Here’s some of the best advice you’ll ever get about fitness: Never go more than two days without working out. The fundamental reason for this is so simple it hurts–too much rest takes you out of the habit.
But the other reasons are equally as simple.
Two Days Is Enough
A lot is tossed around about recovery and rest. The reality is that two consecutive days of inactivity is sufficient to recover from even the most challenging workouts. While it’s fine to take off days and let your body recover, too many days should never become a habit. An extreme period of rest follows a) an injury, or b) a sustained period of intense, grueling workouts. Otherwise, get up and move! Yes, rest days are necessary for recovery and progress in actually seeing your gains. But doing absolutely nothing for too long even more counterproductive than never taking a rest.
The Third Day Is A New Habit
The first day that we take a rest is really a rest. The second day can be a bit indulgent. But by the third day, we risk getting comfortable. It’s easier to relax that mental muscle that compels us to get up and get going. And “rest,” or laying on the couch, feels extra good. That fourth-day return is hard, which is why some people will want to turn away at that point. For some, it’s just three days of rest they’ve enjoyed before jumping back in full speed. For many others, it’s the beginning of the end–and part of a vicious cycle.
Once You Go Lax, You Never Go Back
Okay, this one is a stretch. Of course, you eventually get back. But those who have struggled with weight control or even just staying consistent with exercise know that getting out of the practice of good and healthy habits is terribly easy. Unfortunately, it’s a dangerously slippery slope from a harmless recovery to a sedentary lifestyle.
Rest days are absolutely necessary to a) progress and b) a balanced lifestyle. One off-day after 3-4 solid workout days is good, two days are better. Still, extra credit goes to those who opt for off-days to be “active rest” days, in which light cardio is undertaken.
Fitness Requires Commitment
Staying committed to your goals involves creating rules for the world in which the best, healthiest version of you will live. It’s long-term commitment to continuously adapt to changes in lifestyle and schedule. One of the rules that is easy to observe and that will always serve you is to limit your off-plan days to no more than two at a time.
Also, be certain to limit indulgences and monitor food intake on rest days. This ensures you don’t undercut your efforts by eating extra calories you’re not burning off.
Incorporating this simple little rule into your fitness lifestyle will help you take the steps to creating a you that doesn’t quit!