When to Take a Rest Day From Working Out

Starting your fitness journey may be hard, but once you get into the flow, knowing when to take a rest day can be a challenge too. We know how fun it is to train, and every training day is something to look forward to. Yes, training consistently is important. However, there is a fine line between consistent training and overtraining.

Knowing when to take a rest day is crucial knowledge to avoid getting injured or sick. Nothing kills the momentum more than having to skip training, and in most cases, this can be avoided by knowing when it’s time to rest. In this article, let’s look at one of the most important (yet least spoken about) aspects of becoming a solid martial artist: recovery.

  • 1 You underslept

    lacking sleep

    Although it’s not a cardinal sin, you risk doing more harm to yourself and others if you haven’t had enough sleep. Martial arts may be enjoyable, but they do need to be respected to avoid getting hurt. 

    Getting a sensible amount of sleep gives your body and mind the necessary resources it needs for your daily tasks and physical training. Reaction time is a vital part of training, especially for sparring. You’re also more likely to get sloppy with techniques when feeling far from ‘fresh’, which can easily lead to injuries.


    Don’t get into the habit of relying on energy drinks or coffee to stimulate you before training. There is nothing wrong with consuming these products (in moderation), but they should be a supplement rather than a replacement for lack of sleep.

  • 2 Just not feeling it

    cant be bothered

    You’ll have days when you can’t be bothered to train, but you should still go. However, if these can’t be bothered days are happening all too frequently, it’s okay to take a break. It may be your body telling you it needs some time off.

    You risk putting yourself off the training entirely if you keep pushing yourself to go anyway. Knowing when to take a rest day from working out includes having a long-term perspective regarding training in martial arts. Being a martial artist is not just about learning how to fight; it’s also about making intelligent decisions both in and out of combat. You want to keep the enthusiasm for training alive to keep you on the journey to mastery.


    How you use your newfound time is important if you decide to take a break from training. Keep healthy with a proper diet, and make sure you’re still getting some activity, even without going to the gym. Remember: the gym may be optional, but your healthy lifestyle isn’t.

    Look for other activities if you’d prefer to do something social and non-contact for a couple of weeks. Weight training, strength and conditioning, and tennis are good options. 

    Essentially, even while you give your mind the chance to find its enthusiasm for martial arts, you must keep yourself in good shape. 

  • 3 You feel a bit unwell

    feeling sick

    Getting out of the house for some fresh air when you’re ill can be a great idea. Going to the gym? Not so much. 

    Although some people say sweating it out is a great way to get over an illness, don’t make others ill in trying to get better. True, being unable to train can be annoying, especially when you have built a consistent routine. But you have to give your body the rest it needs. It isn’t always the case, but getting sick is also a symptom of overtraining. 


    Give your body the time it needs to heal when you feel unwell. Your primary focus should be getting the essential nutrients and rest you need. That means laying off any junk food, keeping hydrated, ensuring you’re getting the vitamins you need and getting at least 8 hours of rest per day.

    Boring? Maybe. However, you’re in this for the long run. If you look after your body when it needs it, it will look after you when you need it.

  • 4 Small injuries are adding up

    If you’re finding that you’re collecting injuries every other week, you’re likely over-training. Although something can be said for training through the pain, this relates more to pushing your comfort zone rather than powering through mounting injuries. 

    Picking up little niggles here and there is all part and parcel of training in almost any sport. However, if you’re noticing that the rate you’re picking them up is significantly increasing, it may be time to give your body some much-needed TLC. The same applies when you start getting more severe injuries. 

    A simple rule to follow when increasing your training load: increase by 10% each week. This gives your body, particularly your joints, the time to cope with the demands of your training.


    Often, minor injuries left unattended eventually lead to more serious ones. Take a break if you’re finding your injuries aren’t healing up. If rest alone doesn’t seem to be helping, it may be time to reach out to your local G.P. to get a better sense of what you are dealing with. 

    ‘Pushing through the pain’ can potentially set you back significantly longer than if you rest and recover properly, so it’s just a bad idea overall.

  • Final thoughts

    Your martial arts journey is about how you rest as much as how you train. It’s easy for people to forget that rest is important, especially since rest is a passive activity. They do, however, go hand in hand if you intend to maximize your potential as a martial artist.

    This point stands regardless of the discipline you train. Shift your perspective and understand that your journey is a marathon rather than a sprint. Knowing this, you’ll probably be more likely to stick with training for years to follow, reaping its long-term benefits.

    If you enjoyed this article, check out…

    How to Avoid Muay Thai Injuries

    What Do Boxers Do After a Fight

    How to Start Working Out (and Stay Consistent)