What is Active Rest Training and Why is it Important?

If you are trying to get in better shape, lose weight, or increase muscle mass, the terms “recovery workouts” and “active rest training” may seem counterintuitive and perplexing. However, ask any certified coach or qualified health professional, and they will tell you that active rest training (ART) is essential for meeting your fitness goals.

When you engage in intense exercises, your muscles naturally break down. Therefore, active rest is necessary for your body to regenerate and refuel. If you don’t let your body have a break, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment in your fitness results. 

It’s time to stop feeling guilty. Taking a break from extreme workouts and getting in a day (or two) of active rest training will help take your fitness to the next level.

What is Active Rest Training?

Active recovery training focuses on low-intensity exercise in between or after heavy workout days. Active rest training does not mean taking time off from moving your body. Instead, ART allows your body to slow down and replenish itself.

When you actively rest, you are taking a break from your regular, intense exercise program and choosing another form of working out that is much easier on your body.

Please don’t confuse active rest training with passive recovery. Passive recovery occurs when you take full days off from exercising. Active recovery involves easy workouts equivalent to 60 to 70 percent of your maximum effort. 

4 Reasons to Include Active Recovery Training

Like anything in life, too much of a good thing can actually be bad, and that includes exercise. Adding ART to your fitness program has a multitude of science-based benefits:

Allow Your Body Time to Repair Itself

Lower-intensity workouts help increase blood flow to your muscles and reduce inflammation and soreness. A lighter routine will also help flush out lactic acid, which builds up more during exercise and leads to muscle damage and fatigue.

Give Your Mind a Break

Along with giving your body a break from high-intensity training, an ART routine provides a much-needed mental break. Giving your mind a day off from working out is just as important as letting your body rest.

Improve Your Performance

Overtraining can actually decrease your performance. Rest days increase your energy and reduce fatigue, allowing your body to have consistently successful workouts.

Enhances Endurance 

A day or two of active rest helps maintain a steady and healthy heart rate, especially compared to passive recovery. This improves stamina and prepares your body for the next workout.

Active Recovery Timing

Fitness experts agree that ART is needed for people at all levels of exercise. There are three main ways to approach active rest training.

  1. Between exercise sets. For example, if you are doing a day of heavy weight lifting, instead of sitting down and checking your social media account between sets, you’re better off jumping on a stationary bike and cycling at a low intensity. 
  2. Cool down. Include active rest immediately following your routine. Add a six to ten-minute low-impact activity, like walking on a treadmill at a slow speed after you complete your strenuous exercise session. Also, don’t overlook the benefits of foam rolling to ease muscle aches and increase your range of motion.
  3. Between exercise days. Probably the most popular way to incorporate active recovery is to perform light cardio or a low-intensity movement, like yoga and stretching, between your boot camp and high-impact exercise sessions.

Choosing the Best Exercise Program for You

Overtraining can result in poor sleep patterns, injuries, and diminishing performance during workouts. The goal of active recovery is to feel refreshed, decrease muscle soreness, and be physically ready for the next activity. 

Unfortunately, not all trainers or gyms respect the idea of any type of rest. That’s why choosing an exercise program that honors your overall wellness and supports your fitness goals is so important.

At Fit Body Boot Camp (FBBC), active recovery is half of our trademark Afterburn program. We intentionally combine High Interval Training with Active Rest Training.

  • High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) focuses on short bursts of activity to spike the metabolism and keep it going at an accelerated rate for up to 36 hours after your workout
  • Active Rest Training (ART) fills in the gaps between exercises with workouts that keep your heart rate high while still giving your muscles time to rest 

The result is our FBBC science-based program that burns twice the calories in just half the time. In addition, we offer small classes, conveniently located right in your neighborhood.

  • Our certified coaches lead every session to give you the best workout, build muscle, burn fat, rest and recover and stay injury free
  • We welcome all fitness levels in a community-driven atmosphere
  • Our boot camp sessions create a friendly and inspirational environment of members and instructors cheering you on every step of the way

Of course, we want to ensure that you are comfortable before you buy, so we offer FREE Fat-Burning Workouts to get you started. 

Visit your local Fit Body Boot Camp today and see the difference for yourself! Contact us now and join us in result-focused full-body workouts!

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