Everyone, exercise is so important, not just in the planned, executed workout you should do about five days a week, but also in little moments of every day such as walking, getting up, and moving around. Resting your body when you are feeling pain is equally important.
This summer, I’ve ramped up the length of my workout routines because I have the time and it helps me to remain motivated and energized, as well as to vent my stress. I’ve been feeling pretty great too until the week before last when I was just sore. Not in the good way sore, but in the I-can’t-move-sore and so I realized I needed a bit of a break from the planned, executed workouts I adore.
How convenient when vacation came around! New Hampshire is great because there are moments of sitting around, chatting, eating, drinking, and laughing- oh, the laughing!- but there’s also a lot of movement and exploring.
I realized two significant facts about myself during this vacation too that I will have to remember as I get myself back into my routine.
1. When motivated, I can hold a plank for two minutes +. Motivation comes in the
form of the majority of my family lying on the floor, staring desperately at one
another for the two minutes to pass. And then me holding it longer just to prove
that I can until my sister turned the timer off and I decided it was pointless.
I’ve been thinking highly of myself for holding my plank between a minute to seventy-five seconds, but now I know I very much like to compete and that I can hold it much longer.
2. I love to hike.
We did a bit of hiking and exploring but I think I’ve been bitten by some kind of bug (figuratively and literally you little mosquito bastards!) because now all I want to do is go hiking and be in the wilderness climbing mountains, standing on top of humungous rocks like I own the world, and wading into cold, beautiful water oases.
Perhaps the only factors preventing me from moving into the wilderness and becoming the Princess of the Jungle are lack of toilets, food availability, and bugs. Listen, all those big animals, I think I can handle because we’d be pals. Bandit’s kind of a threat to our lives anyways and I still love him. Maybe I should stick to hiking and then being a woman of materialism before and after. It’s far more comfortable that way.
And I suppose that if there is ever a time when I find myself in a cave or other small spots, I know with the right movement of body parts, I can fit through tight spaces. Hello, lemon squeezer!
During the week we also spent a couple of days at amusement parks, which has to count as exercise in some way because there is a lot of time spent navigating the park and standing in line for rides. And if you are anything like my cousins, then you must get a good arm workout in spinning the teacups around as fast as you can. I still don’t think I can see straight since.
The counterintuitive factor at an amusement park will often be the food options. At the first park, I saw the hugeness of a tortilla wrap and instead went for the garden salad with roast chicken on top which was pretty good and enjoyed a couple of French fries as my starch. With a couple of handfuls of popcorn (my favorite snack!) and a soft serve to end the day, I think I owned that first day. At the second park, the salad option was not appealing and so I had a piece of pizza with a fruit cup and popcorn. At the end of the day, I tried a fried Oreo, which I surprisingly did not enjoy! I love regular Oreos, but most fried foods do nothing for me but make me feel disgusting and sick inside.
I also believe that in some sense horseback riding has to burn calories in some ways because even though you are sitting and not doing anything of the movement part, you have to pay close attention to your body so as not to fall off into the muddy and feces-covered ground. You also have to hold yourself up and keep your back straight and whatnot, so in some sense it’s a workout.
These days, I’m not so concerned during periods where I don’t workout in an official way because that does not happen often and also I’ve set myself up in a way where I know I can jump right back into my routine.
For example, after a long, tight car ride back home, instead of flouncing down on the couch for the night, I took a break from my comfortable position, and ran the length of a 5k. In the scheme of things, that doesn’t sound like much, but taking that initial step after a break is crucial to maintaining a routine.
Sunday, I spent some much needed time sleeping in my bed for the first time in a week and then some quality time with my mom and sister at Paint Nite and so the workout thing somehow didn’t happen again. However, I accidentally was at the gym for two hours on Monday, one hour of strength, another hour of cardio, which I think makes up for it.
The strength was my regular barbell routine with weight added to a couple of moves. The cardio was a combination of Tabata bicycle intervals, treadmill sprints, box jumps, and jump rope. I left very sweaty and feeling good and then walked the dog with my mom.
Tuesday, I spent a good chunk of the day trying to make a schedule that fit all the workouts I wanted to do for the week, and then effectively broke an hour later. Instead of swimming, I walked with my friend Molly, chatting the hours away until we realized we hit about 8 miles, stopped at Dunkins for an iced coffee for her and an iced green tea for me, then walked the two miles home. To meet her at her house, I ran the length of a mile, and then after going our separate way, I ran another two miles because if we are being honest, I wouldn’t have gotten back out there once I got home.
Surprisingly, I wasn’t in that much pain except for the gigantic blister I didn’t even feel until I got home and realized I couldn’t walk. When running, my focus was on my leg chafing, which is annoying. 10 miles is a lot to walk, but it’s also very fun and productive when you’re with someone.
Today I was back in the gym completing a new strength workout I developed yesterday. To change it up a bit, I broke my workout up into different circuits in which I perform six moves in a row for three sets and ten repetitions. I did one circuit using dumbbells, two sets with kettlebells, and a cardio circuit that include step ups, jumping jacks, rope swings, high knees, and jump rope. This sounds like a lot, but it moves quickly because you go from one move to another in succession and break only between sets for thirty seconds and circuits for sixty seconds.
My body must be more tired from yesterday’s walk than it originally let on because I struggled today. I didn’t feel any pain, just fatigue, so I kept going. I accidentally on purpose listened in to these two youngish women discussing weight training and how it is only effective if your body shakes, you feel the burn, and can’t lift anymore. I suppose I would have to do a lot more research on this, and I get pushing your body, but that out look seems extreme to me.
I love challenging my body and seeing what I can do, but exercise, like eating, is meant to energize and strengthen, not diminish or exhaust. Yes, it feels good to end a workout slick with sweat, your body feeling the effort, but you should also feel positive energy! I was a little alarmed.
Note: It is very easy to move through these circuit workouts when there are not a ton of people with you at the gym. It is also difficult to perform these circuits when there is a crowd of people surrounding you because they want and need space to and you cannot go wherever whenever you want.
I’m not the best at sharing or communicating at the gym, but I’ve noticed this and I’m trying to at least appear kinder.
It’s funny because I wrote the majority of this post last night and then today someone stole the box I was using to jump on. He clearly saw me using it and waited for me to turn away for one minute, with my stuff still parked there, and grabbed it before I could see and stop him.
To sum up this edition of Workout Wednesday, I’d like to bring it back to the top. I was feeling some pain, I allowed my body to rest, and then I got myself back into it and felt great. When you allow yourself to rest and you listen to your body, you realize the difference in how your body reacts to exercise.
This is important.
There’s a reason why I could move through two hours of exercising and not feeling like I will die after resting. There’s a reason why I can’t always lift at my highest weight when I’ve had a succession of long, grueling workouts the days before and no rest.
Exercise your body. Rest your body. Find a happy medium.
This means listening to your body. It’s the only one you got. This rule applies for both exercising and eating and anything else you do with it. I’m getting better at this, but it’s harder than it should be!
I suppose I need to be as kind to my body in the gym as kind I am to other people at the gym. Okay. Maybe I need to be a tad bit kinder to all around.