rest days

A Week of Workouts

I’ve been steady and normal with my workouts…meaning, despite the stresses I’ve experienced this year and the wedding stuff piling up and piling up…one thing that stayed consistent was my fitness. I am grateful for that because I DEFINITELY used fitness as a stress reliever.

Here is an example of a typical week in my fitness world:

Saturday

Boot Camp!

I know, I previously said that I probably wouldn’t go to another boot camp class in the summer because it was way too hot and my heart rate got too high…but I went again anyways. It wasn’t as hot this time. I went to the Warrior Room with a bottle of water and bottle of ice cold Gatorade. I wore a hat this time (which was smart) and wore lots of sunscreen. We were instructed to get 2 kettlebells and walk to the school football field (about 4 blocks).

I got to the school and realized I didn’t have much water in my bottle so I ended up jogging back to the gym and then back again! I guess that was my warm-up. This class was brutal. We did partner workouts. My partner would jump rope and I would sprint to the 50 yard line, touch the line and sprint back to the 40 yard line, then back, then sprint back to the 30 yard line and so forth. BRU-TAL! I was dying. Then we switched and I jumped rope while she sprinted.

Then we did a bunch of kettle bell work (squats, dead lifts, high pull and double swing) then did the sprinting/jump rope intervals. Then back to kettle bells–chest press, shoulder press, pushups and bent over rows. Damn. No wonder I was so sore the next day!

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So that was my calorie burn. It was a surprisingly high for only an hour workout! 753 calories burned.

Sunday

I treated my body to some low-key fitness, as per usual on Sundays. I’m frequently sore and not really feeling like heavy lifting. Sometimes I run, sometimes we go for a hike. This particular Sunday I warmed up with about 22 minutes on the elliptical (2 miles) and then it was time for yoga. I really really really needed that yoga class!

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Calories Burned: 341. I was particularly sore from the Warrior Room.

Monday

Rest Day.

Thank goddess!

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Tuesday

Warrior Room!

I was recovered (about 90%) from Saturday’s boot camp and ready to do some weight lifting! I went to the Kettlebell Conditioning class. It was half isolation and half tabata workout. This class in particular was a killer! We did these “burnout” sets where we did intervals of really hard work. Here is an example: 80 High Knees, 4 burpees, 60 Mountain Climbers, 4 burpees TWICE in less than 3 minutes. Gawd! It was HARD. You’d be surprised at how shaky your legs are by the time you get to the burpee part of the set. Then we did kettlebell work. For example: lateral raises, front raises, bicep curls, and goblet squats.

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It was a rough workout and I was really glad when it was over with. Calories burned: 528.

Wednesday

I wasn’t really feeling the whole weight thing…but I did it. Since I’d done specific isolation workouts with the kettlebells the night before, I made sure I worked other parts of my body. I warmed up and then did one leg romanian dead lifts, regular dead lifts, push-ups and a bunch of ab work. After that I did 2 miles on the elliptical. I went easy on the resistance because the sprints I did at Boot Camp made my knees a little cranky and I wanted to take it easy.

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Definitely less calories burned on my own when compared to the Warrior Room, but it was a nice, stress-free workout and I finished up with lots of stretching and foam rolling. Calories burned: 451.

Thursday

Another rest day. I was a little sore from Tuesday and Wednesday–mainly in my hips. That was slightly odd but not abnormal. Every once in awhile my hips get a little sore but it’s usually a good sore, not like an injury. I took a few walks with Bella this day to loosen things up.

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Some weeks Rest Days are difficult. I’m antsy and want to do something. Some weeks I am grateful for those two rest days I have each week! As the years go by, I’ve noticed myself slowing down a little bit and feeling much happier about two rest days a week. My body needs the repair. I’m slowly realizing that I need to EAT more on rest days, actually REST, and let my body do what it needs to do. This hasn’t always been the case, but injuries and over-training at times have taught me to listen to my body and REST when it needs it.

Friday

Swim! I love my swim nights. Sure, sometimes I just don’t feel like it because it’s a process. Drive to the pool, change into the swimming gear, swim, shower, sometimes it feels like a whole thing. But most of the time I look forward to this because swimming is a form of relaxation and meditation for me. It gives me time to think and sometimes not think. I like going on Friday nights because the pool isn’t too crowded and it’s a good transition from the work week into the weekend.

It’s also nice relaxing in the hot tub and sauna afterwards. That always makes my sore muscles feel good! As for the calorie burn, I have no idea. Every once in awhile I used to wear my heart rate monitor in the pool to gauge how my calorie burn is. I normally do not wear it while I swim. The number doesn’t really change much–average burn is 275-350 calories. Kind of low, I know, but the swimming is more for relaxation and to give my joints and body a break from high impact activities.

