When should you take rest days from the gym? 1 year ago

When should you take rest days from the gym?

You don't actually get stronger or build muscle while you're in the gym

Those processes occur during recovery, when your body realises it has to adapt to meet increasing demands. So when should you take rest days?


We asked Zack George, the UK's number one ranked CrossFit athlete.

When should you take rest days?

"I get this question a lot," George says.

"This does come down to the individual, but there are some general guidelines."

The amount of sessions you complete each week should be informed by your training experience.

New to lifting weights? George says four or five training sessions a week is enough. This gives you three or four days of recovery per week.


George trains with an extremely high volume. The more experienced you are, the quicker you can recover, so the more you can train.

Photo: iStock

George completes two training sessions a day, six days a week. However, most CrossFit training routines look like this:

  • Monday: Training
  • Tuesday: Training
  • Wednesday: Training
  • Thursday: Rest
  • Friday: Training
  • Saturday: Training
  • Sunday: Rest

Zack George's own routine:

  • Monday: long endurance-based cardio
  • Tuesday: competition-style CrossFit workout, sub-eight minutes
  • Wednesday: running intervals or lactate threshold training on assault bike
  • Thursday: sprints on the assault bike, paired with burpees or wall ball
  • Friday: running or swimming
  • Saturday: cycling

On top of this, George does Olympic lifting and gymnastic work each evening.


When you follow a plan you can't recover from, you risk overtraining.

What are the signs of overtraining?

According to Butler University, signs you're overdoing it in the gym are:

  • Decrease in performance
  • Increase in resting heart rate and blood pressure
  • Increased muscle fatigue, disturbed sleep patterns and gastro-intestinal disturbances
  • Depression, irritability, apathy, and low self-esteem

This is when you should probably take a step back or two.

Zack George is a Myprotein ambassador