October 15, 2012
Go Ahead.. Take That Day Off..

As a trainer telling a client to take a day off, I sometimes find myself feeling like a grandmother insisting on giving her adult grandchild $20.00 and the grandchild refusing to take the money because they are not sure if they should. What I need to do is convince this client that it is OK and will actually have a benefit! 20/20 recommends 5 days of exercise per week as a minimum to hit your program goals but what we don't monitor as diligently are your days off of exercise.  Our motto "Bring your health back in Balance" means just that. Managing your health requires balance - with your life, your food and your exercise. In order to balance that exercise scale, there needs to be some recovery incorporated into your schedule.

Rest is crucial for you to make progress and perform at your maximum - a day or two off each week allows muscles, tendons and ligaments time to repair- making you less likely to sustain an exercise related injury. Getting enough rest also has major health benefits. Research shows that your immune system is at risk if you over-train. Those most at risk of over-training are endurance athletes, or those who combine strength training with endurance training - sound a lot like someone you know? (insert mirror here…)

Thankfully, our bodies are our best indicators of overtraining, what we need to do as the caretaker, is learn how to listen to our bodies. Here are a few signs that you may be overtraining and might need to back off:

• An increase in resting heart rate of around 10%, or about 5 beats per minute above your normal rate, is a clear indication that you are over trained, sick, or both!
• Reaching training heart rate zone much sooner into a training period than usual
• Increased time for heart rate to recover between intervals
• The inability to make progress in fitness goals
• Extreme fatigue, depression or lack of enthusiasm for training
• Regular injuries or sickness

A few things you can do to keep your body from being over-trained as you work towards your program goals are: to get enough sleep, schedule one or two days off per week, alternate hard and easy days, and schedule in regeneration activities such as: yoga, massage, and stretching. Your trainer can assist you in deciding when and where to take days off, as well as what types of recovery activities will be best suited for you. Remember, taking a day off of exercise does not mean "vegging" out on the couch and creating an excuse to be sedentary- what it does mean is more time to play and enjoy your new found fitness by finding a fun activity that still expends energy, releases those endorphins and manages stress.

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