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By G. Fraser
Rest is the single most important aspect of fitness training. Without rest, our bodies don’t have the opportunity to repair the damage done during our training sessions. Every time we work out, our body accumulates tears in the muscles targeted. When we sleep our bodies release hormones that stimulate the repair of these microscopic tears and over time the constant repair adds mass or definition to our muscles. Without rest, our body neglects to repair itself at all.
Resting too long can also be counterproductive. Our bodies are very efficient and tend to conserve energy whenever they are given the opportunity. If we make progress from time spent in the gym, too much time spent away will stimulate our bodies to consume their muscular gains for the purpose of energy conservation. Essentially, if you do not periodically stimulate you body to repair itself, it will break down and digest itself.
The perfect amount of rest is proportional to the amount of work we do during training. There is rarely a time, other than when suffering from injury, when more than 48 hours of rest is required for our bodies to adequately repair themselves. The most rigorous, heavy workouts can be completely recovered from within this period. On the flip side, our bodies require at least 24 hours or one full night of sleep to be fully repaired for the next training session. In the case in which we are training comparatively heavy or for a longer duration of time, 48 hours of rest is all that is needed for our bodies to completely repair themselves before approaching our next training session. When the work load is comparatively light, no more than 24 hours of rest is needed to fully recover.
Always remember that our bodies will always require at least 24 hours of rest between training sessions in order to receive the full benefit of the training session.
Tl;dr – At least 24 hours but no more than 48 unless injured.