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The Importance of Rest Days (Even for Fitness Addicts)

02.01.16

Fitness

To follow up from my post about Why Being a Fitness Addict is the Best Thing That’s Ever Happened to Me, I thought I would bring a little bit of balance into play by talking about something that is equally important in the life of an exercise fiend… rest.

I promise this isn’t going to be a cliche “rest day” post. Consider it real life advice from someone who overexerts herself for a LIVING (or at least it feels that way a lot of the time) and constantly, every single day, needs to remind herself to slow down.

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I am at the point where the people who know me the best and/or see me the most take one look at me at the end of any given day and say, “REST.” All I have to do is open my mouth and inevitably my to-do list of photo shoots, work trips, blog partnerships, book signings, meetings & exercise commitments come rattling out. And I’m totally not saying this to try to make it sound like I am busier than anyone else — I just overcommit myself which is hugely different. ( It’s my #1 issue in life, which you’ve probably heard me say before. )

REST (also, sleep) is such an important quality and so often overlooked. Especially by those of us who can be pretty extreme and try to fit 3483984 things into our day. Until recently, my idea of a rest day was a light yoga class, a long walk around the neighborhood, and running around town doing errand after errand. Now, with my long runs every weekend while training for the marathon, having at least one true rest day per week is not only important but also NECESSARY.

And on top of those rest days, I try to go to bed early and sleep well so that I can take every day by storm.

But here’s the issue…

Since marathon training isn’t my only form of exercise, I have to be very, very careful with not overbooking myself in terms of my workouts every week. A huge part of my job entails trying out new studios around LA either to write about them, host events, meet friends there to catch up or meet the owners for potential collabs. Aside from the biz side of it, I am also a diehard OrangeTheory junkie (HIIT) & a major YogaWorks fan. Those two things paired with running outside 4x a week or more leaves litttttle to no room for physical rest days.

Oh, and last week I tried a boxing gym and another HIIT studio in my area — and even though this is the kind of stuff I absolutely love, I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t slightly overwhelmed by my workout sched last week in particular. I knew all week that I had a 2 hour taper run with my marathon team on Saturday, and I also knew I was overexerting myself a little bit more than I should have been leading up to it.

(Not exactly sure why my photos are loading small today, but I’m rolling with it. Sweatshirt x TBV Apparel)

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Lesson learned:

I was super, ridiculously, over the moon exhausted at my running practice. The 2 hour run was actually significantly harder than my 3.5 hour run the weekend before, for one reason only: I did NOT get enough rest throughout the week. Needless to say… I was pretty frustrated with myself because I knew what needed to be done, but because I can be a little an overcommitment psycho and too headstrong to make adjustments to my ever-mounting schedule, I didn’t totally listen to my bod the way I should have.

Even though I could view the whole overexertion ordeal as something negative, since my run on Saturday pretty much wiped me out for the rest of the weekend, I am taking it as a major positive. It was a wakeup call to something very important: rest is as important as exercise itself when it comes to training for a marathon and also to living and maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle.

Clearly, I know this. Does that mean that I don’t slip up from time to time and overexert because it’s my natural inclination to do so? No! Slip ups happen, and when they do — instead of beating yourself up about it, reevaluate the deets of your life and figure out how you can make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Another Rest Benefit…

I will also add that due to a super hectic work schedule last Weds (that was my glorious Malibu day — work is fun, hehe) I didn’t make it to my OrangeTheory class as planned. I also didn’t make it my Weds night running practice. I was pretty annoyed about missing both at the time, but then something miraculous happened. At OrangeTheory on Thursday morning, I HAD SO MUCH ENERGY.

I ran 2.0 miles faster than I normally do during our running blocks, and I left with a spring in my step and a massive dose of adrenaline to take on the day.

All because of the physical rest my body soaked in on Wednesday. My friend Laura even noticed and was like ummmm woah girl you were on fire today. It felt so much better to do the one workout full-out rather than cramming in two back to back and being only halfway into it the second time around.

So after my run killed me on Saturday… I started thinking. Rest, rest, rest, how can I rest a TON this weekend? I cancelled my plans for Saturday night and booked a 90-minute full body massage instead (#treatyoself — I use the app ZEEL! ), I shoveled recovery fuel into my body like Liquid I.V. in my h2o, a Tera’s Whey chocolate protein shake, my Nutty Banana Protein Cookies (recipe in my book), lots of nut butters (Nuttzo 7 Seed Nut Butter is my favorite right now) and farm fresh eggs with spinach for din din. And loads and loads of purified & electrolyte-infused water — of course.

Three years ago I would have NEVER cancelled plans on a Saturday night for a massage. I probably would have wanted to, but the voice in the back of my head would have told me, “No! You made a commitment to someone, so you’re going to go out and have fun and you can rest tomorrow… Or the next day, or the next day.”

But this time around I knew what I needed to do and it was glorious. Especially because I have had back to back video & photo shoots yesterday and today, so I knew I needed to wind down while I could.

So I got a massage, put on my cozy sweats, put on a face mask, sipped on some tea, cuddled my kitty & ZENNED OUT!

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That’s the art of balancing your life. Rev up when you need to, wind down when you need to, and take care of yourself above all else.

My FAV REST & RECOVERY Essentials:

I have included some of my very FAVORITE “rest enhancers,” if you will, below! Everything from a foam roller (#MUST!) to my favorite natural sleep supplements to recovery food & a few good books to read when you’re down & out:

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