Why You Need Rest Days In Your Fitness Program

You started a fitness journey and you are all up in the fitness game.  You’ve been pushing day in day out and have seen results. Then suddenly the changes stop coming or they take longer to come through. You are frustrated so you push harder to no avail.

  • You start thinking this fitness stuff is not for you.
  • It’s all a lie.
  • Or maybe it’s time you consider those miracle shakes or something?
  • Or maybe you’re a runner who can’t seem to go faster.
  • Or you’re trying to gain muscle but it’s not working?

If you relate to any of the above it’s perfectly normal so don’t worry at all. There’s one thing that you’re likely not doing that could unlock this problem for you…. REST.  Now before you run for the hills saying this person is mad (how can not working out improve your workouts?) I urge you to read the full article, try it and if it doesn’t work for you then you can feel free to brand me crazy.

The Science

As you exercise your muscles are tested and in many cases proven weak, so your body makes a memo to make those muscles stronger. It takes time out to rebuild the muscles and make them stronger for next time. So guess what happens if you don’t rest? The muscles never get stronger. And if they never get stronger you never get better at what you do.

The Logic

Another important thing to consider is your performance.  Runners will talk about gait, strength trainers will talk about form. Whatever you call it, it’s important you perform your best during workouts to get the most out of them. That means having the full energy to do the work properly. Tried cutting something with a blunt knife? A lot of energy in and little results. So working out with tired muscles is much the same (go back to the introductory paragraph).

Rest Before You Are Tired

Now if you’ve ever tried running in intervals to improve your endurance you will know the next part very well.  If you rest when you feel tired you’re already too late. The key is to rest before you’re fatigued; you recover much quicker and are able to go for longer. So as it is with the small things so it is with the big ones. Resting your muscles regularly boosts your fitness, it in fact injury proofs you. Allowing your body to fix your weak spots before they are exposed.

How Often Should You Rest?

It largely depends on what you are doing exactly how much you need rest.  Here are few examples in my own experience and observation;

Strength Training

My strength workouts are murder, you have to scrape me off the floor with a spatula immediately after!  I use a weight I can do 8 -12 reps with and increase the weight when I get to 12 reps by 4 sets. After working out a muscle group, I rest it for at least a day to 2 days.

Cardio Workouts

Cardio workouts that are not to strenuous you can allow yourself up to 3 or consecutive days of activity and then one day of rest or 2 is fine.

Running

Generally most runners are running as far as they can or as time allows. If your runs are challenging then 2 days on and a rest day is the perfect plan for you. More can be done and it’s fine to go 5 straight days and rest two… If your goal isn’t to run faster and better.

How To Rest

When you are on a rest day or period doing absolutely nothing is allowed but it’s not the best idea. The things you really should do on rest days are stretch and hydrate. Stretching helps with blood flow and loosening the rested muscles while hydration is always good. ALWAYS. Light walking or short runs are also good for active recovery. Swimming or running or walking in a swimming pool are really good too.

Rest is part of the plan, a VERY BIG part of the plan. Not something you do when you can’t go any further. So have a look at your plan, if rest is not in it, you need a new plan. Schedule some rest and see if it doesn’t bring the desired results.

God made the earth and he rested. God made the plants and he rested. God made animals and he rested. God made man and he rested. Then God made woman and since then no one has rested!

This 4 minute read by was penned down by Fitness Beard.

Fitness Bae®

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4 Things That Happen When You Run 200km

I host fitness challenges every month and in August the goal was to run 200km in 31 days or earlier. I finished the challenge on Sunday the 25th. This was by far the longest distance I’ve ever gone since I started running. I guess the challenge hash tag was befitting after all, ##OnlyTheBraveChallenge because who would willingly want to run nothing less than 10km almost everyday? It was quite an experience.

#OnlyTheBraveChallenge.jpg

I was position 5 out of 59 runners. I had to make my way from Harare Central Business District to the National Sports Stadium just to make sure I could clock in the required remaining distance. It was tough, the uphill is unforgiving. The challenge is still on and there are 4 ays to go. Runners from America, Dubai, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi and so many more took part. Virtual running truly connects fitness enthusiasts.

