How is it Friday already?? This week went by WAY too fast, but there was a lot of good stuff that happened.
For starters, Monday was sunny and in the 50s, so I went out for a hike after work. It was a tougher hike that I know I won’t be able to do at all once I am further along, so I went for it. (After posting the pano below on Facebook I got negative feedback, which I will write about at another time when it’s not such a tender spot- but I’ll blame the hormones for the amount of crying that ensued afterwards).
While actually on said hike I had a blast being outside and doing what I was doing. I felt great, it was a beautiful day, and I kept getting surges of love for my baby and family.
The other highlight from the week: I’m studying! I’m going to spend the next few months studying for the ACE Personal Trainer Certification, which I’ve been looking into for several months now and finally decided to go for it. Have already started the reading and am so excited to dig into this work!
And, here’s the workouts for the week. I was still feeling sore from last week so I spent more time doing low impact/easier intensity stuff when not doing Insanity.
Monday: Insanity Max Out 30: Max Out Cardio, hike
Tuesday: Insanity Max Out 30: Max Out Power, 30 minute Elliptical, 30 minutes weights, 50 minute easy walk.
Wednesday: Insanity Max Out 30: Max Out Sweat, PiYo Sweat, 35 minute elliptical, 25 minute walk on treadmill (incline)
Thursday: Insanity Max Out 30: Max Out Strength, 21 Day Fix Dirty 30, 40 minute elliptical, 20 minute walk on treadmill (incline)
Friday: Insanity Max Out 30: Friday Fight Night Round 2, 25 minute walk on treadmill (incline)
Active Recovery and Rest Days: What You Need to Know
I’m one of those people who has a difficult time sitting still, so taking a full rest day has never been an easy thing for me to do (unless it’s the day after a race). In spite of that struggle, I do take a day off every week to rest because it’s so good for you. If I am feeling really antsy, I’ll do an active recovery workout (such as yoga or pilates), which stimulates muscle recovery but doesn’t strain them the same way a regular workout would.
Some marathon training programs will recommend a rest day and a cross training day (like swimming, elliptical, etc). What’s the difference between rest and active recovery?
Rest means you do nothing at all physically that day. As someone who is used to moving around quite a bit, rest days can be tough to follow through with, but they are important because your muscles really need a break after a week of working (just like you- rest days are kind of like the weekend for your muscles). The best news- rest days happen whenever they work well for you. I’ll usually use Friday as my rest day since a) I’m worn out from a week of exercise/work at that point, and b) I have more free time on the weekends, so it’s easy for me to get a decent workout in at that time.
As mentioned before, an active recovery day means you’re still doing some form of a workout, but the intent is to assist your muscles in recovering from the week’s wear and tear while still getting your blood pumping. This article from Runner’s World also includes an easy, low impact workout as a form of active recovery- but if it ends up being an intense workout, that doesn’t count. Active recovery helps “relieve muscle soreness, improve flexibility, and restore energy storage levels” (from Active.com).
Both rest days and active recovery are good for injury prevention. This article from Body Recomposition breaks down the benefits of active and passive (i.e. rest day) recovery, including an interesting psychological component. He mentions that people who can’t help but “go all out” once they get to the gym- regardless of the workout- should commit to a complete rest day, since it’s unlikely they’ll be able to stroll into the gym for an easy workout.
To help me stay in the active recovery range of working out, I’ll ask a friend to go for a walk, bring a good book or t.v. show to the gym to dig into while on the bike or elliptical, or follow one of the Beachbody Pilates or Yoga workouts (I have a hard time doing self-guided yoga workouts so having the direction really helps me). And I agree with the Body Recomposition guy– knowing that it’s hard for me to sit still, I plan full rest days for when they work well with my schedule. This could be Fridays after a long week, the day after or before a race, a family event day, or if I know I’ll be traveling. Last Saturday was an active recovery day for me, and I spent the entire second half of the day on the couch reading and watching The Golden Girls. So you can also schedule a rest day around what happens to be on t.v. 🙂
Your body may want more than one rest day a week. That’s cool, and you should listen to your body when it sends you those messages. My legs were really sore at the end of last week, so I cut back on weights and worked more on stretching instead. Remember that “Optimal recovery includes both complete rest and active recovery” (source) so if you can work both into your workout plan, the happier your muscles will be!
For more reading on rest days, check out this blog post from one of my favorites, The Hungry Runner Girl:
Do you take a rest/active recovery day every week?
What’s your favorite cross-training (or ‘out of the ordinary routine’) workout?
**Remember, I’m not a doctor or physician or really any type of medical professional- this is just what I’ve found works for me. Everyone is different and if you’re struggling with an injury or something potentially serious, those medical professionals are the ones to get in touch with.