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Rest....gotta do it!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

So I like to work out. Since 2007, when I stopped smoking and decided to get up off the couch, I have found immense pleasure in moving, running, cycling, lifting, pushing, pulling....almost everything except jumping.

Being a bit of a data hound, I measure everything; max heart rate, resting heart rate, BMI, bodyfat percentages, hip/waist ratios, one rep max deadlifts, squats, etc, and even some old-fashioned measures of success, like can I fit in to those old pair of 33 inch jeans (YES I CAN!)

I've been very happy to find that on almost all of my ST measures for various types of lifts, I am firmly in the INTERMEDIATE range for my age and weight (here's a link to some pretty cool charts)

I try to lift 3x/week, alternating between heavy and medium weight days, working out everything from legs, to back, to chest, to shoulders. I also try to get in 3 days of cardio, anything from biking, to spinning, to ellipticals, and rowing machines. Overall about 5-6 days a week.

One of the oddest mental shifts I've made is that in the past I would look for reasons NOT to I look for reasons TO workout....motivational posters like these now make perfect sense to me;

Having said all that, one of the great (and hard won) lessons I have learned is the need for proper rest. This is a tough concept to get right.

Used wisely, rest allows your body to heal up and build strength & muscle through a program of periodization, the idea that you cycle through periods of putting stress on the body to progressively improve, while building in time for rest and recovery before putting it under more and increased stress.

Used un-wisely, rest can lead to inaction and longer and longer times between workouts, until, one day, you realize it's been months since you've hit the gym and you need to start breaking out the sweatpants because nothing else fits!

Like I said, I've been averaging 5-6 workouts a week for the last 2-3 months. This week, even though I did very good in the ST and cardio department, I noticed I was mentally dragging quite a bit. Nothing specific, just a slight sense of fatigue. 2 weeks ago I pulled a hamstring. Thursday, my calf tightened up on me during a spin class.

So I decided to listen to the signs, heed the voice of trainers and authors who emphasize rest and recovery as part of a total program of health & wellness.

This weekend, I shall do nothing!

Well, not exactly....just no working out. Today we've got family pictures planned, so I actually have to bathe and shave. Tonight, I'm escorting #2 son and his date to go see "Oz, the Great and Powerful" and we're going to take them to Golden Corral for dinner before the movie (teens can eat like crazy and not gain a pound!)

Tomorrow is #2 son's birthday (Yes, he's a St Patty's Day baby!) A friend of ours is a restaurant owner in town and is throwing a corned beef and cabbage charity event for lunch, so we're going there at noon. Then, for his birthday, #2 son wants to have what we call "breakfast dinner" in our scrambles up eggs, fries some bacon, browns up some potatoes, and even makes pancakes for dinner.

So yeah, the do nothing weekend coincides with a high potential for high eats as well. This might just be a weekend to write off on all SP measures of success.....but I'm surprisingly OK with that. One of the great benefits of finding discipline about food and exercise through SP is that these INFREQUENT detours are OK. This'll be a lazy, eat without remorse weekend....then right back into it on Monday. As another kitschy motivational poster says;

Have a great weekend Spark friends!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    PS. OMG! "I beat anorexia" t-shirt will have me laughing in my sleep tonight! Priceless!
    1918 days ago
    Your weekend sounded just lovely and, perhaps, much needed for that 'recovery' period to happen. Hope you're feeling rested and much improved for having taken that bit of time off.

    Now, the birthday breakfast/dinner idea of number two son was sooooooo up my alley of what would totally rock for any celebration on my calendar! Breakfast foods for dinner - that's REAL LIVIN', in my book! LOL, I even asked my number 1 neice to do breakfast foods at her wedding, if she ever gets married, that is. emoticon emoticon
    1918 days ago
    Hope you had a great "no workout" weekend! I think we get so engrossed in our routines that we freak out over the least bit of variation. Like if we get sick or injured or some other major break in our weekly routines. I think two of the things we need to include in our "mental" workout routine is listening to our bodies and flexibility in our schedules.

    There is a huge difference in not wanting to workout because of the "I don't wannas" and genuinely being worn out mentally and physically. And not being able to make that distinction is what winds up causing most of us to burn out with exercise or wind up really getting injured. Or we panic if we have to miss one workout for some reason (flat tire, illness, etc.). It's like we think all our hard work is going to be undone with that one missed workout or that we might as well quit if our schedule isn't perfect.

