There are lots of videos, tutorials, blogs and social media updates out there that tell us how important it is to train regularly to stay fit and healthy. Every day I see probably a hundred different posts telling us that we should get of our backsides and do 20 minutes High Intensity Training, or superset your Biceps and how to get the best 10km time ever! What about rest days though? No one ever seems to talk about them?
It is really easy amongst all the madness out there to completely forget about how your body actually becomes fitter, faster and stronger. Yet without rest your body would never actually improve at all. When we are children we do most of our growing and physical development at night or when we are at rest during the day, up to 90% in fact! This is the same when we are adults, therefore it stands to reason that one of the most important parts of our training regime is rest.
How much rest do we need though? Well this is very dependent on what sort of training you are doing. Lifting heavy weights at the gym? When you do this your sole aim is to break down muscle tissue so that it can repair and rebuild itself stronger than before. The current train of thought is to allow the body to recover from this you should rest anything from 3-7 days after training a particular body part. The important thing to remember here is everyone is different and will recover a different speeds. As a rule of thumb if the muscle is still stiff or if you are struggling to lift the same as your previous workout you are still in recovery and should give that part of your body another couple of days off.
Lifting weights for muscular endurance rather than a gain in size? Generally you will be using lighter weights, breaking down less muscle, and as a result your recovery periods will be much shorter but still follow the same soreness and strength principle as with heavy weights.
Finally what if you are mainly focused on cardiovascular training? Rest is just as important. One of the ways we get fitter is by increasing the number of mitochondria found in our muscles, these mitochondria cells are know as the powerhouses of the cell. In muscles the more mitochondria we have have the more efficient they become! Therefore once again we need to rest the body to ensure we give it time to develop these important organelles. Typically this is an ongoing process and just like any other form of training if we don’t use it we lose it! Therefore a day or two rest per week is plenty here.
So there we go, the more damage we cause to our body as a result of training the longer we need to give our body to repair itself, pretty simple stuff really but often overlooked! We have only scratched the surface of the importance of rest but hopefully this will make you think slightly differently about your training routine.
If you want specific advice regarding your training programs then get in touch!
Well! how is the new year resolutions going? Are you starting to miss your favourite naughty snacks? Are the cravings kicking in? Here are some tips to keep those cravings at bay and help you achieve the body you always wanted.
1. increase serotonin levels – serotonin is the feel good hormone and it regulates carbohydrate intake. When serotonin levels drop we crave carbs and sugary food. The best foods to beat this are carbohydrates containing high levels of fibre (legumes, beans, nuts, fruit and wholegrains).
2. eat foods high in tryptophan – tryptophan is an amino acid found in protein rich foods (turkey, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds).
3. eat foods high in Vitamin B – Vit B helps the body energy levels.
4. chose low GI foods – oats, rye and veggies.
5. increase glutamine in your diet – glutamine is another amino acid which is found in protein rich food and veggies. Glutamine has a stabilising effect on blood sugar levels.
6. increase chromium intake – found in romaine lettice, onions, tomatoes, wholegrains and potatoes, chromium stabilises blood sugar levels.
7. intense exercise – 20mins of intense exercise can blunt ghrelin, the hormone that tells us we are hungry. Hope these tips help!