You may spend hours pounding the treadmill in an attempt to get fit and shed the pounds, but it's actually what you do after your workout that has the biggest impact on your weight loss efforts.

According to fitness instructor and free-surfer Sophie Everard, there's a common mistake that people make after working out - and it's hindering their chances of achieving their dream body and fitness goals.

Refreshingly, Everard explains that many people are actually doing too much exercise and not spending enough time resting, which is the crucial period during which the body becomes stronger, according to Daily Mail.

Although the appropriate rest time varies from person to person, most experts recommend 48 hours of down time between intense workouts.

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"A critical element of training that is frequently undervalued is the post-exercise recovery or rest phase," said Everard.

Everard explains that fat loss, muscle and strength gains occur during these recovery spells, and it is vital to allow yourself adequate rest time.

"Many of us believe you have to be exercising constantly for body adaptations to occur. Actually, it is while your body is repairing during the recovery period, that the body becomes stronger for the next workout."

As Everard explains, rest gives time for the muscles to reconstruct, and if you are strength training or working towards muscle growth, this is when the gains occur, after the work is completed.

She adds: "Rest is critical to muscle growth, and to desist any symptoms of overtraining."