Rest day – 6 signals that tell you now is the time to take a break

Signs you need a rest day

When we’re feeling particularly motivated and eager to see results, we often push ourselves too hard in training. You may see hashtags like #nodaysoff on social media and think you have to work out every day to see results. The reality is different: Everyone is different. So in different training situations it is very important to listen to your body instead of going beyond your limits. Finally, the last thing you want is overwork resp. risking injuries.

Woman getting sick

During a break, your muscles grow and your performance improves.

You don’t see the progress you want? Then maybe you don’t work out often enough. Or maybe it’s because you don’t take enough time for recovery.

The following things signal that it is time for a rest day:

1. You feel exhausted and drained despite sleeping 6 to 9 hours a night

If you know you’re getting enough sleep, but still feel drained and exhausted and your muscles ache: schedule a rest day or two! Give your muscles a break and your mind a timeout where you don’t think about what workout to do next. The real transformation of your body happens while you sleep and during recovery periods – make sure you give your body what it needs to change for the better.

2. You want to work out, but still have sore muscles after 2 or 3 days

If you train a specific muscle group, sometimes muscle pain may not appear until two days later. This is called delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS . You probably know the feeling when you haven’t exercised your legs in a while and then you do an intense leg workout with lunges and squats.

Even if you planned to work those muscles again two days later, but you’re still sore – think again! If you train despite a strong muscle soreness, it is more difficult to keep the right form and to give your best. The muscle needs time to recover completely before the fibers can be stimulated again with training.

If your muscles are very sore, you should take a rest day or use a different muscle group. If the soreness is not that strong, warm up properly and try not to use that muscle too much.

Man feeling sore from working out

3. You drink a lot of water, but still feel under hydrated

You think you drink enough, but still don’t feel well? This can be related to hot weather or because you are not drinking enough water . But it may also be because you are training very hard and need to give your body time for recovery and hydration. It could be that your body is in a catabolic state, which means it is severely depleted. One possible symptom is dehydration.

Thirst is always the last signal that your body needs water. So make sure you drink water regularly before you even feel thirsty. Find out how much water you should be drinking with this calculator :

4. You have already worked out 5 or 6 days this week

Take a Rest Day! You’ve already done a lot of good things for your body – now give it some rest and relaxation.

Man sleeping

5. Your last 2 workouts have left you feeling wimpy and weak

Of course, you can’t be in a good mood and feel fit every day. However, if you notice that it’s getting harder for you to complete your regular workouts, you should take a break. It’s best to remember this rule of thumb: If you don’t feel good or better after just the warm-up, your body is probably too exhausted for a workout.

6. You are in a bad mood

Every little thing gets you down? You just can’t stop brooding and relax? If you do too many workouts, your body doesn’t have enough energy – this often manifests itself as a bad mood. Before you take it out on your loved ones or colleagues, revise your training plan again. Make sure you allow enough time for recovery and that you get enough sleep before your training days.

The solution: be active on your rest day, too!

Short walks, easy hikes or slow bike rides are some good examples of active recreation. Maybe you’re extremely sore from yesterday’s workout and know you shouldn’t pick up the weights again, but want to move those muscles to break down lactic acid – so you go for a walk. Great idea!

Sometimes sore muscles can get worse if you just sit around and do nothing. Get outside for some fresh air and exercise. You will feel better and have more energy. Combine that with healthy sleep and you should soon be fit again.

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