If you’ve just started working out, it is very easy to get too into it and overwork yourself. Similarly, it is also easy to slack off and lose your progress. Having the appropriate number of rest days every week is absolutely crucial. So, if you are wondering, how many rest days should a beginner have each week then you have come to the right place.
The number of rest days you should have depends heavily on both your physical fitness and how intense your workout sessions are. Usually, sore muscles heal within 48 to 72 hours. So, having 2 to 3 rest days every week is optimal for most people.
While there is a common number of days most people follow, that might not be right for you. Everyone’s physique and exercise routines are different and the required rest is different too. And in this article, I will help you find out how many rest days you actually need.
Determining Your Required Rest Days
Working out non-stop for days without rest can not only feel exhausting but also can be detrimental to your health and performance. Your body needs rest after a period of exhaustion and that is why you need rest days. Resting and working out, almost all trainers suggest an alternating routine to properly balance out exercising.
When you work out, be it weightlifting or any other kind of heavy exercise, your muscles take damage. Your body will heal this damage on its own provided it has the rest and nutrients necessary. This healing period is when your muscles actually grow stronger. So, the rest days you keep between workout days are absolutely crucial.
Generally, even the most active athletes need 24 hours of resting period to rejuvenate their muscles. So that is the baseline, a minimum of 1 day. But that might not be enough for most people. Beginners will face even more soreness in their muscles while starting to work out.
A beginner will need anywhere from 48 to 72 hours of resting period between heavy workout sessions. And by that measure, you need about 2 to 3 rest days at least in your workout week.
Depending on your physical conditions that might be different. To get an idea you should start working out once again when you do not feel sore anymore. You can do light cardio on the in-between days to reduce soreness and speed up your healing process.
Do Rest Days Ruin Progress?
A question many beginners ask is, will a rest day ruin my progress? And the answer is, no, it most certainly will not. As I have mentioned before, rest days are absolutely crucial for both maintaining your strength and efficiency.
You should have an adequate amount of rest days spaced out evenly to maximize your workout and resting efficiency. A rest day done properly will never ruin progress but rather further it.
Your rest days should not be too consecutive or too lazy. Because those are the only two ways rest days can ruin your progress. You should not sit completely idle on your rest days. While your rest days will not contain any kind of heavy workout, you can most definitely keep yourself a bit active to speed up recovery.
Another thing is doing too many consecutive rest days. That is another thing that can ruin your progress. But this scenario too might not be how you think it is. And that is exactly what we will be discussing next.
How Many Rest Days Is Too Much?
When worried if you are resting too much, you might ask, is it okay to have 3 rest days? Yes, it is. As I have mentioned already, it is perfectly fine and even ideal to have 2 to 3 rest days in your workout week.
Well then, is 4 days of rest too much? It depends. For some people, it may be too much, but if you are doing very heavy lifting and other heavy exercises; then it is perfectly fine to have 4 rest days where you do light cardio or similar stuff.
Are 2 rest days in a row bad? Also, no; 48 hours of resting period is very common for a workout, even more so for beginners. Only very active athletes take only a day of break when they do lightweight workouts on their active days.
Some trainers even encourage you to take a whole week off if you are not feeling up to it or just feel stressed out. Until your rest days are so consecutive that you have trouble going back into exercise, you should be fine.
Depending on the intensity of the workout, your physique, stress, and stamina levels, some people might need more rest days than others. And that is fine, as long as your rest days do not hamper your consistency they are helping.
How to Know If You Are Overtraining?
One very common question beginners ask is, how do I know if I am overtraining? Well, it is quite simple actually. If you are too tired and sore and your workout sessions start losing their efficiency, you might be overworking yourself.
It’s very easy to get lost in the heat and hit the gym every day in hopes of fast-tracking your gains. But that just isn’t ideal. If you feel too tired and stressed out during your workout sessions, you might be overtraining yourself.
If you start lifting before your muscle soreness starts decreasing, you are most definitely overtraining. Once you start overtraining and exhaust yourself too much you start to lose efficiency. You lose your efficiency and your workout progress slows down to a halt.
Overtraining is one of the worst things you can do as an athlete. Not only this will hamper your progress but also it can permanently damage your body. So, take ample rest and only start working out after you start feeling like it again. You want to be fresh and full of energy every time you hit the gym.
What Should You Do on Your Rest Days?
It is a very common beginner mistake to exhaust yourself on your workout day and go full lazy and inactive on your rest days. Well, what should you do on your rest days you ask? Take rest, but not become totally inactive.
You can go for walks or get a light swim on your rest days. You can do any kind of cardio or yoga for a very short period even. The key point here is that you do not want to exert yourself, you want to give your body and muscles rest. But you also do not want to be absolutely inactive as that will increase your soreness.
Small activities and ample rest are what you need on your rest days. Lightweight activities are proven to decrease soreness and speed up your muscle recovery. So, while you do need to rest, do not make yourself absolutely stationary.
Rest days are equally important as workout days. They help your muscles relax and regenerate so you can workout even more the next time you hit the gym. Push yourself too hard and you might actually become bed ridden and lose out on all the progress you worked so hard for.
Now, after reading this article I hope you understand how many rest days should a beginner have and cram in some time to relax in your weekly workout regime. Remember, don’t just workout hard, workout smart and you’ll reach your goals even faster. Thanks for reading.