Rest days are important because they allow the body to recover so that you can keep training. Rest days can be complete days off from working out, or they can be a workout day for one body part or muscle group and a rest day for another. All ways depends on the amount and type of training and how you decide to split each workout. What I have learned about rest days is that its important to listen to your body, if you were planning on having a very hard workout one day and you wake up feeling like crap, chances are you should change your workout plan because you are not going to get all the benefits out of it.
For my training I try and take 0 or 1 day off a week, with that being said sometimes it ends up being 2 or even more, especially depending on my vacation/time off schedule and where I'll be traveling to. Above all else I make sure and listen to my body and give it the rest and the workouts it needs. I know I have said multiple times but I love working out, I love doing many different types of workouts as well and because of that I usually end up working out 7 days a week just because my training varies so much and because I just love it. However, sometimes things don't go as planned and workouts don't happen or when I have gone to Iceland or Costa Rica or wherever and I ended up doing a lot more things with my time and put working out on the back burner. Sometimes, even less frequently I just have no motivation to workout, it's just not something I want to do but a task and a burden. When this happens I make sure to take a few days off to clear my mind and rest my body. The last thing I want to do is to start hating something I once loved.
This past week, even before I got to Montreal I was not feeling very motivated to workout, I was working 10 hour days, and I just not feeling it at all. I haven't been much of a morning worker outer lately and that was the only time I had this week. So I decided to take the week off, besides a couple runs here and there. I hate forcing myself to workout because usually it's something I really love to do, so when I'm not loving it I take a step back and a break. Since I hadn't worked out in a couple days I was very ready to get back into it when I got home on Monday. And thats what I did, I got back into it, I love it and I always will, sometimes you just need a break.
Although I have accepted the fact that I will not always feel like working out it still stresses me out and gives me a bit of anxiety that I am taking a few days off, it makes me feel like I am going to lose all the results and progress that I have made. But deep down I know it won't, a few days won't set me back months of hard work and that is something that is so important to remember. Having fun, enjoying life and loving living a healthy life is so much more important than sticking to a rigid workout and eating schedule. Balance really is the key to living a healthy, adventurous life.