Between getting ready for a long trip to New York and LA, finishing up some major projects at work, and decompressing from my 30th birthday party, I ended up going 6 straight days without a workout.
And it invites a nasty spiral that is neither productive, nor healthy. Stop working out, start freaking out about food intake. Cut back food intake. Metabolism takes a nose-dive. Body rebels. Sluggishness ensues. Sluggishness leads to anxiety about sluggishness. Anxiety, coupled with slowed metabolism causes huge distress.
Things get tense. Even when they’re not.
Why did I stop moving? There are no good reasons – but this is what was going through my head.
- I’m busy. If I get sweaty I’ll have to take a shower, do my hair, and generally prepare myself for the world again. I don’t have time for that.
- I can float it. I’m fit enough that I can fake my way through a few consecutive days without a workout (even though this is technically true, muscular decline sets in around day three without exercise so there are definitely consequences, however small)
- All this stress is definitely going to make me sick. I better sleep more as a pre-emptive strike against illness.
This all seems somewhat rational, and manages to be fairly convincing in the moment. The reality is that, especially for me, exercise provides a natural anxiety-reducing effect that I need. All excuses and fancy spin aside, it’s never a good idea for me to stop moving. Especially because when I finally get back to it, it hurts.
So this morning, after sleeping for the second night in a row on a hardwood floor (long story), I dragged my ass up and forced myself over to the Red Hook Park in Brooklyn to have a go at a quality workout. I ran 10 x 100m sprints with about a minute rest in between. Then I did a circuit series of pushups, prisoner squats, lunges, wall-sits, and planks.
My ass is thoroughly kicked. The suffering was remarkable, awful, and incredible.
Days like today remind me how important it is to be consistent. To fight off those devious voices in my head that can rationalize almost anything, including a disastrous interruption to my normal workout schedule.
Whatever you do, don’t stop moving. Your head, your heart, and your entire body will thank you.