It might seem counter-intuitive and counter-productive, but rest days when you’re in the middle of a workout regimen are actually ridiculously beneficial for your body and your mind.
Physically, rest days allow your body to adapt to the new levels of fitness at which you’ve been working. They also help replenish glycogen stores, build strength and reduce fatigue in your joints and muscles.
Mentally, rest days allow you to reflect on the work you’ve done recently, and strategically plan where you want to go with your future goals. They also allow you to honestly view your progress and plan your weekly meals and workouts ahead.
This is why every Beachbody workout routine – from Insanity to Slim in 6 to TurboFire – build in a rest day each and every week. And this is why – even though my rest days tend to involve stretching or short walks with the dog – I’m taking a full rest day today. To recover and to plan for the weeks ahead.
Today, I ran my best run yet. I felt great, had tons of energy, ran fast, and my knees weren’t sore so I was able to run twice as far as I originally planned.
It. Was. Amazing!
And, since one of my health and fitness goals is to increase my average running pace to be 9’30″ per mile, seeing my 10-mile run today clock in at 9’27″ was outstanding, and really showed me that I can achieve that long-term goal with further training, so I consistently run that fast – or even faster.
So, why was today so awesome? I’m not 100% sure, but I’ve got a few ideas.
TeamBeachbody.com shares a lot of fantastic health and fitness tips. One article I found really beneficial is called “20 Secrets of Very Fit People,” and it outlines 20 very important tips and reminders for building and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Take a look at the tips below, and start building your healthy habits today.
- Look at exercise as a pleasure and a privilege, not a burden or chore. Think positively about the changes regular exercise will produce. Rather than obsessing about your next meal, get excited about your next workout!
- Focus on short-term fitness goals with an emphasis on completing daily exercise.
- Work to take your exercise to new levels of intensity.
- Make it your goal to do some form of exercise 6 or 7 days a week. If some days you exercise once in the morning and once in the evening, even better! If you’re eating right, exercise will fuel your energy level!
- Create an exercise schedule the day before instead of leaving it to chance or waiting to “find” the time. If the last three Presidents of the United States can make time to work out every day, you can make time too!
- Enjoy contributing to the health of others by having a partner or friends to exercise with, as well as recruiting others who want to feel better and have more energy. Have a neighbor who’s sitting on the porch every morning when you walk by? Ask him or her to join you on your walk!
- Avoid monotony by taking up new forms of exercising, or using things that keep you motivated and inspired, like new shoes or great music.
- Invest in the right tools—good shoes, a portable MP3 player or iPod®, fitness equipment, a new series of tapes, etc.
- Subscribe to fitness magazines to keep focused on health as an overall way of life.
- Eat well-balanced meals and remember that excess calories, even if they’re from food that’s fat free and high in protein, will turn to excess weight. No matter what the latest fad diet says, extra calories equal extra weight!
- Limit caffeine and exposure to even secondhand smoke.
- Keep a water bottle with you at all times and drink from it often. Water should always be your drink of choice. To kick things up every once in a while, try adding lemon, lime, cucumber, or a few berries to liven up the flavor without adding significant calories.
- Stick with eating plans you can maintain indefinitely. Remember that no matter how hard you’re working out, if you’re consuming too many calories, you’ll never see the muscles that lie beneath layers of fatty tissue.
- Keep a daily log of what you’re actually eating. This includes every time you grab a handful of chips here or eat the crust of your kid’s sandwich there, and ALL of your snacking.
- Enjoy an occasional (once a week) “unhealthy” treat, but never an unhealthy week or unhealthy vacation.
- If your diet is unbalanced, take daily vitamin and mineral supplements for total health.
- Don’t compare your body to others’. Instead, work to be your personal best.
- Move beyond the boundaries of weight loss and into total fitness. Measure success by the way your clothes fit, not some number on a scale.
- Get adequate amounts of sleep, but remember that people who exercise regularly fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
- Limit alcohol intake to special occasions.