Yes, Gabby Douglas loves flying into a double-flip on the gymnastics floor, but ask her to do it Monday through Sunday and she may just flip out. That's because athletes know that more isn't more. "Pros are phenomenal rest takers; it's everyday exercisers who often don't have enough confidence in their routines to take a day off," says David Epstein, author of The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance. Built-in rest days are physically necessary for your body to get fitter. When you work out hard, you create tiny tears in your muscle tissue; those fibers can't rebuild and strengthen if you're asking them to go at it again the next day, Holland explains. So see, we're not saying you deserve a rest; it's part of your training! That also means no junk workouts. Skip kickboxing if you're still dead from yesterday's MetCon class. Don't run 30 minutes longer than you'd planned, just to make up for eating brownies the night before. That seemingly innocuous extra work adds up and can keep your body from being able to do crucial muscle repair; it may even edge you into overtraining—an ugly, plateau- and injury-inducing zone.
Borrow a page from the pros and...
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