So here’s the thing—you can burpee, bench press and box jump as much as you like in the bid to get the bod you want, but the reality is—pushing yourself too hard can actually hinder your progress.
Fact of the matter is, you need rest days to truly reach your goals. Regardless of whether that’s trying to shed a few kilos or gain a bit of muscle, according to Libby Babet, Fitness Expert and Founder of the BUF Girls, rest days are where all the magic happens.
They’re pivotal in helping your body recover, repair and restore glycogen levels so that you can regain the strength and energy you need to keep on going. (And if there’s a legit reason why you should enjoy a sleep in instead of waking up at 5am to hit the gym, well, we’ll take it).
“Without rest days, your muscles will eventually start to weaken, and you’re more likely to feel fatigued and skip out on future sessions,” says Libby. “If you look at the training diaries of professional athletes, there’s no way they’re smashing themselves in the gym every single day—they have experts plan their training meticulously and periodically, so they hit their peak at just the right time at the height of the season and don’t burn out.”
Okay so moral of the story is that rest days are essential. But what does the perfect rest day look like? ‘Cause we’re thinking along the lines of lying on the couch with all the snacks and ‘back-to-back Netflix.
Yeah, not quite.
To ensure you’re staying on top of your health and fitness goals, Libby encourages you to try and not get caught up in the ‘all or nothing’ mindset.
“On the days that I’m taking a break from the gym (or just don’t even feel like going to the gym!), I still look for an opportunity for some low impact, outdoor exercise. I love long walks or hikes, or paddling out for a surf. I’m trying to get into yoga a bit more too or even just a stretch in the park.”
As for nutrition, should your eating plan differ in anyway on the days when you’re not sweating it out? Well, it depends, says Libby. “I try to just pay attention to my own hunger signals. For me, it’s more about looking at the quality of food I’m eating—lots of fresh, nutrient dense vegetables, plus generous healthy fats for balanced hormones. That said, if I’m going for a long walk on my rest day, I’ll definitely eat more snacks. I love packing some nuts, fruit, a Chief bar and of course, lots of water while I’m on the go.”