Are Rest Days Important for Building Muscle?

Adverse effects of increased Cortisol and reduced DHEA on the body

Reduced levels of DHEA and increased Cortisol may have a devastating impact on your body. However, the degree of this effect may vary from person to person depending on their genetics, lifestyle, and surrounding environment.

  • It reduces protein synthesis, lowering your chances of adding lean muscles to the body.
  • It promotes muscle protein breakdown, leading o bone loss, arthritis, muscle loss, and muscle weakness.
  • It decreases thyroid functions, causing reduced metabolism and increased fat accumulation.
  • It compromises your immune system, and increase your chance of getting an infection and other diseases
  • It disrupts your sleep patterns and reduces R.E.M. (Rapid Eye Movement)
  • It increases your blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, increasing the risks of heart diseases

Health benefits of rest days

Rest days between workout is necessary to develop muscles and prevent future injuries.

It recovers muscle loss

When you work out, your muscle tissues are exposed to microscopic tears. This is why rest days are essential as it is during this time cells known as fibroblasts repair these tears, heal them and allow them to grow stronger.

Additionally, carbohydrates are stored in your muscles in the form of glycogen which gets converted to energy during exercise. Rest gives your muscle time to replenish the glycogen in them, allowing you to work out better the next day.

It prevents muscle fatigue

As mentioned previously, your muscle stores glycogen in them. When you work out without rest days, these glycogen levels drop to dangerous levels that could result in exercise-related fatigue and muscle soreness. Also, your muscle needs glycogen to function correctly. Without adequate rest, you are just exposing your muscles to more damage.

It reduces the risk of injury

It is essential to stay safe during work Rest days between workout is necessary to develop muscles and prevent future injuries.

It recovers muscle loss

When you work out, your muscle tissues are exposed to microscopic tears. This is why rest days are essential as it is during this time cells known as fibroblasts repair these tears, heal them and allow them to grow stronger.

Additionally, carbohydrates are stored in your muscles in the form of glycogen which gets converted to energy during exercise. Rest gives your muscle time to replenish the glycogen in them, allowing you to work out better the next day.

It prevents muscle fatigue

As mentioned previously, your muscle stores glycogen in them. When you work out without rest days, these glycogen levels drop to dangerous levels that could result in exercise-related fatigue and muscle soreness. Also, your muscle needs glycogen to function correctly. Without adequate rest, you are just exposing your muscles to more damage.

It reduces the risk of injury

It is essential to stay safe during w outs, and when your body is overworked, you are more likely to shiver, drop weight or make a wrong move. This could lead to muscle injury, stress and strain.

It improves your sleep pattern

Physical activities, especially strenuous ones like weightlifting, increase the cortisol and adrenaline hormones in the body. Working out non-stop can overproduce these hormones, giving you a hard time to quality sleep. Rest will bring down these hormones to their normal levels and aids in a healthy sleeping pattern.

Signs you need a rest day

It is different between needing a rest day because your body and mind demand it or because you are just feeling lazy.

According to the American Council of Exercise (A.C.E.), you can look for signs to determine whether you need a rest day. The signs include:

  • Consistent pain or soreness in the muscle
  • Unable to complete a workout routine that you used to do it easily
  • Feeling weak and lazy after every workout
  • Craving fast foods or getting insatiable hunger pangs
  • Change in mood or behavior such as irritation, mood swings, insomnia, and getting obsessive over workout
  • Increased incidence of illness or injury
  • Reduced gains or benefits of the workout, such as increasing rate of muscle gain, decreasing rate of fat loss

What to do on your rest day?

To get the most out of your rest day, do the following:

Take adequate protein and follow a balanced diet

Your body needs adequate protein to repair the muscles, so eat enough protein even if you are not doing anything. You need 1.2 to 2 gm of protein per kg of your body weight daily on your rest days.

Besides, you also need to fuel your body with carbs and replenish it with water. Eat complex carbs like whole wheat bread, oats, rice, peas, corn, and quinoa. Take at least 2-10gm of carbs per kg of your body weight. You also need to drink enough water to prevent dehydration. Water helps in avoiding muscle cramps and delivers nutrients to your body.

Yoga

Yoga promotes calmness and flexibility and improves your body awareness. It helps you build strength and loosen your muscles. Just 10 to 15 minutes of yoga is enough to aid in your recovery process.

Low-impact workout

low-impact workout helps your body stay active in a relaxing way. Try to go for a short walk, biking, dancing, swimming, or even kayaking.

End Notes

The number of rest days you need depends on how intense your train your muscles. If your muscle group is still sore from a last workout, don’t overstrain them until the soreness is completely gone. For example, If your thing muscles are sore, you can still work on your upper muscles. However, the general rule of thumb is to take at least 1-2 days a week of rest at the least.

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