My Home Workouts Are Less Intense Than The Gym — Should I Take A Rest Day? | Your Questions Answered

You might have found it tough recently. Trying to stay on top of your fitness goals, while your gym is closed isn’t easy. Your workouts are not as intense or as challenging as they once were.

With the lower intensity and lighter weights at home, you’ll be increasing the numbers of reps of each exercise to make up for the shortfall.  So, this begs an important question about your rest days. Do you still need to take them?

Answer – Listen to your body. 


Why Are Rest Days Important? 

We’re always told to exercise regularly and keep ourselves active, but when it comes to working out, more isn’t always better. Rest days are just as important as exercise. Training plans aren’t complete with scheduled rest days.

Taking regular breaks from training allows your body and mind time to recover and repair. Let’s take a look at why.


1. Reduces Risk of Injury and Fatigue

When you train at a high intensity, you push your body its limits, causing tiredness and fatigue to the muscles and organs in the body. Training at this intensity, for extended periods of time, can increase your risk of injury and overtraining, due to increased stress on your central nervous system.  

And, if you’re injured or fatigued, you won’t be able to train. That means no training for a prolonged period of time, which won’t help you achieve those all-important fitness goals.

An overlooked commodity in training is routine and consistency.  By having these, you will progress much better, quicker and find more satisfying results.  Going at it like a bull in a china shop, without planned periods of rest, will not benefit you in any way. 


2. Boosts Motivation and Energy

A rest day is your day off from training. But, taking a break is not just about giving your body a break from your workouts, it gives your mind time to recover too. 

Scheduling regular mandatory breaks from training will help keep you motivated and ready to jump back into training. Plus, it gives you body time to replenish energy levels, increasing your training capacity and help you push your body to its limits once again. 


3. Helps Build Muscle

Whether you go to the gym for HIIT classes, cardio, or simply to lift weights, you’re creating microscopic tears in your muscles. These small microscopic tears aren’t a problem. It’s actually the point of working out.

Your body responds by repairing the muscle fibres and making them larger,  allowing your body to become stronger, fitter, and more resilient to training. Your muscles will grow more with the right training, nutrition and rest. 


How Often Should I Rest?

If you’re just starting a new workout program or a beginner to exercise, you should be looking to rest every third day. That means, exercise two consecutive days and rest on the third.  More experienced gym-goers should look to take an active recovery day once a week.

Remember, everyone is different, so listen to your body.

What Should I do on My Rest Day?

The perfect rest day looks different for each person. It all depends on the intensity and frequency of your training, along with your lifestyle.  Rest days don’t have to involve sitting on your sofa all-day binge-watching your favourite series — although there’s nothing wrong with that.

If you hate the idea of spending your day with no exercise, active recovery sessions help you stay active without overstressing your body. Take the opportunity to walk a few miles or improve your flexibility with yoga.

Take Home Message

You know your body more than anyone else. So, it’s important to listen to it. If you notice any aches and pains, issues sleeping, or a drop in performance, it might be time to take a break.

If your body feels fresh, you may likely be able to add another session or two in on your rest days, in order to maximise your training from home.   

Remember, when it comes to working out, more isn’t always better.

Chris Appleton

Chris Appleton

Writer and expert

Chris is an editor and a level 3 qualified Personal Trainer, with a BA honours degree in Sports Coaching and Development, and a level 3 qualification in Sports Nutrition. He has experience providing fitness classes and programs for beginners and advanced levels of clients and sports athletes. Chris is also a qualified football coach, delivering high-level goalkeeping and fitness training at a semi-professional level, with nutritional advice to help maintain optimal performance. His experience in the sports and fitness industry spans 15 years and is continuously looking to improve. In his spare time, Chris likes to dedicate it to his family while training in the gym.