• Macy Cooper

Rejuvenating the Mind: Everything Rest



There are many people out there that believe rest day’s wreak mayhem on a person seeking to increase health and fitness, but the truth of the matter is, it depends on what your version of a rest day looks like. There is no way to get completely “jacked” in a day… and you won’t lose it all in a day if you don’t get your workout in. In this post, I will outline my approach to mindful rest and recovery and the influence of a fresh mind concerning accomplishment and results.


First of all, I want to go into depth about muscle recovery and its importance. If you have ever heard that bro in the gym talking about how “#ripped” he is about to get in his workout, as much as I hate to admit it… this is precisely what is happening. When a muscle fiber is put under tension and variable resistance, it is often broken. The body compensates for this acute trauma by building more numerous, thicker and stronger muscle fibers (synthesized from dietary protein sources and naturally produced hormones). This process is why the body dynamically becomes stronger when appropriately trained, but also why muscles atrophy without use.


A mild sense of soreness can be an indicator of an adequate and appropriate program. Now a note that is a HUGE misconception in fitness is “you have to obliterate a muscle group to see results” could NOT be further from the truth!


YOU DO NOT HAVE TO OBLITERATE THE MUSCLE. NEWS FLASH… IF WILL HYPERTROPHY REGARDLESS… AND FASTER WITHOUT ALL THAT NONSENSE


Please note that this mini anatomy lesson is a grossly simplified version because I am sure you are all ready for me to get to the good stuff!


Rest is associated with a day off, no going to the gym, no extra steps from those taken during your typical day. A contrast to that I like to introduce to people as it has helped me is adding recovery opportunities. I have also been known to call these “mobility days.” There is not a set workout to follow while I am at the gym {BUT I do still go to the gym because a well-regulated/habitual schedule is essential in seeking balance and reducing unneeded anxiety}. Instead, focus on a functionality that will help more challenging workouts to come {that stretchy stuff we never like to take the time to do}.


Mobility is something you can never have enough of…like common knowledge


The world of mobility is endless, but the importance of this under-appreciated area is its ability to rejuvenate not only the body but the mind too. I have noticed in myself and others that we tend to neglect things we cannot see or feel physically. If I have a muscle that is sore, I stretch. If I have food in my teeth, I get it out. BUT what about when our psyche is distressed?


How to listen to the internal cues… It can be way easier than you think

If you feel fatigued, it’s likely because you are and your body is screaming LISTEN TO MEEEEE! If you are feeling guilty for taking some time off know 1. you are beautiful without a workout 2. you know yourself best so do not shame yourself for listening to your body 3. you will be better off in the long run… it’s not the end of the world I promise!


For me, my indicator to take some time for mobility is when I feel like going to the gym is a grind. I workout because I love and enjoy it. This is not everyone’s motivator, but for me, when working out becomes an extraordinary task and not a part of my day I look forward to, I usually take a day to acknowledge my growth areas fundamentally and go back at it when my mind can parallel my body in strength. No set number is perfect because we are all unique and beautiful. Depending on the style, level, goal, and even cycle of programming, rest can be more or less methodical, but all that fancy stuff aside, a strong mind is equally as important in staying healthy.



Why I choose mobility: When I am doing mobility, for example, I focus on my hips since I have a hip that irritates me quite frequently, I take the time to tune into my somatic sensations and incorporate stretches, foam rolling, and fundamental movements. This allows me to lift heavy things pain-free when I want to, keeping my days of monumental accomplishments in the gym with an essential complex background. Mobility allows the long-term goals to remain attainable and realistic because one unconventional day will not ruin those goals, but a poorly nourished soul and foundation can.

Options for active rest/mobility days:

  • get outside and walk around

  • take a yoga class with a friend

  • meditate

  • ride a bike, {learn to} play tennis, golf, basketball… {insert cool sport you always wanted to learn}

  • play a game with a friend

  • grab a foam roller and see what it’s all about

  • ice those achey areas

TAKE TIME FOR YOU


Long story short… There is much more to rest that can be placed in a frequency. Mental stability is considerably underacknowledged, but can be the determinant of an achieved goal or not. A healthy mind cannot be seen from the outside but can help those dreams become a reality if appreciated and nurtured.


Please, please, please take time for yourselves, you beautiful humans!


This time of the year can be crazy as a collegiate student especially, but remember to be mindful of your feelings because they are valid and deserve your attention. Even the smallest mindfulness, can power endless opportunities for you the be your best.


Stay beautiful -MM



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