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How Much Time Off Do I Need to Recover from a Workout?

By Fitoru | 15 August 2018
2 women lying down on a yoga mat

If you want to lose weight and get toned, adhering to a regular workout regimen is essential. However, you might not realize it’s equally important to schedule time for recovery. In fact, neglecting to rest after intense or extended training sessions can put a halt to the body’s natural rebuilding process. As a result, you might struggle to reach your fitness goals in a timely fashion or even suffer injuries that put a long-lasting halt to your training.

Healing Tears

In the course of training, the muscles endure micro tears that eventually heal and (ideally) grow back stronger. However, the muscles can’t mend themselves if the body doesn’t get the fuel and rest it needs to repair the damaged tissue. And, unfortunately, the effects of this damage are serious and long-lasting. According to a Huffington Post article, studies of Olympic swimmers have shown that athletes still show fatigue markers six months after the season’s end. So, neglecting to rest and recharge after a workout can have an effect on your health and energy levels far down the line.


The type of workout you engage in affects how much downtime you need after the fact. In general, cardio training requires the least amount of rest, and many runners hit the road (or treadmill) every day. Even then, it’s best to alternate more intense running days with lighter workouts. For example, if you do sprints or hill running on Monday, maybe opt for a more leisurely jog on Tuesday. The last thing you want to do is pull a muscle or over-stress a joint and wind up down for the count.

Interval Training

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of the most effective workouts for weight loss and also one of the more exhausting. For example, a normal HIIT session might include a circuit of burpees, jumping jacks, push-ups, and planks. Along with burning fat and boosting muscle mass, this type of training increases production of human growth hormone, which is known to slow the aging process. According to an article in Shape, 15 minutes of HIIT yields better results than an hour spent running on a treadmill. Still, the toll this workout takes on the body means resting between sessions is especially important. For best results, perform these exercises no more than every other day to avoid overburdening muscles.


Whether your goal is to lose weight or build muscle mass, weight training can be an efficient and effective way to achieve your goals. Not only do weights help increase metabolism, meaning you can burn more calories, but they also reduce the risk of osteoporosis and injury. However, because weight lifting is designed to break down muscle mass, setting aside time for recovery is crucial. For best results, either work out your entire body and then skip a day, or divide your workouts by day. For example, you could make Monday arms day, Tuesday legs day, and Wednesday abs. Let each major muscle group recover for a day or two before working it out again.

Listen to Your Body

The amount of rest and recovery needed varies from person to person. For best results, listen to your body and, when in doubt, don’t overdo it.





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