What for most people is a simple choice feels to me like a major life-altering decision. It has been months since I took more than a single day off from my gym pursuits, but I am coming to realize it is not necessarily beneficial to me to go long stretches without a regular break. Like vacation days off from work, I think I also need to take a break in my exercise routines. My mind has been mulling on the idea of taking a break, not taking a break for the better part of a month. One day I am very gung-ho to take a break, the next day I am paralyzed and just sure I will never again set foot in the gym if I allow myself to pursue other interests.
As previously discussed, trainer J is away on vacation, so there was no training session to recap on Thursday and no session scheduled on Monday, so I am officially off the training leash for about 10 days. When I have that anchoring me, it is good to get into the gym and work at what I am learning, lest I forget and become some hapless trainee once more. Work has been busier and crazier than usual with the 3-day weekend looming large, and I have been tired, distracted, and almost completely disconnected from my practices this week, something unlike me and concerning. Mind has inclinations of its own and requires only a little nudge toward the idea of not that into activities anymore. I cannot allow that to happen with exercise, and before I reach the point of burning out, I am wise to heed the signs and take a break. It is warranted, likely very wise, but my fear of losing ground is almost greater than my common sense in this regard. It would be so easy for me to take one or two days off, then next I know a couple of years have passed and my hard-won gains are gone. Or so says my anxious, fearful, distrusting, and judgmental part of my mind. It knows me well; it knows how I can become a major excuse factory. There is good basis in experience and history for this anxiety.
But this time, this time it will not happen. A lot of things are different now. I have worked hard at building my consistency, and along with that, I have built a community of friends and other friendly faces that make me want to return to my routines. Trainer J – we will be back on track this time next week. My friends at the gym I see most days – I would miss that interaction if I stopped going. The other members I see nearly every time I set foot in the club – while I do not know them beyond saying hello or waving across the gym floor, it makes me feel like I am part of the community. I’m no longer an outsider peering in; I am now part of the daily fabric.
So last night getting home from work and feeling asleep on my feet, I resolved to take today and the weekend off from the gym. I have other movement-related plans for the days ahead, but I will set aside my Lists and ruthlessly restrain myself from driving to the gym for my exercise.
I purchased a 20 class pass for a nearby yoga studio, so I will be trying out a couple of different types of yoga classes. A daily long walk through my neighborhood is on the agenda as well, part of a potential new trend to train my legs in a different way. Maybe I will unchain my bike and ride with M on one of his daily runs.
The point here: I’m not using the break with intent of dissolving into a pile of sludge on my couch. I am going to use this time to try something new and different. The yoga is feeling more and more necessary, either that or doing more stretching on my own. The new studio is further away than the one I have used in the past, but it seems far more stable and consistent in its offering of classes throughout the day, every single day of the week. Its rates and options for class purchases is also a lot more favorable to me. The walking is just something I should do anyway, because it is good for me and someday I may agree to go hiking with M or other friends. While I am definitely stronger now, not sure my lung capacity it up to snuff. Longer daily walks can only help with that. With all that said, the way yoga and the walking are meant to supplement to my resistance training exercise regimen, not replace it. Yoga and walks would get thrown under the bus (and likely in that order) immediately if I had to triage and make choices about my better health quest activities.
Assuming I can overcome my typical anxiety about trying something new and going to a new studio, of course. I will be fine once I get through the front doors, settled with my mat, and class begins, but it’s new and my brand of social anxiety crazy is making a fresh appearance.
Strange how this morning I woke up at 6 and immediately freaked out about sleeping through my gym time, until I remembered making the decision to turn off my usual alarms and not go to the gym this morning. Instead I packed up my clothes and yoga mat and double-checked the yoga class time for after work this evening.
I got this. Besides, I have been so exhausted this week I apparently needed the additional rest.
Just in case I don’t make it back, happy weekending everyone!