I was 15 when I decided I wanted to get into fitness. I found an adorable bright pink workout guide where the writer was hyping her whole community up. Her words were so encouraging that they made me feel excited to put on my sneakers and get my heart rate up. The workout plan I was following gave me three days of bodyweight training, three days of the cardio of my choice and one rest day.
This seemed like a lovely plan since I wasn’t used to working out. I’d already been practicing yoga regularly but working out never appealed to me. Still, at the age of 15, people were shoving ideas of how my body should look down my throat and I felt I needed to change. I knew that I needed some way to put on muscle without a random coach and teammates screaming at me at obnoxious hours of the day. So, working out seemed like the most peaceful option.
The first few days were surprisingly fun. I was enjoying the workouts and was experimenting with new cardio formats. I tried Zumba, walking and running on the treadmill. One day, I thought I’d use bike riding as my cardio.
I opened up my garage, pulled out my bicycle and asked my dad to join me since he’s an avid bike rider and passionate about working out. Soon into our ride, he started lecturing me about how I should be bike riding.
He told me that I should hop on my bike every single day. On weekdays I should be doing 5-mile rides after school and weekends should be 7 miles. Then he told me that every 1-2 weeks I should be increasing my distance by another 2 miles. My response was that the guide I was following only required 3 days of cardio for 30 minutes each and that I had one rest day a week.
He then said, “There’s no such thing as a rest day.”
Thankfully, I decided to be a stubborn teenager and listen to my workout guide over my father because REST DAYS ARE IMPORTANT. Hearing this “advice” can be discouraging to someone with a shaky relationship with exercise.
I would like to point out that just because you work out more does not mean you’ll get better results. Actually, quite the opposite will happen. Overtraining is counterproductive. Your body needs some time to recover from all the rigorous movement you put it through.
Every person’s body is different and it depends on the workout plan you choose to do. Sometimes once a week is enough, other times 2-3 rest days between workouts are ideal. But intense movement every day? Absolutely not.
Remember, fitness is there to keep your mind and body healthy. Your body is designed to keep you alive, not fit into society’s standard of a bikini body.
Rest days are crucial and you’re allowed to take a break.
Lots of love,