How Important Is Rest And Recovery?

girl sleeping on a sofa

You’re on a mission to be active so you hit the gym every day.  You feel really proud of yourself for managing to stick to a routine and finally feel like you have the ‘exercise bug’ and can adhere to it.

But 12 months on you’re not getting the progressions like you used to.  You’re beginning to feel exhausted and tired so in an effort to make a difference you push yourself even harder during your workouts.

Your plateau could be the result of over-training and not resting correctly in between your workouts.  Below I explain why you need adequate rest and recovery.



Your muscles can only grow, develop, strengthen and repair during rest, therefore if you’re a frequent exerciser, a split routine may be better suited to you.  This means working 1-2 muscle groups per workout so you train them effectively every 5-7 days.

Below are my top 5 tips for assisting recovery from your workouts

  1. Aim for 7-8 hours good quality sleep per night (muscles only recover during rest)
  2. Human Growth Hormone (HGH) released during sleep so avoid interrupting it’s secretion but getting an early night and turning off electrical devices.
  3. Eat protein 30-40 minutes after a workout (liquid is better so the amino acids can be released straight into the blood steam.)
  4. Drink plenty of water, 2 litres minimum.
  5. Take a day off once a week for complete rest.

It’s worth tracking your progress weekly as you train.  Ask yourself the following questions at the end of the week so you can make adjustments for the week ahead:

  • Is your weight / body fat, up, down or the same?
  • Are your clothes loser, tighter, or the same?
  • How are your energy levels? Are you tired, somewhat in between, or the same?
  • Strength – Did you have any weekly progress?  If not you’re under eating or not resting adequately.
  • Sleep – Are you waking up more?  If so you’re overtraining or under eating
  • Menstrual cycle – Is it longer/unpredictable?  If so you’re under eating.
  • Normal or regulating is good
  • Do you think you’re over eating?  If so, cut your calories by 150-200 per day

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