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The 4:1

photo (2)Pumped to have a long Memorial Day weekend at home, between Friday and this morning, I got my workout on.  This translated into running 33 miles, doing a TRX class, and taking a spin class…which was awesome (and a lot for me these days).  This then translated into me wanting to sit in a chair all day today to avoid using my aching muscles…which was NOT awesome.  As I sat down to write about rest, I remembered a study I covered a few months ago reporting that the magic number of workouts per week is four…for exactly the reason I experienced today.  Study participants who exercised more than four times per week were more likely to spend their non-exercise time sitting and resting than the other groups.

I’m not sure that my magic number is 4X/week, but I am 100% sure it’s not 7X.  We all need rest.  Not “sit around and watch cartoons all day” rest, but a physical and psychological break from a formal workout.  Since having kids, I’m not super proactive about planning rest days (they almost always seem to happen naturally), but I do try to keep loose track of workouts and take a day of rest after four days of medium/hard workouts (I call this the 4:1).  Beyond knowing that I followed this plan for three months during the Blue Planet Run without a twinge of injury, I also like it because it’s easier for me to remember than some elaborate schedule.  It isn’t perfect…and sometimes it ends up as the 3:1 or the 4:2, but it’s something to aim for and it’s a good reminder to take time to pause…rest…sleep late…stretch…relax…re-set.

How important are rest days to you as you’re planning your workouts?  Do you schedule them in or let them happen? 

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Sadly (or maybe not so!) they really do happen for me naturally since having a kid. (Let’s be clear, though — they aren’t actual “rest” days in my book! But they’re days I don’t do formal, official exercise). They happen at least twice a week. Which means I try to exercise the other five days. Some of those workouts are pretty skimpy, though. xox

    May 29, 2013

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