Society is full of gimmicks and pressures to work out in new and extreme ways, or somehow cut corners and achieve the same results.
Sure, bodies benefit from fitness routines, but what about minds? Is the pressure to look like a celebrity or professional athlete too overwhelming? And if we do push our bodies beyond our personal limits, how healthy can that really be – from both a physical and mental perspective?
Exercise has been shown to improve mental health time and time again. But there’s an equally important second component to these benefits: rest and recovery. Taking the time to balance your training or daily physical activity with periods of rest allows your body to heal, re-focus, and be ready for the next workout – while offering similar benefits for your mind.
But how do you achieve the proper balance between exercise and rest?
There are countless articles on the topic. A total information overload.
So we reached out to our friend, Pierre Vuala, who has the experience to offer advice on the subject.
Pierre has been a personal trainer for over a decade, leveraging his education in Exercise Physiology and background as an athlete to help his clients “curate a healthier lifestyle built off quality, to help them perform better and be a better version of themselves.”
He also comes from a place of having been diagnosed as “morbidly obese” at the age of 12, deciding then and there to change the future of his life and health for the better. Ever the entrepreneur, he’s also the creator of his own fitness app, B3.
Check out our recent Q&A with him below.
LM: How do you go about creating training plans for individual clients?
PV: I believe in treating every person as an individual. So when a client reaches out to me to create a specific plan for them, I run through a series of questions that help me understand their body, their daily routine, and what results they’re looking for. And from there, I carve out a custom workout plan.
Photography by Rafa Olarra
LM: In your experience, do you feel physical exercise has the ability to change how stress affects your body? What about recovery or meditation?
PV: When we exercise, we release chemicals called endorphins and serotonin, which release positive feelings in the body and regulate your mood. So it is scientifically proven that exercise can relieve stress.
As much as we need movement, we also need recovery periods. The body can’t function well under constant stress, physically and mentally. I am a huge believer in listening and understanding your body. When you pay attention well, you notice your body gives you cues on when it’s time to take a step back and recover.
As far as mental recovery, I always implement one day of solitude to get my thoughts in order, and keep my mind clear and calm. I really put effort in keeping my interactions with people very minimal.
LM: How important is rest and recovery to you and your clients’ training routine?
PV: I always say that every aspect in a program is important, from the diet to the training to rest. No one thing is more important than the other. If you never give your body time to rest and recover, how do you expect it to perform at its best?
LM: What do you do on rest days?
PV: Honestly, on my rest days I am a total couch potato and homebody. I guess because I’m so exhausted from my prior workouts, moving more than I have to is not an option in my mind. Sometimes I like to do an active rest day where I just do a light jog, just to get the blood flowing. I would definitely advise my clients to do the same, depending on their goal and level of performance.
LM: How do you know when you need to make time for rest, for yourself and your clients?
PV: On a typical basis, I like to add 1-3 rest days for my clients, obviously this is different from person to person.
Personally, I do 1 to 2 rest days depending on how my body feels. But I don’t mistake being lazy or a little bit tired as a cue for me to take a rest day. You can’t let laziness get the best of you.
Photography by Rafa Olarra
LM: What advice would you give to people who can’t seem to stick to a training routine? Does your app offer ways to stay motivated?
PV: Everybody functions differently, and likes different things. For those people that struggle to start a fitness journey, I always recommend they do something they like first and carry on with that. From there when they create consistency, start doing more challenging routines that they may not typically do.
My app is catered for the person who is looking for routine and guidance. Because they either don’t know what to do or just need something to follow.
LM: What advice would you give to novices who are unsure if they will benefit from working with a personal trainer or subscribing to a training app?
PV: If you are a novice, it will never hurt to gain knowledge from somebody else who knows what they are doing. At one point, I was a novice and had others lead me and guide me to the point where I’m at now. So for me, it is a no-brainer to learn from that knowledge.
LM: What inspires you to keep training?
PV: For me, inspiration comes from being better than yesterday. I am always in competition with myself to perform better, to beat the goals I set for myself. And there are times when inspiration isn’t always going to get me out of bed, and that’s where consistency and dedication have to kick in.
Photography by Rafa Olarra
LM: What advice would you give to people who think they’re “too busy” to work out?
PV: “Too busy” is a choice. When push comes to shove, we are all capable of creating time for things we prioritize. Wake up that one hour earlier, use the excess time on your lunch break. If you put in the effort, you can always find at least 30 minutes to get some type of movement in.
Follow Pierre on Instagram
Find his app at www.PierreVualaapp.com