Why are rest days a vital part of the 28 Day Challenge?
If you’ve been taking part in our 28 Day Challenge we know you’ll be seeing and feeling results. It’s a fantastic program designed to reignite your health and fitness and help you achieve your goal of a total body and mind transformation.
You’ll probably also have noticed that during your 28 day journey, Alex has incorporated seven supported rest days – a combination of active and total rest days. And she’s pretty firm that you need to be taking these days.
But why? What if you feel great? Should you just skip them and power through the 28 day program in 21 days? (After all, isn’t that just a quicker transformation?)
Absolutely not. Here’s why!
Why include rest days in The 28 Day Challenge workouts?
Alex has designed this challenge as an intentional, immersive journey. During your journey you will work each targeted muscle group and your overall cardiovascular system to improve your fitness and physique.
But it’s important that you also rest well. Active and total rest days are a key part of the challenge and vital to rebalancing your body and improving your physical and mental strength. So, when it comes to the individual 28 Day Challenge workouts, rest days are equally important as your Power or Super (or even Pilates!) sessions.
The science behind rest days
When you exercise – particularly in resistance or strength work – you’re actually creating micro-tears in the muscle fibres. It’s when those tears repair and rebuild that you’re actually building strength and fitness. And it’s rest days that give your body the time to do that.
Research shows that it takes several weeks of cycles of exercise and recovery to create ‘physiological adaptations’ (hello 28 Day Challenge!). In fact, while it might seem counterintuitive, your physical and mental strength will actually benefit from the time and space to recover, repair and rebuild muscle. Without the time to rest, recover and rebuild you could be setting yourself up for injury
What do ‘rest days’ mean?
Active rest – days 6, 13 and 20
Alex’s comprehensive 28 Day Challenge workout plan includes three days of active rest. Active rest doesn’t mean hitting the couch with a bowl of popcorn. It actually means engaging in low intensity, low impact exercise designed to keep the body warm and stimulate muscle recovery.
Active rest is aimed at allowing your muscles to rest and repair, while warming them with some gentle movement. This might be heading out for a walk, doing some light stretching or yoga or maybe going for a swim.
What you choose will depend on your own level of fitness (and what you enjoy!), but aim to keep it low impact and low stress. And around an hour of activity on an active rest day is ideal.
Alex’s practical tips for active rest days are:
- Choose an activity you enjoy doing and focus on your form and surroundings. Walk in the early morning sunshine, swim with a friend or cycle on a riverside path. Or choose a low impact TBP workout.
- Listen to your body, it knows what it needs to rest and repair.
- If you stretch on an active rest day, don’t push it. Go gently to the point you can feel a stretch but no further.
- Don’t skip a day of active rest. They’re important!
Total rest – days 7, 14 and 21
Total rest days are just what they say – total rest (though you probably still have to do the dishes, stay away from formal exercise!). So sleep in. Watch a movie on the couch. Head to a cafe with friends. Just enjoy every moment of these total rest days, knowing that they’re a vital part of your challenge.
Alex’s practical tips for total rest days are:
- Give your body a break. You’ve been working hard.
- Make a plan. What do you feel like doing? Read a book or listen to some music? Meet a friend at a café or gallery? Hang out with your dog on the couch and watch a movie?
- Even if you’re feeling amazing, don’t sneak in a workout. Resting completely will lead to better results. You’ll be back at it again tomorrow.
- Reflect on your hydration and nutrition. Is there any food shopping or meal prepping you can do?
Your choice – Active Rest or Total Rest – Day 27
The day 27 28 Day Challenge workout is your choice. Think about what your body needs today, before tomorrow’s Super Session finale? Will active rest or total rest serve you better?
Whatever you choose, make the most of it! Reflect on your commitment and success and enjoy this second-last challenge day. You’re nearly there!
Hop over to our 28 Day Challenge Calendar and start your own 28 day journey to looking and feeling your best!