Every athlete needs rest days, whether you like to rest or not. These days are extremely important in order for the body to recover. Overtraining can end up resulting in situations that are not favorable to any athlete. There is a difference though between rest and recovery days versus light workout days. I feel like sometimes people get these types of days mixed up. I will often hear people say they are taking a rest day and then tell me about the “light” workout they will do instead of their usual more vigorous one. That is not a rest day because you’re not allowing the body to recover. Not resting is setting the body up for breakdown.
So what constitutes rest?
This is different for every person. It depends on your fitness level, the volume/intensity of exercise and the familiarity of it. If you train Jiujitsu day in and day out, or are doing any type of fitness related activity that is extremely strenuous on the body, than you’re rest day should be just that. Rest your body and do not perform an activities that will tax it. On the other hand, if you are new to Jiujitsu, and maybe you’re doing just the drilling classes or if you’re new to working out in general, than you’re rest day can be a little more active. That doesn’t mean go to the gym and do a full on workout though. Go for a walk, do some dynamic stretching, or maybe some yoga. These types of rest days are vital because they allow the body to avoid stiffening up and keep the heart rate slightly above the normal range.
So whats a light workout day than?
Light workout days are the days you are actually working out. However these days are usually performed at a lower intensity then your normal routine OR they are performed at a high intensity for a shorter amount of time. These days are just as important as rest days, just in a different aspect. Changing up your workouts helps to shock the body. They allow room for the body to still develop but without breaking it down and also helps to avoid training plateaus. Light workout days should compliment your heavy days and if you do both of these properly, you ay find yourself not needing as many complete rest days as you thought!
Also, whether you’re resting/light workouts/ or doing your usual heavy workout or training session, a huge factor is hydration. Always make sure you’re properly hydrated. Other factors that are also very important to consider are proper amounts of sleep and proper nutrition. All of these combined and done effectively will ensure your body performs at its maximum level.