Rest or Recovery?

Rest or Recovery?

¿Rest or Recover? They are two similar terms, but they really have different meanings:

What is Rest?

  • Relax, sleep
  • Cease work to repair forces
  • Get some pain relief

What is Recovery?

  • Regaining or acquiring what has been lost
  • Returning to a normal or habitual condition, such as good health
  • The difference between these words must be greatly appreciated when thinking about our sports environment..

Many athletes, despite knowing these terms, ignore them, and until some kind of sign (in the form of injury or illness)} comes up, they don’t stop to consider it…


Rest Days are very important for several reasons. Some are physiological and some are psychological

Importance of Rest

Resting optimally after training is of vital importance if we want to see the results reflected, both in terms of performance, in a next training session, and aesthetically.

The body repairs itself and becomes stronger in the time between workouts, and training without rest can weaken the athlete.

Rest is physically necessary for muscles to repair, rebuild, and grow stronger

Importance of rest

For recreational athletes, rest is more related to aesthetic purposes, with the construction of muscle mass

In the worst case, whether you are a high-level athlete or if you train regularly and very hard, the lack of sufficient rest can lead to Overtraining

What Happens During Recovery?

The recovery time for any sports program is important because it is the period in which the body produces the adaptation to the stress induced by exercise, and this is when the real training takes effect.

Rest also allows the body to recharge, store, and repair damaged tissues


Exercise and any other physical activity causes changes in the body, at the tissue level, and muscle degradation and energy depletion (muscle glycogen) occur, as well as fluid loss

Therefore, during the recovery period, the body will replenish energy stores and repair muscle tissue. If this does not take place, the body will continue to “break down” tissues, due to intense exercise

Short and Long Term Recovery

There are two categories of recovery:

  1. One is the immediate (short-term), which occurs just as we finish our training or sporting session.
  2. And then there is the planned or long-term recovery, which is established as part of a season’s training. Both are extremely important.

Short Term Recovery

Sometimes known as active recovery, and what is being done are low-intensity exercises, so that our body progressively returns to the basal state, pre-exercise.

We can call this phase the “cool down”

Another essential related factor, within this short-term recovery, is energy and fluid replacement, which have often been lost during exercise, and also, the start of the protein synthesis, a key factor for optimal tissue recovery and regeneration. To take a more in-depth look at this, we will bring you another article soon.

This period also produces the repair of “soft” tissue, that is, tendons, ligaments,…, which have been subjected to unusual stress. Chemical substances, in the form of metabolic residues as a direct consequence of internal physiological changes, which are generated at the cellular level, will be excreted.


An optimal short-term recovery session also involves a period of rest, or sleep

Getting enough sleep every night sometimes seems scarce, and for high-frequency, high-intensity activity, taking a nap, of short duration ( 15 – 20 minutes) has a huge impact on the improvement of our body at the recovery level

Long Term Recovery

This technique is used in the professional field, mostly, although it would certainly be beneficial if it were adapted to recreational use , as a preventive measure for injuries, increased performance, and to get out of a possible cycles of stagnation.


In a sports scheme or program, prepared correctly, days and even weeks of rest are included, in annual periods or seasons.

This is the reason why athletes and coaches change their type of training every year, they make changes to different parameters: intensity, time, distance, …, and other variables when training

Adaptation to Exercise

The Principle of Adaptation establishes that our body, after suffering a certain level of stress , will end up adapting and becoming more efficient. It is as if it learnt something new with each training session, where a principle is difficult at first, but with time, becomes better understood.

Once adapted to that level of stress, it will be necessary to subject the body to a new stimulus to promote new adaptation


There are limits to the level of stress or stimulus the body can take before it breaks down and causes injury

Not Getting Enough Sleep Can Impair Athletic Performance

In general, one or two nights of lack of sleep will not have such a marked impact on our performance, however, if it becomes a habit, our body can clearly suffer from this lack of rest.

Inadequate sleep will have a direct consequence on hormone levels, especially those related to stress, muscle recovery, and mood.

According to some research, lack of sleep has an effect on increasing the levels of cortisol (a hormone derived from stress), the decrease of growth hormone (which is active in the resting phase), and Decreases muscle glycogen replenishment.

Do you know the importance of sleep to gain muscle mass?

Balance between Exercise and Recovery

In a way, this relationship is conditioned by the level and physical condition of the athlete. More experienced athletes tolerate high volume of training much better, with less recovery time, since their body is very efficient, and it allows them to return to “using the machinery” quickly.

For the newcomer to the sports world, possibly, his first days will be the worst…, he will need great amount of rest to get used to this activity.

Little by little, as you complete cycles of training-rest, your evolution will be positive, and by the same token, each time you will need a greater stimulus, as well as a shorter time to achieve recovery
Review Rest or Recovery

Assimilation of training - 100%

The risk of injury is reduced - 100%

Improve sports performance - 100%

Gain muscle mass - 100%

Avoid overtraining - 100%


HSN Evaluation: 5 /5
Content Protection by
About Javier Colomer
Javier Colomer
"Knowledge Makes Stronger", Javier Colomer's motto, sets out his clearest statement of intentions expressing his knowledge and fitness experience.
Check Also
What is Acrylamide
Acrylamide: What is it, Where is it found, its effects and toxic doses

Today we are going to talk about a substance present in our lives, whether we …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.