Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Why I Need A Rest Day

Call me crazy, but I want to talk to you guys about rest days.

Yes, there is more to my life than just exercising and food prepping.

Last month when I was sick with a bad cold, I was stuck inside for 4 days. This led me to thinking about exercising, life, boredom, etc.. I couldn't exactly figure out what I was feeling. But then I realized it was guilt.

Yep, guilt snuck up on me during those 4 days. I was feeling guilty I wasn't at the gym lifting. I was feeling guilty I was eating too many calories without burning them off. I was feeling guilty I was...
You get the picture. I had already hit my 3 day weight split for that week and finished 2 days of intense cardio. So why the heck was I feeling so guilty taking rest days?

Do you ever feel like exercise can turn into an obsession? For me, I'll admit it is very easy for it to turn into an addiction. I have to be very careful I do not fall into that trap. It seems to me that figure competitors and body builders have to have a little bit of OCD to prepare to get up on that stage. Between figuring out your macro needs, measuring out every last bit of food, counting calories to even include your vitamin/gum, well you can see that takes exercise to an extreme.
(A look at my weekly menus from Excel spreadsheets. It's complicated calculating protein, carbs, and fat ratios, not to mention time consuming)

Now I am not judging anyone, considering I will be competing in two figure competitions in September. But I don't ever want to feel guilty for taking a much needed rest day. Or to feel guilty that I am not working out for two hours everyday like some others do.

I need to learn to accept when my body needs more than one rest day a week. I wouldn't be surprised if it needed more than that considering all I put it through. Over the past year, I've pushed myself to my limits, hit new personal records with weights I couldn't even imagine lifting, and completely changed my diet with protein.
So you see none of us should ever feel guilty for taking a rest day. My goal for this year is to embrace rest days without feeling any guilt. Nor do I ever want to feel like I have to exercise. I exercise because it is fun, it is my sense of peace for the day, and my me time. When it stops being fun, feels like a chore, or creates anxiety, then I know to take a step back and take a break from it.

To look back last month and now see that my body was sick and needed those additional rest days to heal, I was crazy. I wasn't going to gain 5lbs or lose muscle. Nothing would change if I didn't work out.

I vow to stop the guilt on rest days.

Thoughts? Ideas?
How many rest days do you take a week?
Do you think exercise can be an addiction?


  1. I think rest days are very important for our bodies to recover from the work we do on non rest days. I usually take one full rest day and have an easy day mid week. Today I had planned to do a 6 mile run but with the cold I have I will probably just end up doing a short walk with Bentley and I'm okay with that.

  2. Rest is essential so our muscles can rebuild. It actually helps them so we can work out even harder when we do :) Walks are good too :) I take my dog every day when its nice!

  3. Thank you for this post. I SO needed this! Despite knowing how important resting is, I still find myself feeling guilty. And you are right..that has GOT TO STOP!! :)

  4. I take 1, sometimes 2, rest days per week. If I miss any more than 2 days at the gym I feel very guilty. I'm going to a happy hour with work friends tonight but still can't get over the fact that I'm missing my usual tuesday night workout. I feel ya, exercise definitely can be an addiction.

  5. I hear you! exercise was totally an addiction for me for awhile. When I was at my lowest weight, I was exercising 2-3 hours a day, 7 days a week. I ran my body into the ground, and it's still hard for me to not feel guilty when I don't get a "good enough" sweat session in.
    thanks for sharing your struggles! trust me, we relate!! You take that rest day!

  6. I didn't know you were doing 2 shows in September! Good for you. I agree exercising is addicting.. I actually have a post ready to go in the next day or two about that. I have a hard time with rest days.. but have gotten a lot better!

  7. I have 2 rest days a week because that is how many days I get off from crew practice :) During the summer (when I run), I usually take around 2 days off a week though

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  10. Rest days are crazy important! You get stronger and better from resting too :) I totally know that guilt feeling on rest days though. On a rest day I tryyyy to eat a little healthier just to soothe my mind.

  11. Rest days are so important. I am bad about sometimes wanting to skip them... but... Friday is 100% a rest day. I haven't worked out on a Friday in months. Sometimes it is my favorite day of the week because of that reason. Yay for fitness competition... I didn't know you were doing those! So cool.


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