Your body needs time to rest, restore and recover to optimize health, fitness and body composition transformation results.
“What is the purpose of the 3 R’s?”
Giving your muscles and joints a break allows them to rest, restore and recover. Your goal re the lean muscle mass on your skeletal system should be to maintain at worst and grow at best. More lean muscle mass means your body can burn more fat while at rest, not to mention the benefits of increased strength and arming your body for decreased likelihood of injury. The quick answer as to why you’ll burn more fat with more muscle is it takes more energy for your body to preserve muscle. This is called your basal metabolic rate. Increase your basal metabolic rate by adding muscle through optimal training and nutrition, and your energy expenditure will in turn burn body fat!
Quick aside. Don’t know what optimal nutrition looks like for you? Actualize members receive a complimentary Actualize Quick Start Nutrition Plan that outlines things like: how to eat right and portion sizing for your individual goals; meal planning; stocking your kitchen with healthy options; and much more! If you’re an Actualize member and have not conducted your first Success Session to overview your nutrition, contact us today to schedule this 15-30 minute meeting.
As a fitness enthusiast, the goal is always to prioritize life and maximize your performance without personal sacrifice. A balanced combination of the 3 R’s along with proper diet and exercise is the best way to create a healthy lifestyle. Unless you are a professional athlete, you do not need to be training intensely 6 or 7 days per week. This can lead to serious injury, body image issues and poor mental state.
Taking days off from training not only increases the 3 R’s from a physical aspect, but also provide a much-needed mental break. Recovery and rest days are multifaceted and encompass more than just muscle repair. Recovery also involves but is not limited to chemical and hormonal balance, nervous and immune system repair, and cognitive state.
Rather than a rest day, think of your time off as a day to grow and recuperate from training—a growth day. Growth days reduce the likelihood of injury and prevent overuse of muscles and joints, and allow your body to replenish the glycogen energy system for your workouts and daily activity. Muscle glycogen is an essential fuel for intense exercise, so when you are constantly using your muscle glycogen as energy, it doesn’t have time to refuel and recover. Glycogen synthesis is a slow process and it requires time in between training sessions to be replenished. When you engage in strenuous exercise you are literally damaging your muscle tissues through the eccentric phase of muscle contraction. Although this is how your muscles grow, but it’s also why you feel sore the following day(s). Not only will such tissue damage limit performance due to delayed onset muscle soreness, but it will also compromise the replenishment of muscle glycogen and limit muscle training adaptations.
When working-out, great stress is put on your muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons and systems of the body. But that’s not a bad thing. You need stress to allow your body to adapt and diversify. But if your body isn’t given time to practice the 3 R’s, the constant stress will not allow you to recover and do all the great things it can do.
Taking a growth day looks different for everyone. If you absolutely cannot fathom the idea of not moving around for a day then go move. We call this active recovery—keep the intensity low and enjoyable. This can include some light cardio (i.e. like jogging, hiking, walking the dog, cleaning the house, etc.) or restorative modalities (i.e. stretching, mobility movements, foam rolling, etc) to get your blood flowing. If you are always sore or stiff, or maybe you’re extra tired and moody, it might be time to take a growth day.
Start implementing the 3 R’s today!