The importance of Rest Days – Why it’s ok to take a break from exercising!


When we first discover exercise and the enjoyment that it can bring, we want to do it all the time! From classes to weight training, cycling to swimming, whatever it is that takes your fancy, we just can’t get enough!

As a fitness instructor, it is my job to make sure that you exercise safely and effectively, but it’s also important to ensure that my students know when to rest and how important it is!

Rest allows your body to recuperate, regenerate and to become more efficient when training.

Here are some important tips to take into consideration when planning your workout schedule and those all important rest days!

Overtraining can halt your weight loss progress

Working out too often or excessively can lead to too much weight loss, but most people don’t realise that it can also have the opposite effect.

Overtraining can actually cause your weight loss to plateau and in some cases even cause weight gain (unrelated to increased muscle mass).

Overtraining can mess with your periods and even cause them to disappear!

I’m not a massive fan of the old monthly but for most ladies under a certain age, your periods appearing regularly tend to be a sign that all is functioning well.

Periods generally tend to indicate that your body is in good enough shape to create life and its absence signifies a problem, especially if it disappears for three months or more.

The drop in oestrogen can also cause premature bone loss, making you even weaker and more susceptible to injury.

Mood Swings, we get enough as it is!

Exercise can be a potent anti-depressant, I have worked with many students that have been on medication and have reduced their doses or come off of medication all together!

But take heed, too much exercise can have the opposite effect, causing anxiety over workout schedules and depression from being continually run down.

Rest allows your muscles to grow.

While it’s important to work your muscles to stimulate muscle-building and maximise fat burn (weight training is very effective at that), it’s just as important to give your body enough time to recover.

Lifting weights creates tiny tears in your muscles that can only repair during rest. This repair process is what makes your muscles stronger than before.

You’ll feel permanently tired!

We all love the great energy burst we get from an awesome workout, but more exercise does not always mean more energy. I trained twice a day, every day for 21 days recently and ended up injuring myself because I had absolutely no rest time factored in!

If your workouts are regularly making you tired during the day or you’re so sore you can barely move, then you’re doing too much. Listen to your body. If you are falling asleep on the sofa as soon as you sit down or going up the stairs feels like an absolute chore, then you’re doing too much.

Burnout. It really does happen!

As much as we love to exercise, you have to find a balance in your life for family, work and social time. Quite often, we don’t realise that we are close to burning out until it actually happens. It’s important to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally, if you feel like you are doing too much, then you probably are.

You have no time for anything else!

Despite all of the potential problems you may incur, hitting the gym for lengthy workouts every day is a big time commitment.

It’s also not feasible for a lot of people; families, studies and work take up a lot of time too! Its also important to make time for other quality-of-life boosters too, friends’, social events, even a bit of Jeremy Kyle if it takes your fancy (really doesn’t do it for me though)!


I am definitely not telling you to avoid working out completely but please be sensible, you only have one body and you need to take proper care of it!

Educate yourself; combine healthy eating with a structured, realistic workout schedule and you will do just fine 🙂

Mel Carpenter

I’m Mel C aka The Health Carpenter – I have over 25 years teaching experience in the Dance, Fitness and Martial Arts Industry. I run a successful Dance and Fitness business and I also coach/mentor several Dance & Fitness Instructors, both online and Face-to-Face. I am a normal person just like you – I’ve faced my own weight loss demons and have battled just like you with cravings and lack of enthusiasm. I have two children so I know what its like to have a completely different body shape and feel frustrated! But I’ve also lost that weight, twice and have helped many others to do the same! You’ll see the kinds of things I do through this blog and I’ll also be providing tips on various things such as exercise, recipes, the right kind of attire to wear at class, the topics are endless! You can also ask me a question and I’ll do my best to answer it for you!

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