What many of us fail to realize is that we don't make progress/improvements while we exercise or train. Progress comes while we recover. The workout is the stimulus that promotes the physiological change in order for us to be able to cope with the increasing physical demand, but it is recovery that allows for the physical response of improvement.
Proper recovery is as important as a proper training plan. Unfortunately we all have slightly different recovery needs, and it's important to find out what works for you if you have goals of improving any type of physical performance.
We have all heard of a rest day, but what exactly does this mean? I don't believe a rest day involves doing absolutely nothing and just sitting on the couch watching TV. Think of a rest day as a day where you move, but without too much intensity. The exercise you do that day shouldn't be equal to your current fitness ability. Get the blood flowing to the muscles you trained the previous few days, but at an easy intensity.
The amount of recovery needed depends on a wide range of variables some of which are: age, current ability, sleep, diet, lifestyle away from training, and the intensity of your training sessions. If you are feeling tired during your workouts, or if you are noticing slower or no gains in performance you should consider looking at your recovery. Are you having enough 'rest' days, are you getting enough sleep, is your diet adequate, are you staying up to late drinking? Everything we do away from our training sessions has an impact on the improvements we will see.
My advice is to listen to your body, train hard, but keep in mind you won't see any gains if you don't recover and allow the body to rebuild itself. For a more in depth look at your training plan and recovery talk to one of our professional trainer, or book a coffee with me...I love talking training and performance.