How Important Is Rest in Your Workout Routine?

Jul 03, 2014

By Christine Dailey

Sleep is critical for fitness. A large percentage of people who exercise might not see results because they don’t let their body fully recover – they don’t get enough sleep, explains fitness educator Pete McCall. Exercise is physical stress applied to the body, which means you don’t get stronger during the workout – you get stronger after the workout as your body recovers. Your body adapts and restores itself back to working order during your rest time.


The amount of rest you need to fully recover from a workout depends on the workout intensity. A high-intensity interval training (HITT) workout would be a lot of stress, which signals your body to produce more human growth hormone (HGH) or testosterone. Women produce more HGH, while men produce more testosterone, both increasing your strength and muscle size. You should wait two days before you do another high-intensity workout – BLITZ™, REV™, or heavy strength day. You can reserve the day following a high-intensity day for yoga, a light run or swim.

The ideal amount of sleep per night is eight hours. Since that’s not very realistic for some people, Pete recommends six to seven hours each night to recover from a hard workout. “If you know you’ll be getting a good night’s sleep, then you should do a HIIT workout that day because your body will have adequate time to recover that night,” says Pete. “If you’re going out clubbing tonight, then you might want to have a lower intensity workout today since your body won’t have an ideal recovery period.”