Embracing Rest


6. March 2014 by swissfitchick

By the end of this post, you will probably shake your head and say:’ I told you so. I could have told you that. Everyone knows that.’

I know. I get it. But think about this: I am blonde, I am stubborn and I live my life in extremes. Finding balance is one of the most difficult tasks for me, cause I kind of naturally fall into an extreme. Black or white. On or off. Very much or not at all. That’s me and it is my life task to find a balance in everything I do (except alcohol and cigarettes. These are things I never really found myself completely off but never desperately tempted either. Ok, Prosecco is a little problem, but verrrrrry little πŸ™‚ ). Passo RunI am addcited to exercise and considering this fact, I must say I did pretty darn well in the last 8 months. I decreased my amount of exercising a lot – for many people I still work out like a mad woman, but compared to what I did before, my workout plan is pretty decent (90 minutes 5 days a week instead of 2,5 hours 6-7 times a week). What happens is, that I plan my workouts and restdays and then I start to randomly increase workout time, add a little workout here and there and then I am in the overtraining mode again. Honestly, sometimes I don’t even realize it.

SquatsNow last week, my body forced me to take a 6 days FULL rest. After tearing my spinal disk at Crossfit, I had such awful pain, that I could hardly walk. Even if I wanted, there was NO way of thinking about a workout. So I rested. And rested more.

Resting and happy

Resting and happy

I literally laid or stood around all day (sitting was not an option), I took a few walks and slept a ton of hours. I did watch my calorie intake a bit, but not as much as I thought I would. I ate chocolate daily and I even went out with my friend one night and had a few drinks. Yeah. New score on my recovery list. IMG_5846Now a new experience to me was the way my body felt these days. Apart from the backpain, I honestly felt better than ever before.

  • I had no tummy issues at all – my tummy was flat all the time and not bloated at all
  • I started to lean out = shed water from not working out (the body retains water to ‘heal’ the muscles after a workout)
  • I was calm, happy, relaxed and I slept wonderful
  • My digestion worked like a clock (sorry TMI!!)
  • I did not gain any weight at all

    Oh yes, I'd prefer this view while resting (Cabanbanan Beach, Philippines)

    Oh yes, I’d prefer this view while resting (Cabanbanan Beach, Philippines)

Now you can imagine that I was kind of thrilled to see my abs popping out while I was hanging around like a lazy bum πŸ™‚ Of course this does not mean that I can take 6 days of rest every week πŸ™‚ BUT, it shows how much my body appreciates the rest, the relaxation, the sleep, the recovery. And that it actually can develop its fit form in the recovery phase. We must not forget, that workouts are a stress for our bodies. And as every stress in our lives, depending on the level, it can be good or bad. Some stress gives us a high&happy feeling, too much stress releases stress hormones and gives us the ‘bad stress’ symptoms which we probably all know. kettlebells

So as long as our bodies are challenged in a good way in terms of workouts, that is a good thing. We feel strong, energized and we develop a fit figure. Though if we don’t give the body time to ‘grow’ those muscles, to recover and to reload the batteries, it’s counter productive. I found a good explanation on sportmedicine.about.com:

‘Building recovery time into any training program is important because this is the time that the body adapts to the stress of exercise and the real training effect takes place. Recovery also allows the body to replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissues. Exercise or any other physical work causes changes in the body such as muscle tissue breakdown and the depletion of energy stores (muscle glycogen) as well as fluid loss.

Recovery time allows these stores to be replenished and allows tissue repair to occur. Without sufficient time to repair and replenish, the body will continue to breakdown from intensive exercise. Symptoms of overtraining often occur from a lack of recovery time. Signs of overtraining include a feeling of general malaise, staleness, depression, decreased sports performance and increased risk of injury, among others.’

My goal for this month and all the coming ones is to include AT LEAST 2 restdays, if possible 3. Or a Yoga/light Cardio day for the third one. And on the other 4-5 days – I give it ALL and WORK those muscles!! Strengthrest-daySource

Are you in with me? Sweat? Fuel well? Rest? Sleep? Repeat?