    I can say those things because I've experience those exact same slipups. I've burnt myself out and I've just given up because I had to skip a few workouts due to injuries (from overdoing it and not taking proper rest). That is my real challenge this time around. Going home instead of the Y when I am just exhausted, but getting back to working out the next morning or evening. If I have to skip a workout due to something like a doctor's appointment, I find another day or time to make it up if I can, but if not, I don't sweat it.

    Like everything else in my life lately...I can control what happens, but I can control how I react to it. And if I react to bumps in the road by just giving up entirely, then that's when I undo all my previous hard work. Not when I have to skip that one workout.
    1919 days ago
    I'm sure you enjiyed your restful weekend just make sure your rest day doesn't turn into 2...or 3...or more days or weeks!
    1919 days ago
    Sounds like an awesome weekend. As long as the wagon isn't too far off the ground the fall shouldn't do too much damage. Enjoy.
    1920 days ago
    Enjoyed yer blog so much------sounds like you are successfully Sparking-Lynda
    1920 days ago
    Hope you're enjoying your restful weekend! It can be such a tricky thing...I always cite Newton's Laws of Physics: An Object at Rest...yadda yadda, but also and Object in Motion...? Which is why stopping for me is sometimes risky. AND tough to get 'er MOVIN' again!

    1920 days ago
    I LOVE that last picture!!! Enjoy your rest week!
    1920 days ago
    Huugs... completely made sense... good for you to realize you need the rest.. and as far as the eating.. track anyways and no worries... I am 5-6 day at te gym person too until i moved to t and i have only made it 4 days a week but i am still getting 8 classes in .. in those 4 days.. hang in there .. hgs and love.. enjoy the weekend!

    1920 days ago
    Great reading, and Happy St. Patrick's Day to you and to son #2 (and the rest of the family -- don't want to leave anyone out). It's great that you share your understanding of how exercise and strength training work for the rest of us who are a bit more puzzled. Thanks!
    1921 days ago
    "So I like to work out. " I almost laughed out loud when I read that monumental understatement!

    But you've hit every nail on the head at least since I've been reading your blogs here on SP, and this is another one full of wisdom and common sense. Yes, work hard; yes, eat carefully; yes keep the temptations in check. Most of the time. Yes, take the occasional return to hedonism in stride; and yes, definitely, definitely yes, incorporate strategic rest periods into the fitness/wellness regimen.

    You rock, GETSTRONGRRR!

    1921 days ago
    Enjoy your weekend and food without remorse! I know you will be hitting the gym on Monday and pushing it to the max as usual! It is very wise to listen to your body's sings of fatigue.
    emoticon emoticon
    Maybe you can train you vocal folds under the shower as kind of alternative to hitting the gym on rest days.

    1921 days ago
    Well thought out! And I love the last *motivational* poster - made me laugh out loud. How many times have I thought that (and thankfully, most times turned myself around before doing it). Now I will have the image of me stomping on my phone firmly in place -- quite the visual motivator for sure!

    Enjoy your weekend - you've EARNED it!

    1921 days ago
    Love this! Enjoy your rest day. I also find them important in feeling better and recovery!
    1921 days ago
    Great decision! I decided that today is a rest day for me, too. I've worked out hard three days in a row and my entire body is sore so I take that as a signal to rest. Have a great weekend!
    1921 days ago
    Thanks for all the motivational posters -- I especially like the one about dedication vs obsession. Enjoy the birthday tomorrow!
    1921 days ago
  • ALIWVU121
    I've got to say your plans sound like fun! (Maybe minus the awkward feel of being the chaperone on a date, lol) Have a great weekend and remember this nice little rest will make working out on Monday feel that much better!
    1921 days ago
  • YMWONG22
    Rest is important in weight loss. I need to work on getting adequate sleep.
    Happy birthday to your #2 son and have a great weekend ahead.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1921 days ago
    All makes sense to me!


    You're doing the right thing. I find that mental fatigue is a warning bell that my activity has exceeded my body's rate of repair.

    Your 'rest' days sound exhausting, though! emoticon
    1921 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/16/2013 10:37:24 AM
    Enjoy your weekend emoticon
    1921 days ago
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