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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!


  1. I love massages and hate facials! For some reason I'm totally cool with someone rubbing my near-naked body, and totally skeeved out by someone touching my face. Silly!

  2. SHOCK! How can you not like massages? I guess it makes sense but I would have one every day if I could.

    I love your sharing on why it's important to take a rest day. I'm glad you enjoyed yours!

  3. no massages- this is news to me! lol. okay i can totally get the personal space thing tho! and i will totally relate to the chewing gum.. ive been called 'Cowsey' vs. kelsey because i was told i chewed gum like a cow.. i can laugh at it now.. haha :)

  4. AnonymousMay 14, 2010

    *err, just wrote a huge long rambly comment and it didn't post right! here's take two!**

    I totally needed this reminder about rest days, you know I'm always struggling to take a rest day but this is a sobering reminder. I can't say I've hit that overtraining wall that you describe but I've gotten close. I've pulled back a bit lately and think the balance is back which is probably a good thing since I talk about it all the time huh?

    Have a fab Friday, I'm eating pizza in your honor. ;)

  5. I've never liked the idea of massages until I went for my first one last month. I do love it, after finally relaxing after 30 minutes into it. It's definitley a must for my soar backa and occassional knots. Feet are a different story...eeck.

  6. I should probably give myself a rest day, but I always feel awful when I do. I only do rigorous cardio work outs 3 days a week, but I do some form of exercise every day.

  7. Oooo girl I love facials and I can totally go for one this weekend!

    Lol, I have freckles down one side of my bod and not the other! Starting at my neck down to my chest and down one arm ;) Not sure if I told you that one already.....when I am tanned you can't tell! HELLO self tanner!


  8. Love your goats and grapes goal, sounds like a perfect plan! And I agree that rest days are crucial. I had one today as well :)

  9. I don't mind massages but I have a major problem with anyone touching my head/hair. So I always tell them to stay away from my head. :) Some fun facts about me:
    - I went to school for interior design, but then decided that I hated it. Many, many years later I am super close to finally becoming a dietitian!
    - I've never seen snow. And I'm not really interested in seeing it either.
    - I don't know how to ride a bike. My parents never took my training wheels off!

  10. Great reminder for rest days. I tend to be a little too hard driving like you. Rest is just as important as lifting but that is hard to remember sometimes.

    I am not keen on massages either. They seem far too personal for a stranger. LOL

    Grapes and goats is a great combination! You should try making wine, if Dan can do it I know you and Jason can.

    I hope you had great time with you friend,

  11. Best post ever. Even better than the tofu tutorial. And that was damn good!

    As for over training...I have been guilty of that in life..I just am so Type A and goal oriented with certain things that I stop at nothing til I have what I want. On other things, I can be more laidback and yoga/zen-like.

    I love that you listen to your body, take rest, and sometimes take it a few days "early" if that's what you need. Gosh, you are awesome, Heather, for being at this place!

  12. AnonymousMay 15, 2010

    I know what you mean about not wanting to take a rest day, but now I know its so important! afterall, I think its better to take one day off than weeks/months, right?! haha great post!

  13. Lele @ Lele Lurves Plants Funny that we're the opposite!

    Tina @ Tina Bit of Faith Fitness and Fun I wish I liked massages b/c I think I could really use one from time to time! I completely enjoyed the rest! I hope that my sharing will help other people too.

    Kelsey @ Snacking Squirrel Cowsey??? That's kind of funny. Thanks for sharing that!

    Jessica @ EatDrinkBreatheSweat Were you trying to outdo my rambling post?? LOL. Glad my story can put it into perspective for you. It was such a difficult thing to go through emotionally as well as physically.

    Nicci @ Nifty Eats I hear you on the feet thing!!!

  14. Krystina @ Organically Me Learn to appreciate a day off. You'll feel so much stronger for lifting or cardio, or whatever exercise you do.

    Megan @ The Oatmeal Diaries Glad you like my grapes and goats idea! Hope you enjoyed the rest day too!

    Eunice @ rainbwsnkittns Thank for sharing! Never seen snow? You need to see it at least once.

    Alicia @ Vegan Epicurean Glad you agree with me on the massage! Jason had made beer before and my dad used to make wine - so I know we can handle that part. Jason doesn't think I could live away from a mall though.

    Thanks Averie @ Loves Veggies and Yoga I knew you were a go-go-go gal and wondered if you would start taking rest days with all the new heavy lifting. It's so hard to pull back sometimes. Take care!

    The Rabbit Runner ! One day sure is better than an injury that sidelines you for a lot longer. Very good point.

  15. I am the same way about massages...HATE THEM!!! I have had a few bad experiences...think brusies all the way down my spine and now I am scared of them!!!

  16. That made me laugh...goats and grapes! That is a goal you should set to achieve! I want to own land, have a huge garden and chickens (for the eggs). I am so with you on exercise addiction and needing the break. I was extremely addicted. I love how it makes me feel. I am stronger and more confident in so many ways now. My husband had to urge me to back off too. I was wearing my body down. I rest on the weekends. I may do some light yoga then, but nothing that will over do it for me. I loved your answer! Have a great weekend!

  17. Kelly @ Healthy Living with Kelly Ouch on the bruising. Definitely would turn me off from a massage too!

    Sarena @ The Non-Dairy Queen I think that's the catch 22 about exercise. It can be so addicting. There's a fine line between workouts being good for you and then taking it too far. Glad to hear you enjoy your rest days now!

  18. AnonymousMay 15, 2010

    Thank you for addressing my question! Great answer and so true when you think of overtraining in the long run. Hope you had a killer weight sesh today!

  19. Great post! Rest days are so vital in a workout plan. I'm like you with the massages... although there are times when I am randomly in the mood for one.

  20. Kalli @ Fit and Forty Something I'm really sort of glad you asked the question. I think it's an important subject topic.

    Ruth @ She Fit It's so nice to know I'm not the only one who doesn't just adore massages. Though, sometimes I think I seriously need one1

  21. I am SO guilty of not taking rest days...and you are so right. I need to, way more often than I do. And since I'll be in Vegas most of the week, I'll be forced into taking a few er, rest days! So, maybe that will help me, and I can get back to more rest days as I need them!!

  22. Jolene @ To Be Determined Enjoy your rest day(s) because you definitely deserve them!


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