Working out, eating well, and logging my food to stay on track have become second nature to me and are a part of my daily routine. However over spring break I only went to the gym once, which is much less than my typical 5-6 days per week, and I didn’t track anything I ate on MyFitnessPal like I normally do. I ate foods I only get once a year, like a chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich and Dole Whip soft serve. If you haven’t tried either of these I highly recommend them. I also took the week off from working out because my body was exhausted from the last few weeks.
I love being part of the Millennial generation because overall we have adopted a much more health conscious lifestyle than past generations. Millennials have also made fitness something that’s trendy, just think about how many people you see wearing workout clothes to class or using social media for fitness posts. “Fitstagrams” have become a popular way to document your fitness journey. I’ll look at them for healthy recipe ideas, or when I’m looking for some inspiration to hit the gym. While I think this is a great use of social media, it can also make you feel more guilty about skipping the gym one day or eating that delicious ice cream sundae when you log onto Instagram and see all of the #fitspo pictures on your feed.
One thing that Millennials don’t show enough on their fitness social media accounts is having balance. It’s okay to eat your favorite foods and take a few days off from the gym. In fact, rest days are essential for health; they let your muscles recover, prevent injuries, and for your body to be able to perform at its best. Rest days are what allow you to be able to increase your running speed, weight, or reps in a set.
What happened when I went back to the gym?
When I got back into the gym after spring break I felt rested, more energized, and ready to get back to my usual routine. In fact, when I did my first workout I felt stronger and actually increased my weights for almost all of the exercises I did. All the extra carbs I ate over break and the rest days did great things for my training and overall energy levels.
Did I gain 10 pounds or lose all the progress I’ve made? Absolutely not. I enjoyed good foods and time with family and friends without having to worry about not eating something because I couldn’t make it fit into my daily food intake. While living a healthy lifestyle is important, so is actually living your life. Take rest days when you need them and don’t be afraid to eat carbs — after all, carbohydrates are what provide your body with energy to do everything from normal daily functions to powering through that tough workout.
The next time you take a rest day, remember that you’re actually helping your body and that it’s nothing to feel guilty about.