When you scroll through Instagram, it’s easy to believe that the truly dedicated never—ever—take a day off from strength training. But don’t let those super-styled, pristine photos keep you from giving your body the time it needs to heal. Rest is more important than you might realize, and if you’re not giving your muscles enough downtime, you could end up slowing your progress (or worse).
“Recovery is one of the most important aspects of a successful training regimen, but for some reason, it’s commonly overlooked,” John Gallucci, Jr., ATC, DPT, President of JAG-ONE Physical Therapy, tells SELF. “Especially after intense or prolonged training, your body needs time to repair tissues that have broken down.” That’s how your muscles change, adapt, and ultimately, get stronger. Simply put, when you ask your body to jump right back into performance mode too soon, it interrupts its natural rebuilding process, and can prevent you from reaching your goals.