When was the last time you took a break from working out?
I’m talking about taking a real break … not just a day or two off from your usual routine.
If you spend at least 45 minutes a day getting sweaty, most days of the year … probably for years on end … I’m talking to you.
You might go to the gym, run, or take group ex classes, or maybe you do exercise videos at home. And most of the time when you work out, you push yourself.
Maybe you need a vacation from your workouts.
BEFORE YOU THINK “STOP BEING WEAK” AND QUIT READING ….
Don’t Be Me
First, just so you don’t think I’m being Judge Judy: I am you.
Well, at least I was until a few years ago, when shit happened and I suddenly couldn’t work out every day. (Ironically, that “shit” was a bunch of random health issues and injuries I thought I was protected from because I worked out and ate a clean, balanced, and healthy diet, took my vitamins, and did all the “right” things.)
When I had to cut back on my workouts, I thought I would balloon up in weight, or suddenly lose my fitness base, or I don’t know. It just seemed like something bad would happen, or maybe I just wouldn’t feel like myself any more.
For sure, I would lose that odd virtuous feeling I had after a good workout. (See? I know you.)
Not working out every day sucked, big-time, until I noticed something.
On the days those random health issues weren’t nagging at me, I actually felt pretty great.
Fewer Workouts = More Energy
I had energy I didn’t know I was lacking before. It took me a while to realize this, but little things started to change.
One night I noticed that I wasn’t stressed about getting to bed at a certain time. Seriously, I used to be obsessive about getting enough sleep, so that I could make it through the following day.
But the realization totally hit home when, on a weeknight (OMG!) I found myself getting ahead on my weekend chores. There I was, standing at the kitchen sink, thinking, “Who am I? How did this happen? I’m like a normal person, but I didn’t even know I wasn’t normal till now.”
Because usually, I would have collapsed on the couch, nodding off till bedtime.
Are You Part of the <5 percent?
Now, remember: I’m a personal trainer, so fitness is my pretty much my life. I work out, I have taught (easily) hundreds of group ex classes over the years (which require hours of practice), plus it’s not unusual for me to demonstrate exercises for clients several times during training sessions.
Meanwhile, most of us struggle to find time to work out a few times a week – due to our schedules, interest, or motivation. Truth: according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, only about 5 percent of Americans get 30 minutes of exercise a day.
Even though I was so active, according to the medical literature, I also wasn’t in the overtrained crowd, or even in the overreached crowd.
Mostly, I was in the over-worked-out crowd, as are many of us who include “fitness enthusiast,” “gym rat,” “exercise nut,” “athlete,” or other exercise-activity descriptor in our identity.
I Dare You
If any of this is you, I’m throwing down a dare. I dare you to unleash the beast. How about you take a week off?
And THEN, after that week, try working out only every other day. Do that for a month.
You won’t fall apart. You won’t even lose strength or fitness. And you also won’t gain weight, unless you start eating extra.
I promise. Like 100 percent promise.
Seriously. Be a real beast and be brave. Be human. Just try it.
Get some balance back. Your life is waiting.