Rest days are crucial in building and retaining muscle. Without rest and recovery, your hard work at the gym will go straight down the drain. Your muscles need time to form new fibres and build the body that you’ve been working so hard for! So, what exactly should you be doing on your rest days? The good news (or bad), having a rest day doesn’t mean you should sit down all day and do absolutely nothing. A rest day simply means taking a break from your usual hardcore training and taking it easy.
Many equate rest days to cheat days, which unfortunately isn't the case! If you’re working towards a body composition goal, your rest days should still be planned, which is commonly referred to as ‘active recovery’. There are certain things you can do to optimise your rest days to ensure your muscles are getting exactly what they need. Let’s find out what they are!
Feed Your Muscles
Your muscles need fuel to grow and if you’re not already on board with protein powders, you’re about to be! Your body does so many things for you automatically and building muscle is one of them. On autopilot, your body will take the nutrients you put into your body and use it to form new muscle.
We should probably give it a helping hand, right? Incorporating protein powder into your routine can be extremely beneficial in your body composition journey.
Protein is the building blocks of essentially every process within your body, including forming muscles. Using a protein powder can help drastically in the process of recovery and can ensure that the muscle your body is forming is high-quality. We recommend 100% Lean Whey by Genetix Nutrition! This delicious protein powder can be enjoyed on its own in the new flavour, Cookies and Cream.
Post-exercise and on your rest days, you should focus on giving your body what it needs to rest and recover as effectively as possible.
Use the extra time you have, to prepare your meals for the next couple of days. Meal prepping makes life so much easier for future you. Instead of searching through the fridge trying to whip something together after you’ve finished your gym sesh, you’ll already have a healthy meal conveniently waiting to be eaten.
If you usually spend about an hour at the gym, take this time out of your rest day to bulk make your favourite high-protein meal.
Nutrition is just as, if not more important than your workout routine. Exercise provides roughly 20% of your results and nutrition is the remaining 80%. Fuelling your body with the right foods and the essential nutrients can drastically change the trajectory of your body composition results.
Just because you’re having a rest day doesn’t mean you have to stay on the couch the entire afternoon. Getting your body moving can actually help with delayed onset soreness.
If you’ve been lifting heavy, you probably experience some form of muscle soreness. The best way to combat this is to get your body moving and stretch!
Don’t worry, this still is your rest day, and you shouldn’t be doing anything super intense. Go for a walk while the suns out or whip out your yoga mat for some at-home stretches.
If you’re really feeling the effects of those heavy deadlifts, treat yourself and take a nice warm bath! Get your hands on some of those muscle soak salts and some candles and you’re in for a nice night.
Use the time you have, to read up on your burning health and fitness questions. The more you know about health, the more conscious decisions you can make to reach your specific health and fitness goals. If you’re reading this article, good start!
With so much available information that’s easily accessible, there’s plenty of research to be done. Whether your goal is to gain muscle, lose weight or simply improve your health, it’s never too late to educate yourself.
Nutrition Warehouse is a great resource for information, and we pride ourselves on bringing you the latest info on everything supps, health and fitness. So, if you’re currently on your rest day and you’re reading this article, you’re already two steps ahead!
All in all, rest days are extremely important. Without them, you’ll burn out, increase the risk of injury and your muscles simply won't have the time to recoup. Get your rest!