I recently went on vacation, and before I left, so many people asked me if I worked out on vacation. I responded, "No, I never work out on vacation." Some told me they didn't believe me, and others told me they assumed I did in order "to look the way I do." This moment made me think of people's perception of me and my relationship with fitness and how people view rest days.
As for me, yes, I LOVE fitness, but I also LOVE to give my body rest and enjoy my time with my loved ones. Fitness is my passion and my hobby, and it just happens also to be my full-time job. Most of my days and nights are filled with writing workouts, doing workouts, supporting people through workouts, etc. So just like any other job or passion, when I get to not think about fitness, I give myself that mental and physical break we all need. For me, it’s super important to take week-long breaks 1-2 times a year to give my muscles (and mind) a good rest. So when I vacation, I do just that.
I haven’t always felt this way about rest days. My relationship with rest days has been a roller coaster, but I finally feel like I have come full circle with it. Years ago, I used to think working out 6-7 days a week was necessary because I believed if I didn’t work out, I would gain weight. Or that taking a rest day meant I was lazy. Along with those thoughts, as a coach, I felt if I didn’t work out all the time and others were, and I was failing at my job. Fast forward many years later, and I think the complete opposite. I feel like one of the essential parts of my job as a coach is to educate my clients on the importance of physical and mental recovery. I preach the mantra “more is not better” and sometimes “less is more.”
Fitness does so many amazing things for us socially, mentally & physically, but just like anything else, too much of anything is not the best. Overtraining is real and can lead to injuries, sickness, lack of sleep, and burnout. I believe if people took more rest days, they would be shocked at how their body responds, how good they feel, and how much more they look forward to their workout days.
I really hope you can find that healthy balance between exercise and rest days, and if not, I’ll happily take some time away from the gym and chat with you about it over a great cup of coffee.
XO Coach Ally