Adding Rest to your Workout Routine. What?!?

In writing the Wellness Wednesday articles, I’ve come to find that I like to sit down and write a few at a time.  I feel like there’s a flow, from week to week, when I do that.  Last week’s bit on Personal Training (Hey, have you hired one yet?  If so, let me know how you feel!) was one step toward my learning a very important lesson that I’d never learned, as long as I’ve been a gym member.  REST is GOOD! 

Now, how many of you are saying, “Well, duh… Of course rest is good.”  Don’t we all love rest?  I like naps, I look forward to hitting the pillow every night, but I never looked forward to a day off from the gym.  There were no days off.  If you take a day off, you lose all you worked for the day prior.  Right?  WRONG!

Up until about two months ago, I was in the gym 6-7 days/week, but most often 7.  I taught Body Pump (muscle conditioning) and Cycling on Mondays, I trained a muscle group or two on Tuesdays prior to a cardio work out, I taught Pump again on Wednesdays w/ a side of cardio on my own, I trained 2 more muscle groups on Thursdays… You see where I’m going.  No rest. 

I had fallen in love with the world outside of my Group Fitness classes, while still loving my job.  I had to have as much of both as possible, while at the same time making myself leaner, stronger, a little bigger (but as women we aren’t wired to “bulk up”, like men), better…  Again, WRONG!  What I was really doing was overtraining. 

Thank goodness a dear friend of mine and personal trainer was able to teach me exactly what I was doing.  By working my muscles daily – This meaning I was hitting ALL muscle groups in Pump, then working 2, such as chest and triceps, the very next day – I was constantly training, which can actually weaken the muscle.  Rest is essential because it allows the muscle to repair itself.  During this time, it rebuilds and strengthens.  When we exercise, we break down our muscle tissue and we deplete energy stores/glycogen (Thanks, Lori!).  By resting after working, you can actually improve your performance.

Now, for anyone who knows me, they know how difficult this was for me.  Initially, I felt guilty taking days off.  If I taught Body Pump on Monday, Sunday and Tuesday were automatically rest days, because in that class, I’m working all the muscle groups.  I was told the extent of my exercise on those rest days was walking, slowly.  WHAT?!?!  I can’t get a decent sweat from that!  But, after reading up on rest and realizing that even the strongest of Body Builders realize the importance of rest, I started to believe that it was a good thing. 

So, here I am, on a Tuesday, the only exercise I’ll get it that of my fingers tap, tap, tapping on the computer keyboard.  Oh, and I’m gonna clean out my closet… Yippee!  How do I feel?  Great!  Why?  Because I know I’m going to get a great work out tomorrow.  My muscle will have had the time they need to repair and replenish.  It’s not a bad thing.  Plus, I’m getting a lot more done around the house and the puppy is getting an extra walk each day (when it’s not raining).  I’m happy, my husband is definitely happy and my muscles are thanking me for giving them a break by getting stronger.

Carri Nelsen

Do you have fitness questions for Carri? 

Send them to and we’ll try to get those questions answered in an upcoming post. 


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One Response to Adding Rest to your Workout Routine. What?!?

  1. Colline says:

    Yes, by resting my muscles I am able to work out even better during my next workout.

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