The Real Deal on Recovery Days

February 11, 2021
Have you ever been complimented by a friend on your weight loss or increased muscle definition? You can thank good recovery time for this! Recovery days are vital to allow your body to rest, recharge and grow after exercise.
“Hall and Oates, Salt n Pepa, Simon and Garfunkel; all of these double acts wouldn’t have created awesome music without working together. The same goes for the 50/50 relationship between exercise and proper recovery.” -CA personal trainer Charlie Dennis
“When we work out, we’re forcing our body to adapt under stress and grow stronger so we can continue to meet and beat our fitness goals. Recovery allows our body to learn from this pressure and produce the results that make us feel good,” says CA personal trainer Charlie Dennis.

Every body needs a break sometimes

Rest is vital for your immune system, muscle growth and to keep injuries at bay. If you don’t take time for recovery, you’re asking for trouble.


Intense exercise creates microscopic tears in your muscle tissue. These micro-tears cause muscle soreness or pain after they form. When you rest, white blood cells (fibroblasts) start to repair the muscle tissue. The repair process to micro-tears results in muscle strengthening. A reasonable recovery time aids the tissue in healing and growth, and it creates that definition we are all trying to achieve. 

Immune system

Regular exercise also boosts the body’s immune system. But if you don’t give yourself time to rejuvenate, the immune system begins to break down, which makes you more susceptible to getting sick. And then it takes you even longer to recover. 


Rest and recovery time helps to restore and refresh the body. When you don’t modify the intensity of your exercise schedule you can get overtired, weak and off-balance, which sabotages your form. An overworked body is subject to falls, sprains and stress injuries.


Physical activity causes an increase in hormone production. When cortisol and adrenaline are released into your bloodstream, they give you energy and boost your mood. But too much exercise overproduces these hormones, which can make it difficult to sleep.


Dennis’ top tips for recovery

Everyone needs different amounts of recovery time. Workout intensity, duration, age and fitness level all play a part, so there isn’t necessarily “a golden rule.” However, there are some great indicators to determine how much rest you really need. Below, Dennis shares his top three tips!


1. Listen to your body: As my father says, “Your brain writes the checks, but your body has to cash them.” Muscle soreness is a natural part of getting fitter and stronger, but going back to the gym day in and day out will increase the chance of that muscle soreness becoming an injury. The human body has over seven trillion nerves, so it knows when it needs more rest.
2. Split workouts: This is a common technique used by bodybuilders and pro athletes: Break up the stress on your body by focusing on a different area. If you have a sore upper body from yesterday’s workout, why not focus on your legs and cardio?
3. A recovery day doesn’t mean you have to do nothing: Just because you’re not exercising doesn’t mean you have to do nothing all day. Take a walk around the block, stretch or tackle those household chores you forgot to do yesterday. “Active recovery” like this keeps you moving and has been proven to facilitate recovery.

Don’t let your ego talk you out of proper rest  

When your body doesn’t have the time it requires to recover, it only increases your risk of injury or burnout. And if an injury does result, you’ll have to take way more recovery time than you needed in the first place, so it’s really not worth it! Remember, this R&R is all about promoting the body’s natural healing process rather than fighting against it.

If you’d like to learn more about how to maximize your fitness regimen, CA’s personal trainers would be happy to assist. Enlisting the help of a personal trainer is a great way to launch a fitness regimen that’s safe and effective for your needs. At CA, we offer both in-person and virtual personal training options and have over 30 skilled trainers to choose from. Learn more on our website.

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