t have to, I do it because I love data), and every day it was the same: not a single gram lost. I knew I was training properly following my program. I had gone a bit off track with my nutrition but not as much as to not see any progress at all. It was one day, and the rest of my week was on point. And then, Friday night came. I went to bed at around 11 pm. Woke up on Saturday at 9.30 am (a very rare thing for me, as I usually wake up at 7ish in the morning). Did my toilette routine and stepped onto the scale: I had “lost” 1 kilo.
The moral of the story: the weight reflective the previous week was not real. It was a product of bloating and stress, plus some extra food. One good night’s rest set me back on track.
Back to you. Progress towards your goal and having a healthier lifestyle include Recovery and rest. These are crucial to seeing gains, physical and emotional.
When it comes to organizing your training, you can decide to give yourself a full break from exercise in between the strength training sessions.
Or you can choose to do a cardio session that session: run, jog, brisk walk, swim, bike, or dance. Whatever you prefer. Anything that elevates your heart rate, and you can keep up for 30 to 60 minutes.
You can also choose to do some active recovery, like gentle stretching, some soft yoga, or having a massage or spa day.
So, a training week could look something like this (just one idea)
Day 1: Strength Training at the gym. Full Body
Day 2: Salsa Class
Day 3: Simply rest (from purposeful physical activity)
Day 4: Strength Training at the gym. Full Body
Day 5: Yoga
Day 6: Brisk walk for 45 minutes
Day 7: Full Rest
When we consider getting healthier and developing healthy habits, we tend to focus on food and exercise first. And that is great. They are both important factors for our overall health and aging.
But we must remember that sleep and rest are key components. If we don’t recover properly, we will have a harder time seeing results. Plus, when we don’t sleep well, we tend to eat more, move less, and be overall more stressed. This will affect our mental health and, thus, our physical health.