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The Importance of Rest Periods
Your body builds new muscle tissue while you sleep and rest. It is a very common beginners mistake to forget to rest properly.
Lets say for example that your goal is Muscle Gain via Weightlifting - Well then you need to be lifting weights 3 days per week - say Monday, Wednesday, Friday - with plenty of rest in-between your weightlifting sessions.
If you don't have rest periods you will end up taxing your muscles too much and you won't be getting the optimal amount of muscle gain.
In theory you could do weightlifting as much as 3.5 times per week, doing a full body routine every 2nd day and resting in-between.
Or another way to do it would be to only exercise your upper body muscles on odd days and only exercise your lower body muscles on even days of the month. So yes, you could exercise every day of the week, but you would be giving different parts of your body a break on alternating days.
When it comes to Cardio or Endurance training you want to aim for 4 days per week. eg. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, Friday. And you want to work your way up endurance wise so eventually you are doing a single activity - eg. swimming - for 60 to 80 minutes.
But the end result is that you still need time to relax, recuperate and heal from the physical stress of your ordeal.
If you aren't resting it will result in you developing a number of physical and emotional sideeffects, including insomnia, anti-social behaviour and all the other warning signs of Exercise Addiction / hormone deficiencies.
Exercising burns through hormones in your body like crazy. It eats it up. Those hormones affect other things health wise however and even your personality / behaviour. Your body needs rest periods between periods of strenuous exercise so that you can recharge and rebuild, not just ripped muscle tissue, but also to correct hormonal imbalances.
So if you're still feeling guilty about slacking off during the Christmas / Holiday season, don't worry, it was a well deserved rest period.
Note: Sometimes its also necessary to switch to low strain recuperative periods in your exercise routine. Maintenance / Healing phases. Basically instead of exercising really hard and intense you take 2 weeks and just sort of "chill" while you exercise. You still exercise, but you do it at a less intense level and you avoid anything that is painful such as Power Lifting or marathon running.
Such phases also give your body more time to build up / repair any muscles, and is great for if you are recovering from a minor sports injury.
Remember that the best sleeping pattern is a 1 hour nap during the day and 5 hours of sleep every night. Failing that the next best thing is 7 to 8 hours of solid sleep per day.
If you have difficulty sneaking in naps during weekdays, try to have 1 or 2 naps every weekend. Naps and sleeping do wonders for your hormone and energy levels, making you feel more alert and more energetic.
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