I don’t know about you, but I am definitely still recovering from the holidays. The past month has flown by in the blink of an eye. I swear we were just transitioning from Thanksgiving to Christmas, and now all of a sudden it’s 2018! The past 6 weeks have been wonderful. Magical, even. The holidays were filled with everything I’d hoped this year, which makes getting back in the workout routine so much more challenging.
Enjoying the holiday season was awesome. I feel like this was the first year that I truly appreciated the holidays. I didn’t get caught up in the stress, I celebrated all of my traditions, watched tons of movies, and spent time with loved ones. This newfound holiday attitude left me feeling full and completed, rather than frazzled like previous years. As I focused myself more on spontaneity and less planning, I also decided to take a break from working out. From December 24th to January 2nd, I didn’t get a single intense, focused workout in.
I didn’t workout for 10 days.
Yikes! Sure, I stayed active during this time. My husband and I spent 4 full days up north skiing with family and friends. We took a few walks around the block. But as far as my workout calendar goes, I had to make a point of moving my scheduled workouts back a week and skipping exercise.
Skipping over a week of workouts is definitely not something I do often. Having a type A personality is really a blessing when it comes to sticking to your goals. I plan out my workouts ahead of time each week, each month, and often multiple months at a time. This allows me to make gradual progress towards a big fitness goal. Whether it’s marathon training, completing a fitness challenge, or just getting in all of my cross training, strength training and yoga – you bet I schedule it all in. Sure, there are a few days here and there where I don’t workout, but rarely for extended periods of time.
So when we were planning our holiday travels this year, I may have been overly optimistic with my workout schedule. Sure, I could have fit in that 30 minute strength training once we got back to the condo after skiing all day. I could have woken up at the crack of dawn to sneak in a run before celebrating New Year’s Eve.
But in each of these moments, I opted to relax with those around me. We cooked big breakfasts, watched our favorite movies, and made gifts for the neighbors. However, all of those decisions quickly added up and I was left with a string of days where I didn’t workout at all.
I suddenly found myself with a blank week in my training log – an unintentional break from working out.
No runs, strength training, cross training, yoga, or anything of the sort had been completed. Oops! Do I regret it? No I don’t (okay maybe I did a little bit yesterday when my usual 4 mile run felt like a marathon in itself;).
All of these missed workouts have left me with a little more work to do this week to get back to where I was. I’ve got some shorter runs to fit in before my fitness will return enough to increase my mileage. I might use the 8 pound dumbbells instead of the 10 pound weights for my strength training. And my heart rate might increase sooner when I ride my spin bike. But all for a good cause.
So what really happened when I didn’t workout for 10 days?
My body remained the same.
Sure, my stomach’s slightly flabbier. My runs feel a little more challenging. I probably lost a little bit of fitness. But it’s nothing that I can’t get back in a week or so. My body hasn’t changed much at all, actually. Even after not just skipping exercise for 10 days, but indulging in more treats that usual as well.
What really changed, though, was my mindset.
I never truly appreciated what exercise does for your mind until I missed it for a while. I’ve been set in my fitness routine for years now. So long, that experiencing endorphins and appreciating my body has become normal for me. When I took away those focused workouts for 10 days though, my mindset really started to change.
I began to feel guilty for all the treats I’m eating. My mind was telling me to be lazy about tasks that no more than 2 minutes to accomplish. The more workouts I missed, the easier it was to convince myself to skip the next one. The first day I skipped my workout was quite a mental battle. I felt guilty all day long, trying to plan a time when I could double up the next day. On day two, I realized again that there was no time to complete my workout, let alone double up. As the days passed, my excuses increased and my willpower decreased.
My mind and body felt out of sync, and I found myself questioning whether or not I actually deserve to eat dessert (something that I definitely do not usually struggle with;). My confidence had decreased, motivation was down, and laziness was at an all time high.
It’s funny how nothing had actually changed on my body. I still looked exactly the same, was capable of all the same things.
But man, our minds are a powerful thing.
I’ve always believed that exercising for your physical health is great, but we reap the greater, undiscovered benefit in our minds. Exercising does something fantastic in our brains. All of a sudden we have a little more confidence. We do something every day that makes us feel worthwhile, feel proud. We appreciate our body for what it is capable of, rather than putting it down for how it looks. Every day we make progress. As we feel a change, making the choice to be healthy becomes easier and easier.
The holiday season was a welcomed break. I finally feel that I truly lived the holidays and appreciated the season. My body was ready to kick back with loved ones, and I did just that. But now, the holidays are over, a new year has begun, and it’s time to get back on track. I have been craving that daily satisfaction of a good sweat session. My body is eager to make improvements, get stronger and crush new goals.
If you find yourself in a rut after missing workouts, take a minute to discover what you’re missing. What have you been feeling since you stopped working out? Sure, laziness is a powerful force. It may feel like the greatest challenge of your day to beat the laziness and get off the couch. But our willpower is much stronger, and once you get going each day becomes little easier.
It’s the first year of a brand new month, and there’s no better time to put an end to skipping exercise than today.
Sometimes it takes a break to remind us why we do something. And sometimes our reasons for continuing might be very different than why we started.
Whatever it is, don’t obsess over the time you’ve missed. There is no need to feel guilty. When you’re ready, get started again. Exercise is a wonderful thing.
Feeling motivated to start a fitness routine? Here’s what happened when I worked out at 4:30 am every morning for a month.