Fellow CAC community blogger Jenn recently wrote about learning to respect her limits in the yoga studio. After feeling out of place in several yoga classes, she finally found a teacher who could relate to her experience. He encouraged her to focus on what she was capable of that day, remember that some days are harder than others, and you have to respect where your body is at that time and listen to it.
I recently learned a similar lesson when I returned from an excellent vacation in which I did little else but eat tons of rich and hearty food. Even though I enjoyed my vacation and didn’t regret anything I ate, I was feeling sluggish when I got back. So I immediately jumped back into my regular workout routine, which includes a couple two-a-days throughout the week. Meanwhile, my brain was still in vacation mode. It took longer to get back on track with my eating, especially with all the Halloween candy leftovers floating around my office. Plus I had no groceries, which inevitably leads to less healthy meals.
I struggled through my workouts. Part of the reason was that I wasn’t getting the right fuel and was struggling to make that happen. And I was acting as if the week I took off hadn’t even happened, which was also not the best move. I was antsy to return to my regular routine, but I had been sitting on my butt for a whole week. It was silly to expect that I could jump back into it just like that.
I guess I’ve always been one of those “no pain, no gain” sort of person, but I am starting to change my outlook. As Jenn also mentioned in her blog post, fitness is a long-term journey. Turning down the intensity or frequency of my workouts to allow myself to ease back into things after time off is perfectly acceptable. In fact, that’s actually better for my long-term health, because overexerting myself could have negative effects such as injury or burnout. I shouldn’t ignore my body if I’m not feeling 100%. It’s important to respect my own limits, because what’s going on in my body or life can change week to week.
Betsy Mikel | betsymikel.com