Know When to Say When

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When it comes to exercise, more is not always more. I, like many of us, worry that skipping a day will slow my progress. I go hard most days,and I am well read enough to know that the real change occurs during recovery. I always take one full day off from the gym each week; sometimes two. During those days I walk as much as I can, and try to be active, without actually working out.
When I left my cycling class on Tuesday, I was drained. I followed it up with a Pilates mat class, which served to loosen up and stretch out some of the muscles that were screaming for relief. I vowed that Wednesday would be my active recovery day.
Fast forward to Tuesday evening, when a broken pipe in our building started flooding the studio.
Plumbers arrived late that night and after a lot of banging and some nasty sewage odors, deemed our water off limits.
Wednesday morning arrived and every muscle in my body was sore.  I was moving at a snail’s pace. Without the use of the kitchen or bathroom, I sauntered off to my oasis: the gym.
I figured that as long as I was there, I might as well do something. After an hour of weight training and some foam rolling, I hit the shower. I was dehydrated and hungry which didn’t exactly help my situation.
That evening, we had an event to go to. While we said we would have a quick glass of wine, shake some hands and leave, we ended up staying for few hours, standing in high heels on marble floors.
By the time we left, my legs and my back and shoulders were screaming. It was too late for dinner, and I ended the day with unhealthy snacks.
Like a zombie on auto pilot, I hit my cycling class this morning. Despite being tired,sore and not so well fueled, I took a few Advil and pushed through. Since returning,I have finally given in to the exhaustion.
The moral of this not so short story? LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! Pushing past it yesterday didn’t do my any favors. My performance at the gym today was subpar and my productivity this afternoon is well below that. Muscles and minds need a little reprieve to reboot and power back up. Overworking any of those can lead to burn out or injury.
Powering through a tough workout is often mind over matter. When the discomfort sets in, we need to convince ourselves to keep going unless we feel ill or injured. But by the same token, we need to know when to say “when.”
Tomorrow,without a doubt, is a recovery day.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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