The Secret Ingredient to Optimal Fitness: REST DAY

What if I told you one of the best things you can do for your body is to take a break from the gym?

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Not so long ago for me, #gymwaslife. It didn’t matter how I felt each day. I had to get my workout in. Unfortunately, this led me to getting stuck in the mechanics and numbness of working out. It sucked out the joy that used to come from exercising.

To break up what I thought was monotony, I started training with Plus Movimiento. During my first few weeks of movement training, I was forced to take a step back and really pay attention to my body’s movement patterns. Then Camilo had me do the unthinkable-

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take an unscheduled rest day

    

Our conversation went something like this:

Me: “What’s my training tomorrow?”

Camilo: “No training. Rest.”

Me (wide-eyed and starting to panic inside): “Uh…what?”

Camilo (calmly, almost Yoda-like): “Our body is like a machine. The more we use it, the increased chance of it breaking. Rest.”

So I did.

Now, I could stop here and list the well-researched physical benefits of rest: Decreasing inflammation, giving your muscles time to repair and build, retaining more protein, and performing better when you train again, etc.

Instead, I'll tell you about my biggest benefit: 

Thanks to my "rest day," movement became real for me.

I realized the ways I moved everyday outside of the gym. I know, I’m stating the obvious. But teaching my students, running errands, and meeting friends at the park for a game of volleyball became enjoyable again. I had energy! Moving became purposeful.

I also realized that although I was not suffering from chronic pain, I was instead suffering from the pain of disconnection. Listening to your body came so easily as a child!

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Re-learning this skill is difficult, but worth it. Resting helped me recognize the stress that training places on my body. It also taught me that balance is important in all aspects of life, including not being a total gym rat. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being at the gym- for the people, the movement exploration, and “me time.” But I also love not feeling guilty when I need a day off. 

I’m grateful for this unique machine that I get to take care of.

Now when I go to the gym, I’m excited to explore my movement and increase my muscle capacity (with the expertise of Plus Movimiento).

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Although I still dread leg day. Hey, resting won’t solve all of your first world gym problems...So when you take your rest day(s), be meaningful with the hour you would have spent at the gym to do something for others. This requires you to use a different kind of movement.

Contributor - Liz Felt (+M client)