OK so you probably already know that I DO recommend having a rest day. When you are training hard, you need to give your body a proper chance to recover. During exercise your muscles tear; during recovery they repair themselves and you get stronger. If you over train, your body won’t get this time it needs to recover. This is why I recommend at least 1-2 rest days per week.
What tends to happen is that people use their rest day as a “cheat day” and end up eating poorly. Diet is 80% of the work, so having a massive binge day is going to set you back.
WHEN SHOULD I HAVE A REST DAY?
I know from personal experience that I am MUCH more likely to eat well and make healthier choices if I have done some exercise that day. I am also much more likely to eat badly on the weekend. So having a rest day on the weekend, combined with my already worse eating habits on the weekend, usually results in a rest and cheat day all in one.
So how to fix this. I suggest that you plan your rest day for a Thursday, and keep your training going over the weekend. That way you are more likely to stick to healthy eating on the weekend.
WHAT SHOULD I DO ON MY REST DAYS?
I suggest having an “active recovery” day rather than a day where you do absolutely nothing. My reason for this is as I mentioned above: you are more likely to stick to your healthy eating if you are active. I don’t know why, but it just works! On this active recovery day, do something light and fun. It can be anything you like! My favourite things to do are to go for a walk, go hiking, do a yoga class or do a stretching session, go to the beach and go for a walk and a swim or have a core day where I just do ab exercises. Whatever you do, make sure you are moving and also having fun!
IS IT BAD IF I DON’T HAVE A REST DAY?
I guess this depends on the individual and how hard you are training. But generally, I would always recommend having a rest day. Overtraining can lead to fatigue and injuries. Also, when overtraining is combined with under eating, it can lead to amenorrhea in women (loss of your period).