1) You can’t remember the last time you didn’t work out (AKA too many consecutive days of working out).
Maybe you’re the type who never misses a training. If that’s you then, you should be incredibly proud of your consistency and for an established routine most people only dream of! Keep in mind, though, it’s just as important to schedule in dedicated days of lower intensity in order to properly recover your mind so that you can hit it even harder the next time.
2) You’re not in the right headspace (i.e. severe overwhelm, emotional distress, anxiety).
Imagine the last amazing workout you had. You were in the zone, so focused nothing could stop you. Now, try reaching that same level of flow if your mind is distracted with a slew of negative thoughts. We all get them, but if you notice a darker, heavier shadow than normal, you could be putting yourself at higher risk for injury if you jump into a heavily weighted or intense workout. Choosing an unloaded form of movement won’t further stress your body and will still give you that burst of happy hormones you need!
3) You didn’t sleep well and feel at best 6/10 energy (1 is dead, 10 is fully charged).
Our sleep is essential for all body functions. It cleans out the junk from our body and mind which allows us to perform at our best the next day. When you’ve noticed your rest has been significantly compromised, it’s never worth forcing a workout. At the very least, try to sneak in a short nap into your day to boost your recovery and mental clarity before exercising.
4) You feel under the weather or off kilter.
Us fitness freaks already know the sweet burn that naturally comes with a great workout. That means, we don’t need any additional strain or stress on the body. Plus, if you’re already feeling symptoms of illness such as a headache, tummy trouble, or congestion, adding a workout will often only amplify those symptoms and keep you sick for longer. So, no – don’t just sweat it out.
5) You are experiencing pain or discomfort in your body.
Occasional nicks and pains are expected from time to time. Tune into your body to differentiate between soreness and pain. When you notice burning, shooting pain, or discomfort to the degree that your range of motion is decreased, it’s highly recommended you second think a workout. This would be a great opportunity to consult your Health Coach or other trusted fitness professional to guide you to safety and pain relief.
Coming from someone who spends countless hours studying and coaching exercise, I’ve learned that our workouts, though essential to a healthy and vibrant life, are just one small part of a much larger and complex structure that determines how we look, feel, and perform day to day.
A rest day will look different for each person based on their goals and exercise history. For example, you could use a rest day to take a leisurely stroll outside, focus on a whole hour of stretching, or take a Vinyasa Yoga class. The main takeaway here is you want to avoid heavily loading, which adds weight and stress onto the spine.
What would your ideal rest day look like? Remember friend, there is always tomorrow to crush another epic workout!