Did you know that your muscles grow the most when they are at rest?

That you can actually damage weight loss efforts and muscle growth by overtraining your body?  That with too much exercise, your heart grows fainter (instead of stronger) and your body often relies on muscle tissue for fuel?

Oh, and it’s a problem to lose sleep over.  Literally – over exercising causes insomnia.

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Lately, I’ve been exercising too much.

And lately, I’ve been tearing down things in my life that don’t belong.

An addiction to exercise is one of them.

That’s why for the next FIVE days, I’ll be taking a COMPLETE REST from exercise. 

All forms.  (except sex – phew!)

My body needs this.

Although I know it will be very hard, my mind needs it. 

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How It Will Look:

  • I have called subs for all of my classes.
  • I will not participate in any exercises with my training clients.
  • I will not take any exercise classes.
  • I will not strength train/perform cardio.

What I Will Allow:

(I hate that word – allow.)

  • If needed, ONE daily walk with the kids.  Limited to 2~ miles at a creeping pace.  I will allow this for my mental health, as movement is a release for me, but I can’t let it take on the form of exercise.

On Friday, I will break my “exercise fast” by attending a Bootcamp.  The five days leading up to that, I will focus on clean eating, rest, God and my family.

No exercise for FIVE DAYS.

Oh gosh.  This is going to kill me.

Or make me stronger.

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I pick the latter.

QUESTION:  Have you ever taken purposeful rest days?  Five in a row?  How often do you rest?

splendid…lindsay

  1. Abby says:

    I’m late to the game with this post, but wow. Just wow. I know that I shouldn’t be exercising at all, but the addiction is so freaking strong. Despite knowing my body hates me for the activity, my mind absolutely craves it. With that said, you are an inspiration and I want you to know that for today, I won’t do more than walk. Today I will keep you in mind and maybe tomorrow I’ll have the strength to do it again.

    I’ve been forced to take two weeks off before (when I was in the hospital) and found every day it gets easier. It’s just all about a new routine and switching the way that you view things. It’s self-care, and it’s mandatory. You got this, woman. And wow…

  2. jobo says:

    I love this idea, and cannot wait to hear what you learn from your 5 days ‘off’. I should do the same, and probably will, perhaps when on vacation in Mexico in a couple months. You are an inspiration!

  3. Jess says:

    I LOVE this. I think I’ll take this very same approach after the marathon. My body will be SCREAMING for it by then (it already kinda is now…). And more than that? My mentality will need it.

    While I totally embrace and honor rest days, I don’t think I’ve ever purposefully taken a week off (unless I’ve been traveling or something and unable to…but that’s different, not as purposeful or with such intent). It’s SO needed, huh?

  4. janetha says:

    To answer your first question in this post–YES! I did know that. Don’t you know that is why my muscles are SO HUGE? I am an expert rester. I could teach you a thing or two.

    I am glad you are doing this. You NEED it.

  5. Melissa @ Live, Love, & Run says:

    I haven’t done 5 days of rest. I’ve done nearly a month. LOL I’m getting back into things today…I’ve been so caught up in moving, school, etc. that I just haven’t taken the “me time” to get back at it. That changes today. ;)

    Oh…and don’t worry…I didn’t give up sex for the month. I’m with you on that one.

  6. Laura @ Mommy Run Fast says:

    You are so wise, my friend! It will definitely make you stronger- physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. I have had forced time off, but never purposefully chose 5 straight days. You’re setting such a great example for the fitness blogging world! We can certainly get caught up in exercise and easily overdo it.

  7. Eiren says:

    Hey girl! First , how awesome it just that you acknowledged you need a break!! I have an exercise addiction and I always seem to come up w an excuse to not take a rest day! I took one yesterday for the first time in like 15 days!! Eek! It’s encouraging to hear your story because it is a reminder that they are OKay and important for the body!! Good luck this week!!
    Eiren

  8. Beccalou says:

    My prayers are with you, Lindsay! I know exactly where you are coming from as an exercise addict. Today’s surrender is tomorrow’s freedom!!!! Blessings to you in the coming days.

