It’s here! It’s here!
It’s week 5 of Insanity – the week I’ve been looking forward to since my first Insanity workout: it’s REST WEEK!!! I tell ya, my workouts this week are welcome. They may still be challenging but they’re not apeshit crazy like the other ones and I finish feeling super good about the workout instead of feeling like I want to jump Shaun T in the parking lot and wipe that super-cute smile off his face.
Rest days and rest weeks are super duper important in any fitness program.
Well, I’m SO glad you asked!
It Helps Your Body Repair Itself & Get Stronger
The most important reason is that all of your hard work happens during your rest days/weeks. When you rest, your body has the chance to repair itself from all the micro-tears in the muscles that have been happening on your workout days. Oddly enough, you want your muscles to tear a little bit at a time because each time they heal, they get bigger and stronger but if you don’t give it the rest it needs to perform this healing, you’ll just keep tearing and tearing and it won’t heal and you’ll wind up injured.
This means that on your rest days, you can imagine your whole body is working to repair itself and make you a lean, mean, calorie-burning machine!
It Helps You To Stay Sane
The other reason you want to build in rest days and weeks into your workouts (this is especially important for fitness programs like Insanity or if you’re training for something like a road race) is that it gives you a mental break. Committing to a 60+ day program requires a lot of discipline and focus and you can only do so much before we need a break. If you don’t, you could easily get burnt out. This was one of the reasons I crashed near the end of Body Revolution. The program asks you to go at your max for three whole months without a break and I think very few people can do that without at least one break in the middle to recoup, re-evaluate, and come back stronger and ready to finish.
It’s important to rest your body at least once per week and give yourself an active rest week every 3 – 4 weeks. Active rest means that you’re not just sittin’ on your arse all week but you’re performing less intense cardio. In other words, you scale it back a bit. I tend to do incorporate light cardio with yoga during my rest weeks as I see yoga as a treat to my body – a kind of “thank you” for putting up with all the craziness I ask of it every other day. If your current program doesn’t have a rest day built in, I would honestly just put one in yourself where you do some light cardio 3 -4 days per week and add a little yoga or extended stretching.
This week I plan to just take it easy with my recovery workouts and be thankful for each and every one of them because as of next Monday – my workouts are about to go bananas!
How do you deal with rest days? Do you dread them or embrace them?