Rest: When Is It Best to Stop and When Can You Push Through

When you get into the groove of working out and educate yourself on as many fitness concepts as possible, you’ll eventually learn that there is much more to understand. 

Although your old self may have believed that achieving your dream body only entailed going to the gym and eating right, time has taught you otherwise. Thanks to the power of the internet, gym advice, and guidance from friends and coaches, you’ve learned about other valuable concepts such as:

  • Meal timing
  • Macronutrients
  • Deload weeks
  • Metabolic conditioning
  • Set allocations

Now that you’re aware of the details you need to tinker with when building your fitness regimen, it’s clear that there’s more thought, research, and planning involved. And there’s one aspect of fitness that can be quite confusing because of its ambiguity: rest.

A Conundrum Over Rest

We’ve all been there: we wake up with excitement to hit the gym, only to be held back by our bodies. The experience of having the body itself not primed to hit the gym is a lot more scientific than people expect it to be; in fact, it opens a whole new conversation. 

Whether you’re training for performance, bodybuilding, or simply general fitness, experiencing resistance from the body is a dilemma directly tied to the concept of recovery. Specifically, this pertains to the idea of overloading on work, which simply means that the body is pushed beyond its comfort zone. 

Unlike calories, weights, or macronutrient allocations, the body’s tendency to experience overload isn’t something that can be measured or gauged. This is because unexpected fatigue can only be spotted the moment it comes on. 

However, experiencing overload doesn’t necessarily mean that you should take a step back and take a free day off right away. 

Resting vs. Pushing Through

There are two common sides to the overload experience: conservatives automatically rest regardless of what’s going on; there are hardcore lifters that follow “no pain, no gain” a little too closely for their own good.

Very few fitness enthusiasts fall under the third side: look at the facts and analyze the need to rest or go ahead. 

It pays to look at various factors that determine whether one or the other is the better idea. Here’s a quick guide from The Fit Factor PT’s experts on all you should know: 

  • Muscle Stiffness 

Ah, yes, the classical sign of overload. When you experience stiffness in certain muscle groups, getting up and going to the gym as planned can be challenging. However, this shouldn’t necessarily be a deterrent if you’re working on antagonistic muscle groups for the day unless your program specifically calls for set days between sessions.

Our recommendation: Warm up lightly for 15 to 20 minutes to loosen your stiff muscles so that you can move around comfortably! 

  • There’s Pain—Should You Go and Gain?

While muscle soreness may be a sign that you had a good workout the day before, experiencing sharp, stabbing pain is an entirely different story. If it becomes painful to do certain movements, then it’s best to trust your gut and take the day off so that you can heal up.

Our recommendation: Follow the RICE method: Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation. If the sharp pain persists after 24 hours, we recommend that you pay your doctor or physical therapist a visit ASAP. 


When the body begins to resist the idea of a workout in more forceful ways than laziness, then you’re likely dealing with overload. With this guide, you can approach your workout to avoid injuries and maximize training days!

The Fit Factor PT is a personal training studio in Wellesley, specializing in results-driven custom fitness programs and intensive physical transformations. If you want to achieve a better version of yourself, visit our website today to get started!

Chad has been my personal trainer for over 10 years.  He is very dedicated and resourceful as a trainer.  I would highly recommend Chad.  He has kept my body healthy through all these years and in my 50s. Chad is also very accommodating to working with your schedule. Wouldn't go anywhere else.

Joan C

I love working out with Chad! I have been working out with him for the past year and a half and have had the best results compared with other trainers. Chad’s dedication to his clients, humor, warmth and expertise are a winning combination. I look forward to our sessions and always leave feeling stronger, more flexible and energetic. I highly recommend Chad.

Brittany chick

I have been working with Chad (the trainer) for almost three years now and have gone through an amazing transformation! He bonds greatly with his clients and is a very qualified trainer. He tailors workouts to individual clients and has helped me perform better as an equestrian and achieve my physique goals. If you are looking for a great one-on-one trainer, I would highly recommend.

Yvonne C.

When I started going to the fit factor I went in thinking I had a pretty good knowledge of weight lifting and exercise without having much to improve. I was so wrong! Chad was incredible and really took the time to explain and show proper technique as well as a variety of different exercises that I had never done before. I now have much more confidence in my form and have a really great and well rounded routine. Additionally, Chad catered to my personal goals and really listened to what I wanted to accomplish. I cannot recommend The fit factor and Chad enough!

Giuseppe Leonelli

I have been weight lifting for over five years but have never had dedicated instruction from a trainer. Chad was able to notice where my form was failing and correct it immediately. He also guided me towards effective exercises so that I could keep achieving my goals and moving up. After a couple of months of working with him I was able to see some great results. Chad knows his stuff!

Jonas Escobedo

Chad has been great with not only the types of specialized workouts each session but also with checking in after the sessions. He has a real passion for seeing people make big health changes; which makes it fun. Would highly recommend!

William Gotschewski

I went to Chad looking to get back in shape and lose weight, which had crept up from working long hours. Chad was super patient and non-judgmental. We started at a level where I would see results but not get so sore or so disappointed at what I could not do it. He focused on what I could do if I pushed myself hard and taught me that step/skill building was an integral part of the process. We also talked about nutrition and self-care. As other reviews have mentioned, he cares about his clients beyond the appointment time, and wants them to make positive change to their lives that will stick. I lost 30+ pounds and I am in the best shape of my life. I have been able to maintain this for 2 years. He taught me how to create a sustainable workout plan. Even during the pandemic I was able to maintain my weight and my fitness level thanks for his frequent check-ins and the solid fitness base we created through his work and fitness mentorship. I highly recommend him!

Tere Ramos

I started with Chad in August 2020, my first semester of college was cancelled and i needed something active to do. At that point I was a small underweight kid looking to gain muscle and gain weight. I went to Chad 3 times a week until late January 2021. Those 5 months were great, I really enjoyed going to chad and it was the highlight of my week and something I would look forward to going to 3 times every week. Throughout this time Chad has perfected my form on workouts and had a great and unique workout for me everytime. I went in weighing 125 pounds at 5’10 and now I weigh 150 pounds after the five months. Not only did Chad give workouts but he also gave me a diet for me to follow so I could maximize my time with him. He really personalizes workouts for each person. Currently i’m in the best shape of my life and am super confident in my body. GO TO FIT-FACTOR!!

Declan Gulley