The importance of rest days, taking the time to reflect, and spinning hook kicks

Happy Monday,

We all know the importance of hard work in reaching our goals. Without the sweat, stress, and struggle, we won’t make progress.

What is generally underrepresented in the growth equation is the importance of rest.

Put simply: hard work plus rest = growth.

This holds true when it comes to both our fitness and non-fitness-related goals. It’s so important that you take at least one or two days off of intense training or work every week to help your body and mind recover.

For some people, the rest part of the equation is easy to do. Others  feel like they’re going backward if they’re not pushing hard, so rest becomes more challenging.

If you’re the latter (and I can relate), the key is to treat your rest and recovery days as a crucial part of the long-term growth process.

Without adequate rest, you put your body at risk for injury and overtraining.

Rest isn’t only important for body recovery; it’s also important for your mind.

Super-focused training is mentally exhausting, so our minds need a break from training as well. This is why regularly taking a day or two off to do something completely non-work-related is so key to avoiding burnout.

When it comes to fitness, rest days don’t have to mean that you don’t do anything active all day. I’m happiest when I’m moving, which is why my rest days usually include active rest day activities like skateboarding, biking, swimming, stretching, and long walks.

You can take active rest days for your mind, too, choosing to use your days off to read, learn something new, or connect with other like-minded people.

Active rest days can be a fun break and energize you for your upcoming week of training and work. More importantly, they’ll help you avoid injury and burnout so you can keep pursuing your goals for years to come.

What I’m reading —

We Want to Travel and Party. Hold That Thought. / The New York Times / Emily Esfahani Smith

As those of us in the US and certain other parts of the world emerge from the COVID pandemic, it’s tempting to jump right back into normal life. Smith, who is also author of one of my favorite books, The Power of Meaning, says we need to take the time to reflect instead.

“If we want to emerge from this crisis whole instead of broken, we need to process what we’ve lost. Rather than bulldoze past our grief straight into the delights of summer, we should take the time to work through it.”

What I’m listening to —

26 Marathons: What I Learned About Faith, Identity, Running, and Life from My Marathon Career by Meb Keflezighi

World-class runner Meb Keflezighi shares the countless lessons he’s learned from running 26 marathons in this book about much more than just running.

A quote that inspires me —

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” – Confucius

What I’m training this week —

Spinning hook kicks.

I’ve been slowly working on incorporating spinning hook kicks into my martial arts training. They’re nowhere where I want them to be yet, but I’m trying to not be too hard on myself and trust the process.

Three new workouts from last week —

Fighting Fit 12-Minute HIIT Workout (12 minute, equipment-free or heavy bag)

300 Rep Kettlebell Challenge Workout (Time challenge, kettlebell, plyo box)

Sprint Endurance Challenge Workout (Time challenge, equipment-free)

And here’s a basketball-inspired bodyweight workout I posted on Instagram.

Remember, you can get these and all future workouts right in the 12 Minute Athlete app when you subscribe as a Super Athlete (this is WAY cheaper than joining a gym or hiring a personal trainer! In addition, you’ll be helping to support the site and making future features to the app possible.).

As always, I value your feedback, so please feel free to reply directly to this email if you have any questions or comments (yes, I am a real human). I get a lot of emails and messages, so I can’t reply to all of them, but I do read everything you guys send me!

Here’s to staying motivated over the long run,

– Krista Stryker

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