Do you embrace your restdays or is it a struggle for you?Β 

Are you good at keeping the balance?Β 



21 thoughts on “Embracing Rest

  1. Where is my rest muscle and how do I work it? πŸ™‚ Resting is a struggle for me. I tend to overtrain too-at least lately I’ve cut back to one workout a day more days than 2.

  2. Enora says:

    Rest days are a real struggle for me! I am bad At it and even if i know its good for my body, i barely do them.
    Thats why i got my knee injury: too much running and HIIT 😦
    But i Will try to go more for a walk or do a yoga. This is something I need to work on!

  3. No Lucie- I’m not going to say ‘I told you so’ or ‘everybody knows that’. You know why? It’s so much easier to SAY something but to actually put it into practice- that is the hard part. You, my friend, have embraced this injury and as such, it has been a positive learning curve- one which was the necessary slap in the face to PROVE to YOU that yes….rest days are necessary and the rewards are warranted. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you Arman!! You’re right – it was definitely so hard to put this into practise and I will have to be careful in the future to keep my restdays up. I am very curious on how my new structure will effect my progress.

  4. I definitely used to have issues with rest days back in the day – I was convinced that more than 1 rest day a week would slow my progress so much! I’ve definitely learned over time that for me, it’s the opposite. If I grow hard 6-7 days a week, my body is not pleased, and that’s when I get injured. My body works best with 2-3 rest days a week, so I’m learning to embrace that! And I take a full week off from workouts about once every 3-4 months – my body definitely appreciates it! Rest is so underrated πŸ˜‰

    • Exactly!! My progress lacks big time when I overtrain. I can not build muscle nor lose fat – it stays the same or I even gain weight! Rest IS underrated and I am so glad I finally realized it.

  5. I am so glad your extended rest made such a positive difference the following week. That is how it seems to work for me when I take some time off as well. I definitely have to keep myself in check to make sure I don’t overtrain and find myself living in the gym!

  6. I am right there with you! And this is just what I needed to see, so thank you. I’m about to hit a week of hard travel and I know my workouts will suffer.

  7. […] Embracing Rest ~ Fit Swiss Chick. Why rest days are so important for our body and mind. […]

  8. cottercrunch says:

    girl, i’ve been there. I was sick for years. I finally had to take 8 months off of working out, yes 8 months! i walked and yoga. I felt… GREAT! And regained my health

  9. Wow. You have no idea how much I needed this post right now — everything you said just resonated with me so very much. I, like you, fall into the extreme category. I am an all or nothing kind of girl, and I push myself to the brink with my workouts and am trying (HARD!) to become comfortable with the notion of rest days. This week I was forced to rest a little more than usual because I injured my ankle on a long run on Sunday. I was going to try to go to cycling today, but after reading this post I just may skip out on it and let my ankle heal more!! Eek. We’ll see. Thanks for this, and I will definitely be back to your blog to read more! Can’t believe I just discovered it.



    • Jordan, I’m so glad you can relate and I hope this will help you to incorporate that much needed rest in your workout schedule!! Believe me, i had such a hard time with taking restdays, but the last week I felt just amazing and I was able to do GREAT workouts this week! Don’t forget, your progress will suffer if you overtrain – mine did, I was doing ineffective workouts. Trust your body, it knows best and give it time to heal!!

  10. Victoria says:

    I fight rest so much myself, and then I get forced into it because of illness. I recently had bronchitis and had to take 4 full days off, and worried about losing my fitness – only to come back to running faster than ever. Sometimes, our bodies are smarter than we are!

    • You can’t lose your fitness so fast Victoria, it’s not possible. You can rest up to 2 weeks without losing. Trust your body, it IS smarter than us, and just like our minds need sleep and breaks or vacation, the body needs that rest as well.

  11. […] February, I injured my back and had to take a week off. It was a good lesson and even though I had a lot of pain, it had a positive effect on my mind AND […]

  12. […] Coach to not freaking out crazily over all the options I got from one day to the other. You know my affinity to overtraining. I wanted to avoid that in any […]

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