Rest days are not for the weak! I cannot count how many times I have forced myself to train despite feeling like crap. When I first started my fitness journey, I was convinced that taking rest days was going to hinder my progress and slow me down. I was so eager to reach my goals that I never let myself rest. I beat my body into the ground day in and day out and would freak out if something prevented me from doing my scheduled workout.
My motto was more was better and would rarely take a day away from the weight room. This obsession with working out got even worst when I was training for my first sprint triathlon. I was training 2 times a day, sometimes for upwards of 3 hours because I thought that was what I had to do to reach peak performance levels. I was terrified that taking an unplanned rest day would “ruin” all my progress. Really what I was scared of was the idea that one rest day would lead to 3 rest days which would lead to never training again and falling back into my old habits.
I was crippled by the fear that by taking days off I would lose the motivation to keep working towards my goal. I had created such a negative mindset around taking time off and resting that my performance and body composition was actually suffering. I was stressed, tired, my body was in a constant state of soreness and I was missing out on precious memories for what?
It wasn’t until I had a bike accident which resulted in 10 stitches that I was forced to take a week of rest. I was uncomfortable and angry that I had to sit out training for 2 weeks, but to my surprise my performance did not suffer at all, it actually improved. Coming back from a forced 2-week training break made me stronger in the end and helped me see that training 6 days a week was not going to get me to my goals any faster.
Skipping out on rest days was depriving my body of the recovery it so desperately needed and was hindering my training. Now I only train 3-4 times a week, sometimes more sometimes less. I take a minimum of 2 rest days a week and do not fear unforeseen events that could derail my training plans. I have learned to take it one day at a time and constantly remind myself that tomorrow is new opportunity to work towards my goals and taking one more rest day a week is not going to drastically impact my ability to reach those goals.
Your body needs rest! Taking an extra day off from training will not stop you from achieving your goals and you should not feel guilty listening to your body. Some days you will be emotionally exhausted, other days physical exhaustion may make training hard, but no matter what always remember that progress not perfection is what you are striving for.
It is unrealistic to think that we will wake up every day feeling like a thousand bucks ready to train and push our limits. We cannot expect to hit PR’s in the gym every training session, so why do we expect that we will be motivated to train every single day. It is what we do most of the time that makes the biggest impact not what we do some of the time.
If you are someone who is afraid of rest days or feels like you need to train every day to see progress, I urge you to take a step back. Maybe what you actually need is a rest day, not another AMRAP!