Friday, May 14, 2010

Grapes, Goats and Rest Days

The Importance of Rest Days
Today is an official rest day for me. I'm definitely going to enjoy it as tomorrow will be weights. Oh, but not just any weights, this is the super deluxe, mother of all high rep workouts. Tomorrow starts Week 7 of my 8-week rotation. I must say, that 3 sets of 18 reps really makes me want to make this a 6-week rotation and move along! Yes, you read that right, number of sets goes up. I can do this...already psyching myself up. ;-)

Along the lines of rest days, Kalli @ Fit and Forty Something posted a really good comment/question yesterday:
heather, great workouts today! would you ever skip the rest day since you feel so good or do you think that is bad in the long run?
happy friday!

While I did answer the comment, I thought it was a really good question and wanted to talk about it a little more. Especially because I know that I workout a great deal and my workouts are typically fairly intense.

There was definitely a time when I would gladly skip my rest day if I wasn't feeling that I needed the rest. Sometimes I would end up working out 10 days in a row with no break. However, I did learn that just because something is good for you, it doesn't mean that it can't also be bad as well. I have suffered from Overtraining Syndrome stemming directly from not taking rest days, from always working out at the highest intensity level possible, and not refueling properly.

I was basically wearing my body down, and eventually it started to affect my mood. I was irritable, my heart rate would actually be lower and lower (which would just frustrate me more so I would push harder), I started to suffer lots of aches and pains (thankfully no serious injuries). I started reading articles about OTS and realized they were talking about ME. It was honestly a huge mental challenge to back off though, as crazy as that may sound. I always wear my heart rate monitor and realized that I was easily working out 8.5-9+ hours a week. I would do 2 hour workouts on the weekends back-to-back and not refueling. There were times when I was so fatigued and still pushing through, that I would literally start crying during workouts, but never stopping mind you. Can you say "addiction."

I finally just hit a breaking point. Something finally snapped, that and lots of research and urging from Jason to slow down. I started to use my heart rate monitor as a tool to help me improve my workouts, to help me get more out of less. I now rarely hit 7 hours of working out. I always take a rest day once a week, period. I used to schedule it on Friday. I thought I had to workout every single day and got off Friday. But if I need the rest on Wednesday, I now take Wednesday off rather than suffer through. My body has been much more appreciative I can assure you. I have seen better gains in terms of endurance and strength. Also, I always, always, always fuel and then re-fuel my body. I have learned to see my body more like a machine that must be taken care of in order to run properly and effeciently. So working out less, actually works out better for me in the end.

Oh, and that was a long rambling answer. I really meant to just say: I always take a rest day now because I know that my next workout will be better from the rest.

Now onto Fun Facts Friday...
After work, I had some errands to run then met up with a good friend for a catch-up drink. So, in lieu of meal posting, we have Fun Facts Friday again. I hope you aren't bored yet by this.

  1. I don't like massages. I have a huge personal space, and can't stand being touched by strangers. So the thought of a stranger massaging me makes me more stressed out than I previously may have been before the massage. However, I do love facials.
  2. I am addicted to chewing gum. I even got in trouble when I was 4 because of this problem. I forgot to spit out my grape Hubba Bubba before preschool. I never forgot again.
  3. I want to own goats and grapes. The goats are for goat cheese and the grapes are for wine, that will pair nicely with my goat cheese. 
 Your turn!