Mental and Physical Break Part 1

After noticing some weird body aches on my Rest Days I realized it might be time for a “reset.” I have a steady workout routine that doesn’t change much (the activities change but the amount doesn’t change) but sometimes you just need a break.

I take 2 Rest Days a week but I split them up. Lately my workouts were feeling uninspired. That in combination with body aches makes me think I might be over-training.

Signs You May Need a Break

  • Fatigue or physical exhaustion
  • Soreness that won’t go away
  • Dreading your workouts
  • Poor performance
  • You’re not able to progress in your workouts
  • You feel unmotivated or bored
  • Injury or illness

I wouldn’t say yes to most of those. I do have some soreness and boredom. Either way, a mini break can’t hurt anything.  I need to break out of this plateau. Change my routine. Change things up. Reset my body.

Most athletes regularly schedule a week off from activities every 8-12 weeks.

“One major factor that is often forgotten is RECOVERY! Recovery is vital for the body to continue making progress, whether it is muscle gain, fat loss, or both. Not only do we have to recover physically from one work out to the next, but also mentally. Even though we take days off from the gym a couple times a week, after weeks and weeks of pounding our bodies, we may require more than one or two days. That is why the training technique, or should I say “non” training technique, of taking a week off can be what your body needs to break your plateaus and spark your body into better gains and faster progress.” (source)

So for three days I did a Detox of sorts:

  • First, I didn’t go to the gym. The only activity was walking.
  • Second, might as well do my sugar detox that I planned on doing for November!


Day One was easy. Day One was basically a rest day. It feels no different than a normal rest day. It was a good reset for my brain and body. The challenge will be the rest of the days. I never take more than 2 days off in a row unless I’m sick. So the third day will be weird.

How I Did: I was fine. After 4 days of working out a day off was needed anyway. Like I said, Day One would be easy. I did not eat any candy! I made it through the day without being tempted, either. I did chew on some gum at work but when the urge to snack hit me Monday afternoon I drank some peppermint tea instead.

How I Felt Physically: I felt tired and run-down.  I don’t know if that was due to it being a Monday, Daylight Savings time, or it being a rest day but I was just tired.

How I Felt Mentally: Mentally I was really glad I was taking a break. Mentally I felt drained and wasn’t looking forward to the gym, so that was a good sign to me that I needed the break.

It was nice to have a night off. I had a good evening out with a friend too!


How I Did: I most definitely needed day two. At first I was starting to feel guilty for taking time off and “slacking” from my schedule but my body hurt.

How I Feel Physically: My body hurt. I don’t know if they were phantom pains or if my body is actually worn down. Who knows? All I know is that I had body aches I couldn’t explain and I was glad I didn’t have to work out. I was also famished. The hunger levels were high all day long and I never really felt satisfied.

How I Feel Mentally: I felt relieved to have another rest day. The idea of going to the gym did not appeal to me.

What I Did: I read a book. In my free time I read this book:

Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession by Julie Powell. She’s the author of “Julie and Julia“–which I LOVED. I loved her first book, it inspired me to want to try more adventurous dishes in the kitchen and I really enjoyed the movie. It was charming and romantic. Cleaving? Not so much. I did not like the book at all, honestly. It was lacking all of the charm and romance of the first book. Her story was about infidelity and butchering meat. Great topics, right? I kept trying and trying to get into it but she made herself SO unlikable to me I didn’t really care what her story was about. Bummer.

I also started a new book: Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest. Creepy!


I also did some accessorizing. I have a ton of jewelry but rarely wear them anymore because I’m usually heading to the gym after work (or biking to work). It’s just not something I think about doing anymore. Well, not having to go to the gym for a few days I started rotating through my necklaces and earrings.

Michael commented that he liked my “accessorizing” lately–that it was feminine and romantic. I guess I’ve been doing the “gym rat chic” a little too much lately, huh? 🙂

Next challenge: Day three…

QUESTION: Do you ever take a break like this? What did you notice?

10 Responses

  1. Hi Lisa. Agreed…sometimes a mini break is just what the doctor ordered. LOVE the necklace. And so sorry to read your Cleaving review. Like you, I LOVED Julie and Julia…shame her follow up was less than stellar. Have a good and restful Wednesday.

  2. I am not good at taking breaks- but I think they are important. I get extremely fatigues sometimes and never really thought that it could be because of too much exercise. I always assume a reset button has been pushed each morning when I wake up. Thank you for making me think about this in more detail! I am looking forward to hearing about day 3!
    Jill recently posted..Stubborn 10 Update

  3. Your post came at a perfect time for me. I’ve been overdoing it lately, I feel like I need to work out almost every single day. And last week I did. Funny enough it was the 3 mile walk I took with my dog last Sunday that did me in. My ankles started screaming at me and I am forced to listen, so I’m taking a couple of days to let them rest, but it’s hard not working out! I’m grumpy about it.

    I also noticed that I wasn’t progressing anymore with my running and I couldn’t figure out why. I was doing great for a while, but recently it started to feel like such a struggle. Now I know I was just overdoing it.

    Thanks again for a helpful post!

    1. I went through something similar a few years ago. I worked out every day for 28 days without a rest. I was trying to bust out of a plateau and wasn’t seeing any changes. I got so burned out. I realized then that I MUST have 2 rest days a week no matter what. And I’ve been doing that ever since. 5 days a week is enough working out.

      Hope you feel better! Rest up!

  4. Breaks are really important. I really pay attention to my body to make sure I am not overtraining, particularly in the summer with a lot of biking. I take off a week from lifting every 3 months to get a break with that.

    The hardest part is really the mental part of resting because you feel like you should be doing something.
    Lori recently posted..Chilly riding

  5. I’m so glad you’re doing this Lisa Eirene. Listening to your mind and body, it sounds so good!
    I recently took a break too. Then started a completely different exercise routine and have broken my almost 1 year plateau.
    Samantha recently posted..Do- Champagne tasting

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