Most people tend to completely overlook rest after lifting and focus completely on their workout. This is something you cannot afford to do if you are serious about seeing results.
A workout will only show results if you have the proper amount of rest to recover before working out again.
Wait a second… go back and read that last sentence again as it is very important you understand that at all times.
I get it… you’re pumped to start working out and to kick some ass in your workouts. You are driven to work out and the last thing you’d want to do is rest. I’ve been there and done that too and let me tell you, it’s always come back to bite me if I don’t get that motivation in check when it comes to rest days.
You see, results are developed on resting days and not while you work out. What you do when you work out is you get your body to release certain muscle build hormones that tell your body to rebuild more muscle while it is repairing the micro-tears that you created when lifting. This process of repairing the muscles comes from adequate rest. If you do not give your body enough time to rest then it cannot repair and rebuild in time before you break down the tissue again. This is why you won’t see results.
What You Can Do While You Wait
Now having rest days doesn’t mean you always have to sit and do nothing. You actually can still work out, but you have to be smart about it. I recommend giving your muscles 24 to 48 hours of rest before working them out again depending upon the intensity and duration you worked on those muscles.
Let me give you an example to better understand this concept. Let’s say you are planning on working on your chest and back today. Now you typically do 3 exercises for each muscle group and 3 sets of 8 reps for each exercise. Since this is a very intense strength training workout routine I’d recommend you wait 48 hours until you work on your chest and/or back.
If however, you do an entire upper body workout today and do 2 exercises per muscle group and 2 sets of 10 reps for each exercise then you might be able to get away with giving 24 hours at a minimum before working them out again.
You can also do cardio on your rest days if you’re still looking to work out. Cardio will not mess up your resting and recovery unless you overexert yourself while doing cardio and just did leg day the day before. I usually take a day off after leg day to recover and do cardio on my rest days when I focus on upper body.
What do you do to rest after lifting? Do you focus on another muscle group or do a cardio day or just take a day off completely? Does it work for you?