Rest/Recovery is why you workout. Longer recovery is absolutely necessary in many situations and if more than normal soreness is the result of a workout. Working out sore muscle groups wastes the previous workout and may result in injury. And for most highly trained exercisers, 5 to 10 days of rest in a row are often very beneficial once or twice a year.
There is much more to recovery than the average fitness instructor understands. I teach a series of CECs on recovery. Many of the students that have taken the class report to me that they experience previously unattained results once they properly apply recovery in their programs.
Anyone interested can check out my website, www.hawaiifitnessacademy.com .
It’s always a positive thing when a client wants to know about rest and how much he or she needs. I will tell a client that its ok to take the week off depending on how many weeks we have been going strong. It feels great to let the body heal properly, so we can go for it hard, when we start back up.
There are definitely times when more than one day is needed. That is going to depend on how you were training. Another is if you have been over training and then you should definitely take a few days off. Another common reason for taking more than one rest day is following the completion of a competition or middle to long distance race (half marathons and longer). By the way, it took me almost 2 weeks to recover from one half marathon!
Recovery, phyiologically, describes the biochemical and structural processes that occur following exercise. Of course the extent is directly related to the intensity, type, and duration of the effort. Following glycogen depletion effort, for example, cycling 50 miles to exhaustion, it may take 2-3 days for the targeted muscles to fully repack their glycogen stores, that’s assuming adequate carbohydrate and water intake. Following maximal power effort to temporary muscle fatigue (like with a maximal effort, major muscle, free weight workout, (8-12 RM), it may take at least 2-3 days for the streaming of the contractile protein actin/myosin/tropomyosin/troponin complex in skeletal muscle cells to return to normal structure.
The point is that rest and recovery (including hydration and sensible eating) are a critical part of the conditioning process, for both fitness and performance. Taking “at least” a day off can be the best advice.
Having just returned from IDEA World, I better take more than one day off after having tried all that fun stuff and feeling thoroughly beaten up 🙂
But I hear your concern: for some people it becomes a ‘slippery slope’. When we look at health club statistics, once people begin to grop off in attendance, it may only be a small step toward reverting back to a lifestyle that does not include exercise.
A concept of ‘active rest’ may help. Of course the client should listen to her body, but taking a walk or doing something of a restorative nature may well be part of such a rest and recovery period. It keeps the idea of exercise as part of everyday life current.