Why? For one thing, there’s the risk of injury that comes with the #nodaysoff mentality. As HIIT and ultra-intense workouts grow in popularity—and naturally create stress on the body—lots of fitness pros are beginning to prioritize recovery. (Well+Good even named this one of the top wellness trends to watch for 2017.)
“Physically, [resting] lets your body process whatever hard work you are doing,” Davis says. “Without stopping for a day, your muscles can get swollen and bulk up.”
But that’s not the only reason why taking 10 from the gym is crucial for your overall wellness. “It’s good to stop sometimes and just be—be grateful to be alive and be grateful for your body,” Davis proclaims. “We all move so fast, both physically and mentally, that [we have] to slow down. You will work and move more efficiently through life if you take care of yourself.”
So how much rest is enough? And what should you be doing on your off days to maximize the results?
Keep reading for Davis’ five rules of recovery, which help clients like Gomez stay balanced despite hardcore training schedules.
1. Listen to your body
Davis doesn’t prescribe a set number of rest days to her clients. Instead, she stresses the importance of tuning into the body’s messages and taking time off unapologetically when you just can’t bring yourself to lace up your sneakers.
“Being active is a lifestyle and moving around shouldn’t always feel like work—it should feel good!” she says. “That also means sometimes we just need some couch time to be a vegetable.”
That being said, your fitness goals should also play a role in how often you break from sweating. “If you’re training for a marathon, you may want to work out seven days a week, but one of those days could be a yoga or stretch day,” she suggests. “If you’re just maintaining, you could work out four to five days a week and take two to three days off.”
2. Prioritize self care
When asked what her celeb clients do on their rest days, Davis insists that they’re just as obsessed with all things hygge as the rest of us. That means you’ll find them watching movies, getting massages or facials, taking baths, reading books, or even cozying up under an infrared heat blanket to sweat out toxins and soothe muscle aches.
3. Make time for your friends—and good food
Like her clients, Davis is into eating with her squad when she’s not putting in gym time. “I love to start a [rest] day off with the farmers’ market and then take a motorcycle ride with my husband. Sometimes we wind up somewhere yummy for lunch, and then we drive back and enjoy the weather,” she says.
She’s also a big fan of cooking at home, where she says a little bit of wine isn’t off-limits. “I also love a good girlfriend date,” she says. “That’s a perfect day.” Another option: Organize a women’s circle.
4. Don’t plan it to death
For best results, be spontaneous. “I find it helps to not make a plan, but to do something that brings you joy,” Davis says. “There are no rules, except to do something that feels good. Get out of your routine and into the fun zone that brings feelings of contentment. You will go back to the gym feeling rejuvenated and get better results.” In other word, leave your errands for another day and bake a pie, spend time in nature, or get your aura photographed.
5. Keep it stress-free
Above all else, says Davis, know that some time away from the barre or the spin bike isn’t going to derail all your healthy intentions. “I think it’s super important not to stress on rest days,” she emphasizes. “People get so caught up in their routines that they freak out when they break them.”
Davis knows this because she’s experienced it firsthand. “I used to be a crazy gym addict. It ruled my life. When I didn’t go to the gym, I felt guilty. I felt like I hadn’t accomplished anything and then I would worry the whole day about the fact that I didn’t sweat. But all that worry and stress was doing the opposite of what I needed.”
Besides the fact that overtraining can lead to sleep disruption, anxiety, and serious injury, it’s important to remember that putting your workouts above all else is a serious balance-killer. And, isn’t balance what we’re all after? As Davis bluntly puts it, “There is more to life than working out. Like, a lot more.” Considering she works out for a living, that’s saying something.
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