Fitspo Zanna Van Dijk shares her wisdom on rest days and recovery...

It’s January and you’ve been hitting the gym hardcore. You’ve got your alarm set daily for 6am and you’re smashing it. In fact, friends have noticed that they never see you any more.

Oh and you’re shattered and kinda sore. Hmm, maybe it’s time to take a break and let your body recover.

Fitspo and blogger, Zanna Van Dijk, reveals the five times it’s definitely OK to take a rest day…

1) You are constantly sore.

It is perfectly OK to experience some DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) after a workout. However, if these continue on for days or weeks on end, without recovering and

returning to normal; that is a sure sign that your body needs a break. Without time off, your muscles don’t get the opportunity to repair, grow and become stronger.

2) You feel fatigued.

If you’re waking up from a good nights sleep and still feeling tired, drained and are struggling to drag yourself to the gym; your body needs some time off. Exercising should leave you

feeling energised and raring to go! Similarly, if you find yourself falling ill on a regular basis, you might be pushing yourself too far and compromising your immune system due to

over training. Look after your body by having a rest day or three!

First time in my life trying to take one of those Instagram booty selfies. Almost snapped my back 😂 #notcutoutforthis

A post shared by Zanna van Dijk (@zannavandijk) on

3) You’re developing persistent niggles and small pains.

If your shoulder starts feeling painful when you do presses or your hamstring pulls a little too hard when you’re doing deadlifts – you need to take a step back. These are early signs of

overtraining and could lead to serious injuries in the long term. You not only need to take a rest day, but you should consult a physiotherapist or a specialist trainer about what you’re

feeling. Oh and treat yourself to a sports massage too – you need it.

Zanna Van Dijk’s guide to cheat meals!

4) You’re feeling crabby.

When your body is overwhelmed by constant training it releases stress hormones like cortisol which can lead to irritability and a short temper, as well as feelings of anxiety. If you

notice that your mood has changed for the worse, have a rest day and a good nights sleep.

5) You’re having ineffective and unenjoyable workouts.

If you can’t push yourself in the gym and find that your progress is halting, it means that your body is not efficiently recovering from your workouts and becoming stronger. You need

to facilitate this by eating well, getting enough sleep, staying hydrated and giving yourself time off to grow and repair. Not only will this make your workouts more effective, it will

make them more enjoyable and ignite your fire to get in the gym!

Fitspo Zanna Van Dijk on the 5 ways to enjoy exercise when it’s cold outside

All in all…

It is so important to remember that more is not necessarily better when it comes to fitness. It is much more important to focus on the quality of workouts, than the quantity of

workouts. By giving yourself a minimum of 1-2 rest days a week you are encouraging your body to recover effectively and to become fitter than ever, which will be reflected in your

results.