Do Rest and Recovery Really Count?

Do Rest and Recovery Really Count?

rest recovery athleteRest.


Two words that don’t usually rank high up for any of us. Athletes do, perform, excel – anything but rest. Or so goes some of the thinking.

Here’s how your body really works and how you can help it to work even better.

Rest Is Rest, Right?

If you’re capable of sending a legible text message between sets, you probably aren’t working hard enough.
– Dave Tate

We all know what happens we don’t workout for a while. Training and muscle mass fade away oh so quickly.

Real rest is far more dynamic and actually BUILDS your body.

Here’s how it works:rest training

1 – Training stresses muscles, organs, and tissues to the point of breaking down the cells of those body parts.

2 – Regular breaks in training that reduce stress on the damaged tissues allows for the natural healing mechanisms of the body to occur.

3 – Tissues that have been stressed and allowed to heal are stronger than the original tissues.

So a rest day includes light activities to keep the parts moving but not tearing them down.

Binge watching your favorite TV series seems like rest but it doesn’t really help your body recover as well. So get up off the couch and do something!

To Sleep, Perchance to Rest?

Sleep is fun, so this is usually not a tough requirement to meet.

When we sleep restfully, LOTS of chemical things happen throughout our body. Fluids are moved and replenished, as well as damaged tissues are being repaired.

When we short ourselves on sleep, we lose out on some of this physical restoration.

Building Recovery into Your Rest Plan

So you’ve got this idea of rest and sleep down to a solid routine. Time to implement your recovery process.

I don’t feel sorry for those who lack the discipline to eat more.
– JM Blakely

Recovery is a focused and specific plan of action. Depending on your event and training goals, the parts of the plan will vary with your intensity.

  1. Nutrition to aid in your physical recovery is essential. You already know that calories will not kill you in training, so look to proteins and fats to supply your rebuilding needs and complex carbohydrates to refuel those tired muscles.

    (Food cravings are a good indicator that you’re running behind on supplying your physical needs. Listen to your body. It will often clue you in)

  2. rest yoga athleteStretch all muscle groups – especially the sore ones. Just keep the stretch slow and remember to breathe. Yoga is really good at accomplishing both!
  3. Keep moving with low intensity activities. Easy spinning for cyclists, gentle walk for runners, even a swim for bodybuilders. The idea is you want to use the training muscles while they heal. This encourages healthy tissue growth while avoiding scar tissue formation that can happen when a muscle is immobilized. Just keep moving.

Putting Together a Plan

Approach rest and recovery like you would any other part of your training. In the same way that intervals or progressive weight training builds strength for your event, programming in the time, activities, and supports will round out your program.

You must understand that the workout does not actually produce muscular growth. The workout is merely a trigger that sets the body’s growth mechanism into motion. It is the body itself, of course, that produces growth; but it does so only during a sufficient rest period.
– Mike Mentzer

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson


Unless otherwise noted, all public domain images on DrHalOnline are graciously provided by under the Creative Commons CC0 license


The information that is provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only. This information is not a substitute for professional advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care providers with any questions that you may have regarding a specific medical condition. Never disregard physician advice or delay in seeking medical advice or treatment because of something you have read on this site.

%d bloggers like this: