When To Push And When To Rest

How do you know when to rest & when to push yourself to workout? It can be tricky to know what’s something truly requiring rest vs what is the flesh wanting to skip out on our healthy spiritual disciplines. Point of clarification; this isn’t addressing a motivation issue, but of low energy, from things like illness, poor quality sleep, or stress.

If you’re sick, lean toward rest. The most I would recommend doing is slow paced walking or gentle stretching. If you have a fever or are dizzy, just rest. Look at it as an investment in your future workouts.

If you had a poor night of sleep & don’t feel up to your usual workout, again a leisure walk or gentle mobility might be best. If you have to choose between sleep & a workout & are really burnt out / run down over the course of a few days, choose sleep. It will help keep mood, hunger, & mindset in a positive place. This in turn, will help with good nutritional decisions & making time for priorities like your quiet time & family—while also being pleasant to be around.

If you struggle with fatigue on an ongoing basis (this can include autoimmune, chronic illness, etc.), I’d consider you to view movement as a potential source of untapped energy. I personally struggle with chronic fatigue syndrome & hypothyroidism & have learned I cannot function at my highest without exercise. I also have to be careful not to overdo it either, because whether good stress or bad stress, the body still is under stress & cumulative amounts can take a toll. If you fall in this camp, you’ll have to pay even more close attention to your biofeedback (things like hunger, mood, cravings) in order to avoid burnout.

A final note for those that are type A & struggle with ever taking rest. You’re nervous system can’t sustain going nonstop. You aren’t the exception to the rule. Build in at least 1 day of rest/week from training. That doesn’t mean you can’t do active recovery (walking/foam rolling/stretching), but remember, gains come in R & R, not at the gym. Self care allows you to function at your highest self, so value rest as much as you do work. The Lord gave an example in taking a Sabbath; not because He needed it, but because we do.

Reader Questions:
1/ Do you struggle with taking rest days?
2/ How do you build in recovery?

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