You absolutely need a rest day. Now this isn’t a “get out of jail free” day for any slackers, but for those of you that are on a routine where there are “NO DAYS OFF”, then you may be doing more harm than good. When we owned our CrossFit gym we would always discourage our athletes from training (especially high intensity crossfit) workouts every day. Crossfitters don’t listen very well, and we had more of our members getting hurt from overuse that we didn’t do any sessions on Thursday just to prevent injuries.
The truth is, there are many things you can do to get that psychological feel of being proactive about reaching your goals instead of grinding another workout and risking injury or overuse fatigue.
Here are some great examples.
1) Make it a meal prep day. Spend the time you normally would be exercising and prepare all of your meals for the week. Be sure to record caloric details as that is the key for any weight loss program.
2) Yoga/Stretching. We all could benefit from stretching. This helps our muscle maintain, prevents injury and increases our range of motion. A good yoga session can have you burning some serious calories as well. Be sure that this is more of a lighter yoga or even several minutes of sports stretching. Remember, the key word in Active Rest is actually REST.
3) Walking. Long duration walking is great. Nice calorie burn and some cardiovascular benefits. If you’re a gym body, we recommend doing this outdoors instead of a treadmill to break up the monotony of frequenting the gym.
4) Play sports. Being active and playing sports, with friends, family, children, etc is an awesome way to stay active with a group, burn some calories and use some muscles you don’t typically use at the gym.
For those of you on a dedicated mission to lose weight, stick to only 1 or 2 active rest days per week and on the other days, get your workouts in. Anyone on a maintenance schedule or beginners 3 or 4 days of active rest works just fine. Get creative and keep moving!!