We are all driven individuals who are aiming to outperform our previous day’s best. Day after day we strive to be better versions of ourselves in a relentless pursuit of gaining new muscle and strength. We force our body to endure enormous amounts of pressure and force, take extreme measures to extend the tension we apply to our structure and then magnify it all by adding in more stress when we can. Eventually, these measures will take their toll and our body will start fighting back. Don’t ignore the signs when it happens and don’t think you’re not hardcore if you need a break. Rest is crucial and critical for your continued success so when it’s time to back off or even take a break, rest assured it’s most likely warranted and the following is what you need to be on the lookout for.
Overall Lethargy and Fatigue
This one usually creeps into your daily life slowly and settles in without making a real impact on your overall life but enough to know it’s there. An overall feeling of fatigue and lethargy within everything you have to accomplish throughout the run of the day is a sure sign you need a physical and mental break from the gym. When you’re constantly wearing yourself down and overtaxing your system, eventually you just get tired. You can only push so hard for so long before things start going south. Be aware of this and don’t just add in another scoop of pre to fight it off. If in fact you are just burnt out, take some time off from the gym and get yourself some much-needed rest.
Nagging Aches and Pains
The longer you train the more issues you’ll end up having to deal with in the nagging aches and pains category. It’s all a part of what we do and if we took time off every time we encountered something like this, we’d probably never end up training. What I’m referring to here with this is that if something is bugging you to the point it interferes with your training and doesn’t allow you to push as hard as you want, then you may want to consider extra rest; at least for that area of the body. Maybe you skip a shoulder day that week or perhaps you back off on triceps extension exercises that tend to flare up the elbows or if your lower back is still destroyed from the 500lb deadlift and 500lb squat session you completed this week, you might want to thank your back for holding up to that by giving it a rest.
No Motivation or Focus
When you don’t feel like training, don’t. Although some of the best workouts I’ve personally ever had came by way of having no interest at all in training that day and after getting a few sets in everything went fire, I suggest you pay attention to this feeling. When you aren’t motivated to train, you usually just end up going through the motions and wasting valuable time which could have been devoted to getting in some extra rest that probably would have benefitted you performance-wise the next day. Second, to this, you won’t have the necessary focus on the task at hand to make any headway. Even worse, you’ll get injured because you end up trying something you aren’t ready for even though you did it the week before with no problem at all. These days happen to us all so take it for what it is and just move on from it.
There will come a time when your return on effort is low and the culprit almost always ends up being an overwhelming need for rest. So don’t be afraid to take a day off here and there or maybe even build in a full week off within your training calendar every few months. The additional rest in your training schedule could prove to be the catalyst for the new growth you’ve been in search of and exactly what your body has been needing. Don’t ignore the signs and use your rest days strategically to help get you closer to your goals.
Author: Dana Bushell
Gym Star Team Member