Whether you’re new to fitness or at an advanced level, you have probably wondered: is one rest day a week enough? It’s an important question because not allowing for enough rest can result in your not getting the results you want from your workout.
So with that in mind, let’s talk about rest days: how many you need and when is the best time to take them. In the end, it all comes down to balancing the on with the off, the yin with the yang, and learning to listen to your body.
How Rest Days Differ from Active Recovery Days
You may be tempted to swap a BodyRock+ HIIT for a jog on your off day, however, that wouldn’t be resting. Participating in low-intensity exercises would be considered an active recovery day, while a gentle walk is more suitable for a rest day.
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Active Recovery: Active rest days are days in between intense workouts that focus on moving and stretching your muscles but NOT stressing them out or putting them at risk for injury. Low-intensity or moderate exercise would fall under the banner of active recovery days. Activities like: brisk walking, light jogging, yoga, biking, stretching, or swimming would be considered appropriate active recovery exercises.
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When it comes to structuring your fitness schedule for the week, you want to space out your high-intensity workouts with active recovery days. It’s when you begin to feel overly sore that you should commit to a rest day to allow your muscles a chance to recover. After all, this is how you build muscle.
Determining if One Rest Day a Week is Enough
There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to figuring out how many rest days a week you’ll need to prevent injury or overtraining. The simplest way to decide when you need a break is by listening to your body. If you’re excessively sore then take note and take the day off.
Another factor to consider is the intensity of your workouts, i.e., are you doing daily yoga or heart-pumping HIITs? If you’re hooked on BodyRock+ HIIT-style workouts you’re going to want to take a day off every 3-5 days (more frequent rest required for higher intensity workouts). If you’re big into weight training when you do leg day that muscle group needs 1-2 days of rest. As for the folks out there that partake in light-moderate intensity workouts, you still need to have a handful of off days too!
Signs You Need a Rest Day
- Excessively sore muscles that won’t let up means they haven’t yet recovered.
- Next level exhaustion is a red flag to cool it.
- Persistent joint or muscle pain are an indicator of overuse.
- Mood swings from hormonal imbalance (serotonin and cortisol) means scale it back.
- Poor sleep from hormonal imbalance is your cue to take a rest day.
- Lack of progress from your fitness routine is an indicator you need a break.
Is One Rest Day a Week Enough?
Determining if one rest day a week is enough to allow your body to recover really depends on you and how in sync you are with your body cues. If you’re thirsty you get some water, so using that same logic if your body is persistently sore or you just feel off your game, consider this your warning and take a rest day. For some, this could mean one rest day and an active recovery are enough, while for others they may need more rest days. You’re not superhuman therefore your body isn’t immune to needing rest days. So show your body some love and don’t forget to give it the day off!