I have been trying to get on top of my fitness lately so I joined a gym nearby and I had a fitness assessment with one of the trainers. During our chat I discovered the importance of rest to our productivity.
The trainer told me the importance of working out just to the point where your body feels challenged but can handle it. If you try to work out and push your body even when its tired, you might feel like you achieved something, but your body will not learn from it because your body is now using the anaerobic stores of energy.
What you want to do instead is to consistently work out your body just to the point where you feel like you are doing work but you are still focused and then take a break. That way you are training your body to be able to learn to do more work while in the aerobic phase.
Now in between all of these comes the importance of rest. The trainer helped me understand how rest works for the body.
Rest is when your body learns and does better. So if you are overexerting yourself everyday in order to build muscle but don’t give your body maybe a day in-between every other 3 days, your body will not have enough time to learn from this exercise in order to build the capacity that you need.
Same thing with gaining inspiration or learning a new skill or being creative. Rest is a very crucial phase for inspiration to happen.
History is filled with people that got inspiration during times of rest. Paul McCartney was said to get his song in a dream, Stephen King the writer was said to get some of his stories in his dream, a dream helped Kekule the scientist figure out the structure of benzene, Frankenstein the popular novel character was inspired by a dream. The pianist George Gershwin got his inspiration for his composition not just when he was writing but out and about- from taxi horns in Paris.
Last but not the least, Otto Loewi got the inspiration for his experiment on neurotransmission from a dream and ended up winning a Nobel-prize for it. The list goes on and on but I’m sure you get the point by now.
The key is to first of all work that idea or skill you are trying to build to a point where you are challenged but not exhausted, then take some rest and let your body learn and translate this information from bare information to insight.
Working out yourself mentally, physically or emotionally to the point where you lose focus and skill is counterproductive. Not challenging yourself either and just having a breeze is also equally counter productive. The key is to toe that line in-between.
So if you have worked so hard and now you are feeling stuck, do yourself a favour- rest, sleep, or just get some down time and you might be surprised to find that aha! you have been looking for when you least expect it.
Have you ever had any great ideas while doing something completely different?
Leave me a comment.
Oh and here is George Gershwin’s composition I talked about to jumpstart your rest hehe;)