As a certified personal trainer, I was taught to take rest days at least once a week. The thinking is that our bodies need time to repair themselves between strenuous workouts and resting can help to prevent us from over training.
Over training is exactly what it sounds like, working out too hard for too long and burning yourself out.
Back in the day, I was chronically burned out and mostly because I didn’t listen to my body and I compared my workouts to fitness bloggers. Not that there’s anything wrong with working out that way, but it’s important to recognize that what works great for one person might not be the best for another.
I’m a naturally sensitive person. My hormones are easily disrupted, I don’t handle caffeine well, loud music bothers me, even burning certain candles will giving me a sore throat for days. I mean I could go on and on about my sensitivities, but I’ll spare you.
My point is that some of us are super duper sensitive and high-intensity exercise can really take a toll on our bodies. Now don’t me wrong, I love a good HIIT session, and this isn’t some lame excuse to not challenge myself in the gym. I love a challenge, but I also believe in the power of intuition.
I’ve learned to tune into my intuition. I’ll take an evaluation of how I feel, if I need to stretch, if I need a good hardcore sweat sesh, perhaps I need high reps and light weights one day and low reps heavier weights the next. Some days I’m craving barre, yoga, pilates… whatever it may be. Other days I might do a 12-minute Tabata because time is limited but I’m wanting to break a sweat.
Instead of viewing exercise as a chore that I have to do 3-5 times a week, I think of it as a daily reward. I don’t skip days because listening to my body allows me to fully enjoy working out. I look forward to it, I crave it and I don’t feel complete without it.
It all comes down to loving and respecting our bodies, really appreciating all that they do and the desire to be our best selves. I workout every day because I love myself and I love my body.
As a final thought, the next time you’re feeling drained and dreading your gym session or that 5-mile run, really question yourself. ‘How can I exercise in a more self-loving way today?’