Taking a Fitness Break
I’ve had to take a six week break from exercise on doctor’s orders. When I was first told this I went into major panic mode. All I could thing about is that 1) I am going to lose any definition I have, 2) my fitness levels are going to decrease majorly and 3) I’m going to get fat.
In reality, the outcome was pretty different. Don’t get me wrong, I am very much looking forward to starting to run again (9 days and counting) but that’s because I miss running, not because I feel like I have to. For those fitness enthusiasts (or fitness obsessives, depending on how you look at it), I thought I’d share some things I’ve learnt from having to take a fitness break, and why I think it’s important.
You Won’t Get Fat
Shock horror, but you don’t actually pile on the pounds when you stop exercising. Yes, there are times when I feel more bloated but I haven’t actually gained any weight from when I stopped exercising to now. You have to eat an excessive amount of calories and basically not move to gain weight, and I made sure this didn’t happen.
Diet Is So Important
Not being able to exercise has showed me how important diet is. They say that a healthy body is 90% diet, 10% exercise and I think this break has definitely showed this is true for me. I’ve eaten well, while still indulging in the odd treat here and there, and I haven’t gained weight. If you feel like you’re exercising a lot and maintaining or gaining weight, your diet is where you need to look.
Instead of the mammoth jogs or spin sessions followed by weights, I’ve stripped it right back and settled on LISS to get me through. I didn’t want to be stagnant and still for the duration of my fitness hiatus, and I wanted to keep my heart rate up at different intervals during the day. Dog walks, and walking in general, has replaced my fast-paced or HIIT exercise and I have made sure I’ve hit my 10,000 step goal each day.
It Can Get Painful
The first couple of days off exercise I really, really suffered with incredibly painful muscle cramp in my calves. It resulted in waking up and either having to rub my calves down, apply Deep Heat or walk around to loosen the muscle. I still don’t know what the cause of this was, whether it was from a lack of exercise or if it was caused by over-doing it whilst I could exercise. I personally think it was the latter, and it hit home a bit that I was potentially damaging my muscles from excessive use.
It’s Fine to Take Time Off
This has given me a totally different outlook on fitness. When I start exercising again I will not be doing it every day. I will give my body the time to recover and heal and hopefully it’ll result in a more healthy approach to food and exercise, and ultimately creating a more manageable fitness regime. I was busting my balls trying to exercise before the time off and I felt so guilty if I couldn’t work out and it affected my mood. This will not be happening when I start again and I want to make sure that I have a more equal approach between work(ing out) and play.
Thanks for reading,