The Importance of Rest and Recovery for Your Workouts

With the New Year, new goals, and new resolutions now upon us, we would like to take the time to explain the importance of planning and designing a workout program on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. In most health professional’s opinion, a fitness program that integrates weight/strength
training, cardio-respiratory training, and flexibility training is the best program to achieve overall fitness.


Regardless if you perform a combination of overall fitness training or a single aspect fitness program, it is important to properly design/spread your workouts to not overtrain certain muscle groups and to implement rest days into your program. If you have taken a few weeks off of your usual training program, or are starting a brand new fitness program all together, you should start slow and use light weights focusing on higher repetitions.

Ask our MidwestFit Team at anytime if you are in need of guidance or advice.

Integrated Training Programs

A combination of weight training, cardio training, and flexibility training is considered the best style of program to achieve overall fitness because properly combining the different training programs allows for the body to extract the most benefits from all of the separate training styles.

Weight training can benefit you by producing strong bone mass and reducing the risk of osteoporosis, strengthening joints, developing toned muscles and a lower body fat percentage, developing better body mechanics and proprioception to assist with daily activities, boosting metabolism, and burning calories even after you are done exercising.

Cardiovascular training can benefit you by increasing heart health and heart strength, reducing blood pressure and bad cholesterol, reducing stress and depression, boosting metabolism, decreasing recovery time, and overall muscle toning.

Flexibility training can benefit you by improving overall physical performance, decreasing risk of injury, reducing muscle soreness, improving posture, reducing risk of low back pain, and improving coordination.

Training Opposing Muscle Groups

Depending upon the style of training you focus on, it is necessary to understand the importance of spreading out your workouts and training opposing muscle groups to avoid overtraining.  Overtraining is a physical, behavioral, and emotional condition that occurs when the volume and intensity of an individual’s exercise exceeds their recovery capacity.

For different styles of weight training, it is important to make a decision and set goals for the type of training you want to pursue:  Strength, Endurance, Mass, or Power. Once you have decided upon a style or combination of styles you would like to pursue, it is important to regiment your workouts so you allow for proper recovery time, yet still maximize workout efficiency so you don’t give your muscles too much time to rest.

For reference on styles of weight training refer to , and for reference on proper rest time refer to .

Tips to Prevent Overtraining

For example, you should not target the same major muscle groups on back to back days. It is imperative to keep in mind the concept of supercompensation to allow your muscles the proper time to rest so you can maximize efficiency with every workout . It is also imperative in any and all weight training programs to exercise opposing muscles groups to ensure the body’s major muscle groups are equally balanced in strength. For example, if you are exercising in a strength based weight program, you should exercise your chest and upper back muscles in similar fashions, along with biceps and triceps, and quads and hamstrings.

Basic Cardiovascular Training

For basic cardiovascular training it is also important to mix up your cardio training styles. This is important because as you practice a single form and style of cardio over a period of time, your body becomes more and more efficient at the exercise, which in turn leads to fewer calories burned and a less efficient workout.

Suggestions to avoid a plateau phase in your cardio training include switching to a different cardio exercise all together (instead of running switch to the elliptical, or instead of biking switch to running), or mix in different styles of cardio training (interval training, tempo runs, distance training, or high intensity training/speed work). It is also imperative to incorporate 1-2 rest days per week into your routine to allow your muscles to properly recover to maximize efficiency in your future workouts.

Flexibility Exercises

Flexibility exercises should be performed 5-7 days a week after your workout. Flexibility training should include either static stretches or dynamic movements that target every major muscle group of the body. This is a commonly overlooked aspect of training, especially in males; however, performing flexibility training can maximize efficiency of your regular workouts, reduce possible injuries, and decrease the amount of recovery time between workouts.

Achieving Fitness Goals

As you continue your fitness program or begin a new program, keep this information in mind as you set new stepping-stones to reach your ultimate health, wellness, and fitness goals. Regardless of the style of training you decide to pursue, it is important to understand your goals and how to reach them safely and properly.

Please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] with any questions or concerns. We are here to help each and every one of you to achieve your health and wellness goals.

One of our admins, Ben, is a Health and Fitness Specialist in Houston, TX. He has a 4-year Bachelors Degree in Health and Fitness from Purdue University and has course work in human anatomy and physiology, exercise physiology, advanced anatomy kinesiology, exercise/medical assessment courses, health promotion, behavioral health change and promotion, and exercise prescription and design following ACSM guidelines for some special populations and normal populations.


MidwestFit is a health and fitness community dedicated to delivering top-notch workouts and fitness information to help you get in the best shape of your life! Please visit us at For questions, please e-mail [email protected]

One thought on “The Importance of Rest and Recovery for Your Workouts

  • February 26, 2012 at 2:24 am

    When I got my certification as a Body Building Instructor my trainer said a sentence which has always remained with me since then. Muscles grow when you are not training or using them, especially at night. I’ve always aimed at training quickly and then letting muscles grow while I rest. And it works. :)


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