So, you have been hitting it seriously hard in the gym, and you sometimes feel as though it’s hard to have a rest. Not wanting a day off from training is a common thing as training, of course, is helping you achieve the body of your dreams. Down time or ‘rest days’ are an essential part of recovery and whether you want to have them or not, they are an absolute MUST! The question is, how can you maximize your post workout down time?

Many training enthusiasts and even athletes are guilty of ignoring stretching even on days they need it most! Rest days are an excellent way of loosening up any tight or constricted muscles and also improve your flexibility and range of movement. Try to really dedicate some time to stretching on your rest days and make it common practice and you will notice improved movements the next time you hit the gym for a session.

Go for a walk or gentle jog
Going for a walk or gentle jog will get the blood circulating around your system and keep those endorphins flowing and make you feel good. Your muscles will be fed all the nutrients and components they need to recover effectively if your blood flow is optimized so get up in the morning and go for a nice refreshing walk jog or even go swimming as this is gentle on your body.

Stick to your nutrition plan
Rest days are no excuse to slack on your nutrition. Rest days are actually better for your food plan because you have spare time to really indulge in the meal making process and more green, leafy veg! Don’t be scared to make your dishes a little bit more interesting with natural herbs and spices and don’t be shy with the vegetables and carbohydrates!

Supplement with amino acids
If you haven’t already used amino acids, now is the time to start. Usually purchased in powder form amino acids or more commonly known as BCAA’s. They are the building blocks of protein, your body uses amino acids to synthesize protein to help build and repair those muscles. At the very least try to ensure you are supplementing with amino acids on your rest days to speed up on optimize the recovery process.

Get an early night
If you have been having late nights or have struggled to get to sleep at a decent time then you need to utilize your rest days so that you have plenty of relaxing time and sleep. Your body needs sleep to retune itself and repair and oxidative damage as well as those growing muscles. Optimizing your sleep also means you are optimizing your gym gains.

Remember to stay well hydrated on your rest days too because every chemical reaction in your boy requires water to take place. Rest days are arguable just as important as training days as this is when the growth and repair process happens. Give your body the rest and fuel it needs.

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Betsy Smith

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