Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Lowering the Bar

After two weeks on vacation, I’m finally getting back to routine. I won’t make you jealous by telling you where I went (Italy) and how Fabulous it was. (Very!) But I WILL tell you how hard it is to get back to the gym.

How hard is it, you ask?

Here’s an example. I went to yoga class and the preliminary stretching about killed me. Every muscle was screaming because I was so sore from my Jazzercise Strength class the night before. (Thanks, Fara.)

Then my yoga instructor said something that hit home. She told us to dig a little deeper – or don’t push as hard, depending on HOW YOU FEEL TODAY. She gave me permission to back off. Ease up. Lower the bar.

In today’s high powered, push through the pain, take no prisoners world of exercise, lowering the bar sounds like blasphemy. What we usually tell ourselves is:  

Just do it.
Be stronger than your excuses.
The only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen.

I know, I know. There are times when you have to push yourself and ignore that little voice that tells you to go home, flop on the couch and watch The Bachelor.

But I’m here to tell you that sometimes its okay to Lower the Bar. 

·      When you need to sleep. Lack of sleep is linked with all kinds of chronic diseases and health issues. When I don’t get enough sleep I get cranky, unfocused and depressed. One decent night of sleep makes me feel like Superwoman again. Never underestimate the power of sleep.
·      When you’ve over-trained. When your workout feels stale, you’re starting to drag through it or you’ve stopped making progress, it might be time to back off. It’s not true that more exercise is always better. Your body needs time to repair itself so it’s okay to take a rest day or follow an intense workout with something a little less rigorous. 

·      When you’re sick or injured. That seems obvious but I often see people who should be home in bed trying to push through it. Sometimes, you just have to give yourself time to heal.

·      When you’ve been in Italy eating, drinking and taking it easy. In my defense, I also did a ton of walking so I wasn’t a total sloth. But it’s going to take awhile to get back to get back to where I was before I left. It’s okay to lower the bar a notch and ease back into it.

 When do you think it's okay to take it easy?