When you are really on a workout roll, it can be tempting skip the down time and keep right on going! While your dedication and motivation are impressive, your extreme workout habits may not be doing you an favors.
If working out is good, working out a lot has to be better, right? Not necessarily. It is during your rest days and recovery periods that your body does the work necessary to come back stronger than it was before. Working out, especially with weights, creates tiny tears in your muscles. This is a good thing
. When the muscle repairs that tear, it comes back bigger and stronger than it was before. If you don't take time for this healing process, you are at risk for doing some serious damage. And this damage isn't just physical! Overtraining can lead to exhaustion, lethargy, and an overall lack of motivation.
Here's a look at EXACTLY what happens to your body if you work through your rest days!
1. Glycogen is depleted.
Glycogen is what your body uses for energy. You don't want your glycogen levels to drop. Lower glycogen levels can mean a lowered lactate response which can cause your muscles to fatigue more quickly than usual.
2. Your performance suffers.
That's right, if your muscles are fatiguing faster than usual, your workout won't be very effective. Not only will you be unable to go as long as usually do, you won't be able to go as hard or as heavy. What's more, when your muscles are fatigued your form can suffer, leaving you open to an injury! If you do not work rest into your routine, your muscles don't have time for the necessary repair making it more likely that your results will plateau or even decline!
3. You'll lose muscle mass.
As we mentioned before, when you workout, you breakdown your muscles. If all you do is workout, you are doing nothing but continuously breaking down your muscles without giving them a chance to rebuild. This can only lead to one thing: a decline in muscle!
4. You're more likely to get sick.
When you don't rest, you put stress on your body. This stress raises the level of the "stress hormone" known as cortisol. Not only will this make it difficult for you to lose belly fat, it suppresses your body's immune response by inhibiting the lymphocytes response to antigens. Simply put, the cells in your body that fight off invader are not able to do their job.
5. Your heart starts working overtime.
Overtraining makes your resting heart rate (as well as your heart rate when working out) go through the roof. This is undesirable for a whole host of reasons. So, to keep your heart happy and healthy, schedule some down time.
6. You'll feel terrible, inside and out.
If you don't let those tiny tears in the muscle heal, your body will produce an inflammatory response that will lead to swelling and tenderness. Overtraining can also leave you feeling completely, and utterly, exhausted making it difficult for you to function in your day to day life. This can all start to mess with your head a little. You may notice yourself lacking motivation, feeling irritable, tense, angry, and even depressed!
Remember: sometimes less is more! It is important that you allow yourself one or two days a week to rest and recover! This doesn't mean you have to (or should) laze about and do nothing, you can keep your body moving with some light activity. Go for a walk, take a hike or ground yourself with a little bit of yoga! Taking time to focus on your breathing and stretch things out will help to relax your body and mind! At BodyRock, we're all about balance! That's why we don't just offer intense hiit workouts, we also offer yoga! Whether you're a beginner or advanced yogi, BodyRock Yoga has a series just for you! Do yourself a favor and check it out
Tell us, how do you work rest into your workout routine?