Lately, I have heard, “Hey Josh, I love reading all your workouts and blogs, but man, they look too painful for me!” My immediate thought was Well, at least someone’s reading my blog! But my second was, Am I being too tough? Maybe I need to reiterate the importance of rest and recovery to a training plan.

It’s true; a lot of my workouts are tough. However, you may notice that they are only as challenging as you make them. Those of you with a competitive streak or with fitness goals in your sites are likely to attack each one.  So, you have only yourself to blame for making it, “too painful.”

The truth is that any good coach builds in rest and recovery to the plan.  I, therefore, need to encourage you with this article to take a day off! Even following the strictest of training programs, rest is crucial for optimal performance, injury prevention and mental “freshness.” I always followed the rule of taking a 24 hr. break once a week. In fact, Mike Teti, taught me that one.

Here are my top ideas for you to enjoy some solid recovery and gain the benefits that come with it. Each method serves a different purpose, so try them all out and find what works best for you. Then, attack my next workout!

Rest and Recovery

1. Active Recovery: It is hard for me to sit still so here’s what I like to do when needing to move, but not wanting to tax the body. Take an easy bike ride – no spandex allowed. Grab your Cruiser or 3-speed and roll through town with your kids or loved ones. It will keep muscles from stiffening up from your last workout, get the blood flowing and free the mind from split counting. No bike? Go for an easy hike or walk in the woods.

2. “Rest with Benefits”: If I am going to sit still it might as well be enjoyable. Massage, acupuncture, hot tubs soaks are all fantastic ways of resting the body while increasing circulation, improving immunity, ridding the body of exercise induced toxins and releasing muscle tension. I promise; sitting in front of the T.V. wont do all that.

3. Stretch it Out: Yoga or a light, restorative stretching class is key to increasing flexibility and range of motion for a little performance enhancer. Be sure to bring the focus to the breath while going through the motions. This will bring oxygen enriched blood to those areas in need of repair.