Recovery/Rest Days!

Recovery/Rest Days!

May 5, 2014

We know that rest and recovery is important for muscle growth and strength.  But when should you take a rest day and what should you do on it?  Be a couch potato?  Cardio?  Take selfies?  😉  Here’s a little bit about what I do, what works for me, and why!

I usually take 1 rest day a week.  It’s usually Sunday; however, it can vary depending on what my schedule is that week.  Sometimes, I’ll take 2 rest days during the week – also depending on schedule.  What I’ve been told – and I think is good advice (for the most part) – is to not necessarily have a rest day planned.  Most weeks have something come up last minute that will force you to miss a workout – and boom! Rest day.  On the other hand, I’m a person that likes to have my week planned out the majority of the time.  I’ll plan one rest day, and if a second one happens due to something coming up – then so be it!  Taking a second, impromptu rest day has never killed anyone.

Also, I support the idea of having an active rest day.  That means – no couch potatoing!  I’m not saying that every once in a while I don’t veg out on the couch and not move.. at all.. because trust me – it happens!  But for the most part, that’s just not me!  I take the dog for a walk, go for a bike ride, attempt roller blading (it didn’t go well), or make it a cardio only day and come in to the gym for 20 minutes of HIIT.  Without fail, a dog walk happens – the others are a bonus if I get around to it.  Most rest days, I also do laundry and am up and about cleaning my house – which I usually count as something!

So that’s my rest days on a weekly basis.  Now, I also take a rest week about every 12 weeks or so.  That means, I take the ENTIRE week off of lifting.  I’ll usually still do some cardio, maybe 2-3 days of HIIT, but that’s it!  It’s important to let  your muscles have time to completely recover.  I like to come back the following week feeling 100% refreshed.  My muscle feel good and I end up pushing bigger weights.  I’m sure these rest weeks are necessary for everybody, but they are important to me to get my body and my mind in the right place before I hit the gym hard again.  It allows me to refresh not only my body, but my mind.  I get bored, worn out, and tired of the same old same old – so a break allows me to hit the refresh button and come in more determined than ever!

That’s how I run my schedule – on to Recovery Supplements!!  I take a few different recovery supplements that I feel help my muscles recover the fastest.  First, whey protein!  I eat it as protein pudding (put a scoop in a bowl, add just enough water for a pudding consistency, sometimes a tbsp. of peanut butter too – enjoy!) and I try to get it in within the first 30 minutes after my workout.  Secondly (and if I have it in the budget), I take BCAAs during my workout.  I sip on BCAAs to get that protein into my muscles immediately after they’ve been worked!  According to Layne Norton, you have 3-4 minutes to get these in after your muscle has been worked for them to be effective.  I really notice reduced soreness when I have my BCAAs – but I like to tell people (and learned from watching Dr. Norton’s vlogs), that they are a luxury supplement.  If your budget allows them, great!  If not, you aren’t at a complete loss.

Hope this helps you get an idea of what you can try for yourself.  Like I said, this is what works for me.  I haven’t done any research myself or have any studies to back this!  This is what I like!!  Give it try, experiment, and do your own research to find out what works for you!

xoxo

-A

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