Saturday

No Boot Camp this day. I was not going to chance it with my knees. Instead I took the Kettlebell Conditioning class. It was a lot of jumping in this class. For example, one routine was this: 5 tuck jumps, 10 frog jumps, 15 floor jumps (i.e crouching down to touch the floor then jumping up with hands high), 20 squat jumps– two times then 12 push-ups. This was another killer. My thighs were ON FIRE. Seriously, on fire. Half way through the first round my legs felt like jelly. Whoever got done first in the class, went into plank position and the clock was stopped. We were timed and if we didn’t beat that time, Ashley made us run. BRUTAL. We ran a few times. LOL

Then we did some kettlebell work–various types of bicep curls, goblet squats, sumo squats, traditional kettlebell swings and two bell kettlebell swings. It was a super hard workout but I was glad I did it.

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527 calories burned. I took my sweaty self home to get cleaned up.

The Coming Weeks

As for biking…I’m kind of disappointed that there wasn’t much of it this summer. I’d hazard a guess that I biked to work maybe a dozen times the entire summer. I wish it had been more but time didn’t allow it. I was busy training for my 5k and then just got busy with other fitness.

The wedding is approaching. My fitness routine will be pretty normal the week leading up to the wedding. Pretty sure I’m going to take that day off, though. 🙂 As for the honeymoon, I am not making any plans. I want to relax and just see what happens. We plan on doing a little hiking, I will definitely be swimming, and we hope to do some sea kayaking. But time will tell. I may end up doing nothing!

Learning How to Rest

“Smile, breathe and go slowly.” 

– Thich Nhat Hanh

Do you know how to rest?

Like really, do you? I think it’s a legitimate question we should ALL ask ourselves. Especially these days. I know I’m not alone in this. I feel like technology has gotten so advanced that we are alway plugged in. Constantly. When Michael and I watch TV we’re usually both on our phone playing games. Addicted much? Do you remember the days when someone had to call back if you weren’t home to answer the phone? Or they had to leave a message and wait for you to call back? Always plugged in means you never really disconnect from “life”…from the drudgery…from work…from friends…you never really get a break.

Are you like me? Is your schedule planned out in advance (sometimes my schedule is booked out a month in advance, I kid you not)? If something in my schedule falls through and I suddenly have free time, sometimes I fill that with a gym session. Sometimes I fill it with the gazillion errands and chores and various projects I’m always multitasking. It’s exhausting.

I was talking to my mom and she said she was the same way–never really resting, always working on something or filling her time with something. She said I was like her and she’s right. She also said I’m not the type to do anything partway, it’s always fully committed, almost to the point of obsessive hyper focus. Yep, that’s me! I have a friend that loves to take naps and languishes in them. I so don’t get that.  I cannot relate. Napping? Who has time? I’d never fall asleep. I’d be laying in bed with my mind racing making lists of all the things I NEED to do, that I SHOULD be doing, etc etc.

With my knee injury and doctor ordered rest, I contemplated what REST really means to me. It usually means filling my time with things…projects, chores, reading, scrapbooking, watching Netflix, catching up on TV shows with Michael, playing with Fat Kitty.

You know what I think about when I think about REALLY RESTING? I think of two things.

The first thing is sitting on a beach with the sun warming my bare legs, the saltwater lapping at my feet, a light breeze keeping me cool and of course a very strong umbrella drink in my hand.

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The second thing I think of is running away to a spa retreat somewhere in the middle of nowhere, like at Breitenbush. Nothing but the sounds of a fast moving river, the wind in the ancient trees and the sounds of forest creatures. Of course there are hot springs where you can relax and gaze up at the sky while you REST. Doesn’t that sound amazing?

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It seems as though “Resting” for me really means “Escaping.”

Learning how to nurture our bodies and listen to what they are telling us is hard. If you’re like me, you are skilled at ignoring the cues the body gives you. I usually go hard until my body finally tells me to stop–and that’s when I get my bi-annual head cold that has me planted on the couch with a box of kleenex for a week.

I read this article, 12 Practical Steps for Learning to Go With the Flow, and it really spoke to me. It started out describing how we’ve structured the perfect morning routine that goes really well, then something happens to throw a huge wrench in that routine and we get frustrated and angry and stressed that the routine has changed (totally me!)…The article suggests to Go With The Flow.

I liked the suggestions the article gave and plan on working on them. The article is worth a read. The ones that stuck out for me were these:

Realize that you can’t control everything.

Breathe.

Enjoy life as a flow of change, chaos and beauty.

Accept change and imperfection.

Can I commit to trying to do those 4 things? Yes. Will it help me? Probably. I printed those four reminders out and taped them to my desk as a reminder.

So in the spirit of resting, I took a few days off from the gym. Even though I was cleared to swim, do yoga and upper body weights, I decided to just take a break. I took 4 days off and then eased back into the routine with a yoga class. And it was fine! The world didn’t end. 🙂

QUESTION: Can you rest? How do you rest? How often?