Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Taking a Break…

Last week, my workouts started to really suck, and I knew it was time to take a break. The last time I felt like this – I bruised my heel and injured my ankle. The time before, I got a really bad cold (I even stayed home from work, which is completely NOT normal for me). It was coming up on 4 months since I took a significant break from working out (more than 2 days in a row off, or less than 5 days in a week) so I declared this holiday weekend a mini-vacation for my muscles. I spent the long Labor Day weekend resting my poor tired stumps of legs, and beyond some swimming and shopping, my butt stayed firmly planted in a comfy seat.  Like the bad olive, I gave myself permission to “do what I want”!!

Additionally, I gave myself permission to eat what I wanted and not count calories. I ate french fries two days in a row, and red meat more often than normal. Thankfully I did not decide to have french fry salad as pictured over there, which looks disgusting!  There was whiskey, rum, wine, champagne, and beer. However, yesterday, even though I was still in “eat whatever I want” mode, I sought out the salad bar and for dinner we had some homemade shrimp stir fry instead of fatty, greasy food. I estimate that I had around my maintenance calories each day, maybe a little bit more. Yesterday morning, I felt really awful and sluggish, but after a day of veggies, veggies, and more veggies, I’m feeling great.

Mentally, I needed a break from worrying about everything as well. For the most part, I stayed away from just surfing the web, which just eats hours of my day if I let it. I lost myself in a game for hours to the point where it screwed up my sleep schedule. That being said, I slept in until after 11 am one day, and made it until about 10 am two others. I spent two afternoons at the pool and replenished my stores of vitamin D and now have some color instead of my pasty office tan (see, look, a little color in the cheeks there). We had a nice, small BBQ gathering. We went shopping and picked up some shoes (because I sooo needed some shoes, let me tell ya, heh) and other assorted things. It felt like a super long, eventful, but also relaxing weekend. Perfection.

I can tell it did me good, because I intentionally chose healthy food yesterday and today, and I woke up yesterday feeling like it was time for a workout. My calves and hamstrings are still a little tight (so obviously I needed the time off), but my neck is the most tense area right now, which is a sign that I’ve been doing more sitting than I should, and it’s time to move. Tomorrow, it’s right back into the swing of things, and for the first time in a while, I’m more than ready for it. I’m not dreading work like I have been since we started working overtime on and off, I’m not dreading my workouts like I have been the last few weeks, and I’m not resenting going back to my calorie counting tomorrow, I actually welcome it. I also took a break from even stepping on the scale, but today I’m weighing in at 171, which is not bad.

How do you know you might be overtraining?

  • You have trouble sleeping or feel exhausted a lot of the time (check!)
  • Muscle pain and soreness beyond normal or that lasts longer than normal (big check!)
  • Lack of motivation and energy (check!)
  • Sudden inability to complete workouts (check – couldn’t do 4 miles without walking last week!)
  • Headaches
  • Lack of appetite (yeah, not so much for me…)
  • Elevated morning or resting pulse (don’t keep track but I bet I had that)
  • Weakened immune system (no sickness, thank goodness)

So how do you prevent it?

  • Warm up before your workout and cool down properly (I’ve gotten better at this – you can’t just break into a run and you can’t just stop and get off the treadmill)
  • Make sure to eat something before and/or after exercise (I usually eat some fruit about 30 mins before and then have dinner soon after)
  • Stretch! (I do a short stretching routine after running but I’m bad about it otherwise unless I’m getting my yoga in)
  • Schedule recovery periods in your routine (I do 5 days a week, which is generally great, but coming off extended hours at work and stress, I needed a break)
  • Get adequate sleep (I get grumpy if I don’t get my 7-8 most nights, so I’m ok here)

There’s a lot of other information out there, so check it out if you’re feeling like I did, and give yourself permission to take a break, even if it evokes some strange and irrational fears that rattle around your brain.  I did not negate the progress I’ve made in the last month, I did not lose muscle tone, and I did not do anything to harm myself or my routine just by getting off the grid for a long weekend.  I gained 1 lb over the weekend, which I am about 99% sure is water retention from salty food yesterday and my body rehydrating itself after my attempts to pickle my liver with alchohol, and will be gone in a day or two.  I haven’t worked out yet, but I don’t think I’m going to suddenly only be able to run a 12 minute mile again or only do 12 pushups.  I did not have to hurl myself headfirst into the grill like the poor chalk elephant pictured here.

So even though it felt self indulgent and lazy to consider it at first, I know it was a needed rest.  I feel relaxed, refreshed, and ready for anything.  I’m going to take it (somewhat) easy this week with my workouts and really push the yoga that I’ve been neglecting.  Next week, though, I’m really ready to kick it up a notch and I’ll be back later in the week to share my September workout plan.


Death of a (hardcore) Gamer? (Part 1)


Death of a (hardcore) Gamer? (Part 2)

1 Comment

  1. I’ve only been reading since the last few posts, but I am enjoying your views more and more. I’ll be back for more and will be sure to subscribe!

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén