I went for a run today. I had positive splits… I started fast and got slow and tried to end fast. It wasn’t a “perfect” run by any coaching standards (especially my own!!) but I decided mid-run not to beat myself up about it. And I really got to thinking about giving myself a break.
I had a client recently return from her annual physical. She has worked with me a minimum of 3 days per week for almost 5 years. She is in her mid 50s and hasn’t lost any bone density. She has lost a significant amount of fat (through her own good nutrition) and increased her lean muscle mass. Her blood pressure and cholesterol are both great. This doctor told my client that she should be doing cardio on the days she doesn’t train with me. My initial reaction was “give this woman a break!” My client eats well, is smart and dedicated about working out, and is incredibly healthy, balancing work and raising three children… but you want her to do MORE? How about acknowledging she is taking care of herself. And leave it at that. The more I thought about it, the more I thought, “I need apply this to myself and my other clients”.
I took 7 days off at Christmas. The last time I took 7 days off I was on my metaphorical death bed. This time my cousin’s wedding led straight into Christmas and I hosted Christmas Eve and I don’t take days off from work because I don’t get PTO. The first few days I was a little antsy to work out but then I relaxed about it. I spent time with my family. I slept. I drank. And on the 8th day? When I went back to workout and there were 90 wall balls and 90 burpees and 30 toes to bar and 30 box jumps and I thought I was going to die? I felt great.
And then I took another 4 days off to go to New Hampshire and snowboard and sleep and be lazy. And drink and eat. And then I came back and thought, again, I would die in the gym. And guess what? I still felt great.
I’m not saying that taking tons of time off from eating well and working out should be the standard. It should still be the exception. But when you are eating well and working out most of the time when you take time off you won’t slip and fall. I promise. And if you think working out 3 days a week isn’t enough I’m here to tell you that it is. It’s enough to lower your blood pressure, lower your risk of heart disease & diabetes, reduce your risk of depression & weight gain, and it’s enough to help stabilize your blood sugar. People are saying (read: experts).
It is enough to eat well most of the time. By this I mean mostly veggies and fruits, protein, some starch, little sugar.. and reasonable portions (occasional alcohol). It is enough to get to the gym more often than not. It’s also OK to have a boozy brunch with your friends from time to time. And it’s certainly OK to skip the gym. It’s OK to go for a run and have positive splits. It’s OK to go to the gym and not lift as heavy as you could or not go as fast as possible. Or (horror) to not time yourself at all. It’s OK to mail it in sometimes. It is not OK to binge eat/drink for more than a day. It is not OK to neglect your health for extended periods of time. On that same note, I do not agree with cleanses that are unsustainable for the long-haul. Which includes cleanses that are only liquid, low or high fat or low calorie, or inhibit your ability to workout.
Feeling better. Weighing less. Less hungry. Sleeping well. Not stressed. Less anxious. I used to gear up in single-degree weather rather than skip a run. I don’t anymore and guess what? I am just as fit. Maybe more fit. See my previous post about my marathon PR.
Doing enough. I promise.
**As long as you’re getting those three workouts in!!