  9. StoriesAndSweetPotatoes says:

    I’m so excited for you. Obviously it will be good for you body but I took a few months off from exercising and it changed my entire my life perspective. Best decision I ever made. I hope that extra time opens you up to new possibilities. :)

  10. Jessica, the_toned_teach says:

    Your body is seriously going to LOVE you for this! I took a weeks worth of rest in the spring… zip. nada. nothing. kaput. It was wonderful. When I went back the following week, I was able to fully jump back in and actually PRed some leg exercises! It was mentally tough though… Satan likes to creep in during vulnerable moments like these, BUT whenever you have a moment of doubt, a question about whether or not to “eat that” because you’re not “burning it off” or anything of that negative sort, just pray. Pray with boldness. God is there and He loves you :) You got this!

  11. Tamara says:

    Way to go Lindsay!
    I predict that you’ll come back feeling more vital, energetic and at peace with yourself (unless you over-do it in the sex department…)
    And just think, you’ll only have to wash your hair once a day!
    xo

  12. Bonnie says:

    This is so neat, Lindsay – very admirable for someone who admittedly loves to exercise! I’ve taken breaks like this and it’s hard but the result is so positive. And you know what? The truth is, it’s all in how you eat anyway, so taking time off physically WILL allow your muscles to grow, your body to rest, your mind to be refreshed, and your spirit to relax. Hope God meets you in a fresh way this week!

  13. Michelle @ Eat Move Balance says:

    I will reiterate what others have said: You are inspirational. You CAN do this. And remember that you have a support network that is cheering you on (besides friends and family, look at all the commenters!).

    And in 5 days you will look back and realize that everything is still okay!!! Nothing catastrophic happened. Instead, you’ll be renewed and ready to get back into the swing of things–in a healthier way.

  14. Sue Spaight says:

    Thank you for this, Lindsay. It gave me the push I needed to skip yoga class today and stop beating myself up about that when my body is screaming for a break. Why is even TWO DAYS of complete rest (with walks and stretching) soooooo hard?

    I respect you even more, for doing this, and look forward to reading more about it. Good luck!!! You can do it.

    Sue

  15. Becky Przy says:

    I am so inspired by this! I may join in;-) I have recently cut out running and high intensity exercise and it has been tough, but I know its what my body needs right now. Prayer and playing with my 2 1/2 year old have been my go-to’s when things get tough (and a good cry once in a while too).

  16. Katie @ Goober Nut's Life says:

    I wish you nothing but the best, Lindsay! I know how hard it is to take time off completely from exercise, but you might actually wind up enjoying the break! Just think about how you can take that time you usually spend in the gym with your family OR doing something for yourself. Something that you’ve always wanted to do, but couldn’t because it interfered with your schedule! It’ll feel amazing! :)

  17. Meg says:

    DEFINITELY will make you stronger <3 you are already so so so so strong, love but you will feel remarkable after these five days. Five days and you will be so proud of you. heck, I'm already proud of you! How about I take a rest day with you tomorrow hun, ok? My body is asking for it too :) And I just took a "deload" week last week, so if you need extra encouragement there you go, hunnie :)

  18. Katie @ Talk Less, Say More says:

    Rest is super important, I agree and something I usually allow to fall to the way side because exercise and movement are one of my releases. I respect your challenge and it’s definitely something I may have to force myself to do before my body forces me to..

  19. lindsay says:

    yep, i have taken 6 months of rest before. Besides walks, yoga, etc. Best thing ever! my body healed. inner and outer healing. Enjoy those kiddos and love you!

  20. Katie @ Peace Love & Oats says:

    The fact that you know it will be so difficult for you not to exercise for 5 days is a clear indication of why you need to do it! I used to be a serious over-exerciser, I felt like a failure if I didn’t get in at LEAST 1.5-2 hours every day (that’s on top of law school, even during finals). Now that I’m marathon training, I’ve discovered how over-exercising affects my training, it makes me exhausted and HATING my long runs. Because of that I’ve learned to take 2 rest days some weeks (GASP) and taking it really easy on cross training. I think I’m going to take your lead and take a week off after the marathon, and several days of rest before. I know it will be hard for me mentally but it’s the right choice and I’m glad to have you to look up to!

  21. Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale says:

    I cannot begin to describe how inspirational this is … Wow! Lindsay, you have courage I definitely don’t have. I don’t know what I would do without my workouts. Definitely wishing you the best of luck. Maybe I can work up the nerve to emulate your efforts after my half marathon next month when I’ll be able to “take time”. It must really feel great (even if it is a little scary!) to make this decision to care for your body. Rooting for you!! :)

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