Exercise! - Rest Day - Is it really necessary?

07-07-2008, 01:29 PM
Is a rest day absolutely necessary? How about an "active rest" day, say with Pilates or Core training?

I'm not killing myself at the gym (see schedule below) but I only have one day completely off. The days I do cardio usually consists of anywhere from 20 - 75 minutes of running, biking, or swimming (I'm training for my first triathlon). However, I just recently started adding in some strength training which currently consists of 1 or 2 exercises per body part with 3 sets of 12-15 reps. I plan to add in more slowly over the next month or so. I am mixing up the exercises so that my body doesn't get used to one thing.

My problem is that I have a tendancy to have a rest day and then another and then another until I have a whole of week of having done nothing. So I feel like I should at least put in an appearance at the gym and maybe do some Pilates or Core/Stability training on my rest day. But then is it really a rest day? Is this detrimental to my progress?

Mon - Rest
Tue - Legs, back, biceps, calves, cardio
Wed - Cardio
Thu - Chest, delts, triceps, abs
Fri - Cardio (easy)
Sat - Legs, back biceps, calves, cardio
Sun - Chest, triceps, delts, abs, cardio


07-07-2008, 01:32 PM
Many people find a real rest day to be perfect for them. Others like to exercise everyday, and that's fine too, as long as it feels good and not punitive. The important thing is a rest day (or two or three, depending on intensity) between strength training the same body parts. That doesn't mean not doing cardio on that day.

07-07-2008, 02:14 PM
On my rest days, I stay active by doing walking. You could just do a walk on the tredmill. I think it's good to keep going rather than have a day of absolutely nothing. Walking gets your blood criculating and it will give your muscles a break.

07-07-2008, 02:47 PM
It varies from person to person. I would say a rest DAY isn't absolutely necessary, but it IS absolutely necessary to give each muscle group a rest after you work it.

It's not the work that builds muscle and strength. It's the repairing process that the body goes through that builds the muscle. If you don't give your muscles time to heal and rebuild the damage that your workout causes, all you're doing is building damage upon damage, which will have the opposite effect of what you want.

As long as you're not working the same muscle groups on consecutive days, I suspect you could do as many days in a row as you want. OTOH, at some point your body will get tired and stall and you'll need a rest. At one point I couldn't understand why I wasn't able to hold up in the gym like I used to - found myself getting really tired and not being able to push as hard. Then I realized that I'd gone 27 or 28 days w/out a break and my body was just saying "ENOUGH". I took a long weekend off and when I got back into it the next week, it was like a whole new person.

So eventually your body *will* want a break. Just pay attention to the signs and you'll do fine.


07-07-2008, 03:05 PM
I like to give myself a rest day each week, but not necessarily plan it out, this way if I can't workout for some reason that can be my rest day, without any guilt that I didn't workout.