NOTE: I am not a fitness expert and am certainly not certified in anything relating to this topic…I am just sharing my own personal experiences.
Get ready folks, this is a long one.
Last week I alluded to the fact that I had conducted a little “exercise experiment” for myself….and its finally time to share it all with you.
If you remember a few weeks ago, I told you all about the funk I was in and how my mood just wasn’t where it usually is. Well, I thought it was a mix of end of the school year stress, exams, and the like…..and it seemed to get a bit better with the start of Summer. But something still felt off. One of the biggest changes I noticed was that I wasn’t enjoying my workouts as much as I usually do and was actually struggling mentally to get through them.
This was so weird for me as I LOVE exercising and really use it as my time to think, zone out, and just let the endorphins flow. So it really bothered that something that (usually is) so fun for me, was becoming a chore and not to mention unenjoyable. And I don’t believe in doing anything that’s unenjoyable.
So I took sometime to think about my options….
1. I could keep doing what I was doing….try and change up my routine a little…but ultimately lose my good relationship with working out
2. I could do something about this! Change it!
I chose number two. I decided to challenge myself in a way that I had never be challenged before.
I decided to give up exercise for ONE WEEK. It may not sound difficult but for someone like me who is used to working out almost everyday and considers it part of their routine….it was quite hard. But, I needed to take a break completely and let my body want to go back to exercise naturally instead of me forcing it to day after day.
Along with that decision I decided to stay off Daily Mile completely. While I think it’s a great tool to log workouts, mark progress, and keep track of overall fitness…..it was becoming a negative environment for me personally. I found myself getting caught up in other peoples workouts and comparing myself to what they were doing. I began to get down on myself if I didn’t have as good of a workout as what other people were posting. I know its important to just think of everyone as different…some people are year round athletes, some people are professionals training for an event, and some are casual fitness enthusiasts……and thus you really can’t compare yourself to others. But it happens…and it was happening to me.
I wrote down my plan and it was basically a little something like this:
-no deliberate exercise (walking and riding my bike for commuting purposes is allowed)
-stretching and meditating allowed
I knew it would be tough. I was even a little apprehensive to really do it. But now that I did it….I couldn’t be happier.
I’ll admit….there were times when guilt and worry crept into my mind. What if I lose all my strength? What if I lose all my endurance? What if I lose all my HEALTH?
But with time these worries lessened as I realized I should just enjoy this break and that a week is a speck in the scheme of my life. Not exercising for that short amount of time will do nothing to my body…..except, well, help it!
My body did exactly what I wanted it to with this challenge. It accepted the rest (it reeeeally enjoyed it in fact!) and gradually started to crave exercise on its own.
The first few days were tough. It was weird not planning for a workout at some point in my day….but it also gave me time for other things. Ella got a bunch of good walks in, cleaning got done, colleges were researched, and some homework was completed. The most important thing for me was to stay busy. And I ended up being able to relax, worry free for the first time in a long time.
And after the week was over….not only did I want to workout again, but I felt like I had a better outlook on exercise as a whole.
I proved to myself that missing a workout here and there (or even for a WHOLE week) won’t kill me. My body won’t change overnight and a break every now and then is not detrimental to my overall fitness.
When I did slowly add in some exercise this week, I realized that I really don’t need as much deliberate exercise as I was doing before. Meaning hour long classes and runs are not necessary everyday. I’d much rather get my exercise through active living….like biking and walking….than being cooped up in a smelly gym.
Now, this doesn’t mean I’m giving up structured exercise all together….like I said before, I enjoy working out…but I now know, for me at least, my body can stay strong and healthy without going crazy and overboard.
And that’s what’s important. That’s what the point of this whole experiment was…..to learn more about my body and what makes it thrive.
I honestly am so happy I did this. It helped me out of my funk for sure, helped me become more in tune with myself, and helped me get over some anxiety I’ve been having.
If you have been feeling off lately…especially with working out, I highly suggest taking a break. Not just a rest day. A serious break. Your body will thank you for it and honestly it will tell you exactly what it needs. And that it truly amazing. Our bodies are so fricken’ AMAZING!
Thank you for reading as always…..it feels great to reflect on this challenge and I am so grateful for all your support!
Stay tuned tomorrow for a less heavy post! Hey it’s gonna be the fourth!! Gotta have some fun right!?