5 Things Happened During This Challenge

  1. I felt I was going to die on the first run. I couldn’t control my breathing, I had cramps and my legs were giving in on me. I hadn’t ran for a solid month so my body was playing tricks on me.
  2. I ran different scenic routes. I got to see some hidden beautiful spots in Harare and enjoyed the clean morning air.
  3. I slept better. I didn’t have the energy to stay up for electricity to come back, if you’re in Zimbabwe you know all about the load shedding unpredictable schedule. Bed time meant sleeping throughout the night and having an early start to my day. My internal alarm woke me up at 4:00am each day without fail.
  4. I ate better. After running for more than an hour at least 4 times a week I was more mindful of what I consumed. There was no way I was going to ruin my gains by feeding my body with unhealthy foods. (except the occasional glass of wine)

Fitness Bae Magamba Stadium

This route had the most insane uphill I’ve ever encountered. It was 183m in total. I’m happy I made it out alive. A big well done and thank you to everyone who took part in the challenge. We all deserve rest days.

I host virtual fitness challenges every month and everyone is welcome to join. All you need is a good pair of running shoes, an enthusiastic attitude and the Nike Run Club Application installed on your phone.

Did you exercise today?

Fitness Bae®

Top 5 Reasons To Take The Stairs

I ALWAYS take the stairs.  I worked at my former workplace for 7 years and in all the 7 years I would go up 4 flights of stairs before getting to my office floor.  I had exceptions where I used the elevator.  The rare times when I was unwell and had no strength to go up the stairs.

It became such a trend for me that everyone in the building ended up calling me as the “stairs lady”.  It was a good thing because I encouraged a few people to start taking the stairs over the years.  Present day when I visit friends or run errands I make sure I use the stairs even if they’re on the 12th floor.

Part of the reason why I use the stairs is because I am scared of being stuck in the elevator because the one at my place of work always jams people in there.  At least once a week someone or a group of people get stuck in the elevator, I am not taking any chances.  I don’t do well with closed spaces and chances of getting into a panic attack are too real so no;  I won’t be using an elevator anytime soon.

Below are 5 reasons why you should incorporate stairs in your daily routine;

  1. You tone your lower body.
  2. You work on getting a strong core.
  3. Going up the stairs may be hard but it’s easy on your joints.
  4. Stairs allow you to accomplish cardio, toning, and muscle building all at once.
  5. Stair climbing uses the largest muscles in your body to continuously carry your own body weight up throughout the entire workout, which means more calories burned!

What are you waiting for?  Get stepping 🙂

Fitness Bae®

Top 6 Benefits Of Baobab Powder

Growing up I used to look forward to baobab (mawuyu) season.  This must be the tastiest indigenous fruit I’ve ever had. Did you know that Baob Organic Baobab Fruit Powder can be consumed in various ways?  I was used to enjoying it as is but I recently discovered that you can use it for:

  1. Baking
  2. Desserts
  3. White sauce
  4. Sprinkle over your porridge to give it that extra zing
  5. Make maheu (I’m told it makes a really strong beer if you add one too many teaspoons)
  6. Enjoy a glass of water after your run or first thing in the morning; add ginger, lemon and a teaspoon of baobab powder.

Life is good!  If you’re in Zimbabwe you can get your hands on this amazing powder from @BaobGlobal

So…how do you take your baobab and do you have any recipes to share?

Fitness Bae®

 

Last Name Hungry, First Name Always

I’m almost always hungry and I’ve had to teach myself to get in line otherwise I’d be eating all the time.  You can read about my not so little secret on what I do to enjoy eating whatever I like from here.  Today the Blogging challenge requires me to share 3 fitness events that are happening in my area this month so here goes.

Colcom International Cultural Food Festival

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This event is happening on Saturday 31st of August and I have no idea how much a ticket will be going for.  I will probably go because of the Countrystyle Sausage.  That sausage is the best product to ever come out of Colcom and I can never get enough of it.  Also I’ll go to see what the big deal really is because their Facebook Page has pictures from last year that are screaming YOU MISSED OUT!  Fitness and food go hand in hand, you have to feed the body that works.

Harare Colour Sprint 5K

Save the date for Saturday 24 August because you’re going to “dye” for this run.  I went for the Spar Colour Run last year and enjoyed every second of it.  I hope the one hosted at Borrowdale Race Course will be equally electric.  Make sure you’re not wearing any of your favourite running pieces because you’re going to have a lot of colour on your clothes and your hair.  Forewarned is forearmed.

Bon Marché Mount Pleasant Walk-A-Robix

Fitness Bae Bon Mache.jpg

The event for the fit and legit, scheduled for this Saturday, 17 August 2019.  My only bone of contention is the starting time.  It’s summer time now and by 6am the sun is blazing hot.  I don’t like running in the heat.  It’s uncomfortable and I don’t see clearly because of the glare from the sun.  However, it’s not a reason for you not to attend.  I’ve been to three races and they were all worth the trouble.  You get refreshments along the way, you can network afterwards and you can show off your running stats afterwards.  You can read about one of my experiences at Bon Marche from over here.

Which fitness events are happening in your part of the world?

Fitness Bae®

 

 

 

Running Changed My Life

If you told me in January 2014 that I would one day be addicted to running I’d call you a bluff.  I LOVED my alcohol so much I drank every single day, I didn’t exercise AT ALL and my mental health was in shambles.  I had very negative self talk; believed that I was on earth to fill in the numbers and I’d not amount to anything.  How things change!  Running is the number 1 reason my life took a completely different turn and I’m thankful because without it I’d probably be a lost soul.

1. Mind Therapy

Last month I went for a good month without exercising.  I enjoyed sleeping in but my mind struggled.  I was so used to the feel good hormones that come with running and I was stuck in a not so great zone.  When I go for a run I get to clear my head, plan my day, mediate and sometimes even come up with blog post ideas.  Like the one I wrote : Benefits Of Exercising During Your Period sometime ago, I actually thought of this topic during a long ass run.  Feel good hormones and positive thinking are best friends.

2. Helps Me Poop

Before I started running I used to have to stash up on laxatives.  My bowel movement was irregular.  The moment I got consistent with running so did my poop.  I now poop like clockwork.  Did I tell you about the time I went for a run when the running challenge for this month started and I felt like doing poo when I was 1 hour into my run?  Crazy times I tell you!

3. Compliments

It’s one thing to see the fruits of your labour when you look at yourself in the mirror and it’s another thing to have strangers and friends compliment you on your fitness gains.  That’s probably the top reason why I’m still focused on my fitness journey.  That topped up with knowing that I can wear anything and it will still look good. 🙂

Are you on a health and fitness journey?  How many years has it been for you and what keeps you motivated?

Fitness Bae®

Piercings Give Me Pleasurable Pain

I got my first ear piercings when I was in Grade 1. My friends mum is the one who pierced my friend and I on a random sunny day. I can’t believe I actually remember my primary school friend from so many years ago! I’m going to look her up on Facebook as soon as I’m done with this blog post. That day remains one of my many favourite childhood memories because I ran all the way home afterwards to show my mum how pretty my ears were.

Many years later and body piercings are still something I truly enjoy. I currently have 5 body piercings and counting.  I can’t get enough of piercings is that they give me pleasurable pain. That feeling is unmatched.

The latest piercings I’ve had done were mainly because I was going through a phase of depression and I needed something that would numb the pain. It worked like magic! Instead of sitting around thinking about what I was going through I was looking forward to cleaning my new piercing and deciding on the one I would get next. The eyebrow piercing is very tempting at the moment 🙂

My thoughts on piercings? Everyone who isn’t scared of needles or a little bit of pain should get them. My piercings give me an extra confidence boost and they also get conversations started. The great part is when you don’t want them anymore you can simply take out your jewelry and the piercing will close up.

What are your thoughts on piercings? Do you have any?

Fitness Bae®