Why would you put yourself through 2 hours of painful cycling in spandex, hunched over a road bike, trying to ignore the chafing while your legs burn and your lungs scream for air… when you could be leisurely cycling the Seawall on a cute Dutch bike with a pretty basket? Why wouldn’t you call it a day after a day of heavy squats and deadlifts but instead you get the dying urge to do a finisher with 100 burpees and suicide lines? Because you live and dream exercise and sweat… you are addicted. You are a fitness maniac just like I am.
I don’t know the reasons why you exercise but I’m addicted to the feeling, the progress and the results.
I love exercise but I am constantly struggling with balance and recovery. It’s hard to have rest days when you just want to do some shameless gym-ratting or go for a nice long bike ride …but I am not of those those “no days off” fitness addicts idiots. I realize the importance recovery plays in your fitness regime and growth and try really hard to not overwork my body. But it’s really hard.
I struggle the most during spring and summer— especially now that the sun is out and Grouse Grind is opened. There is just so much to do! Cycling, Grouse Grinding, the occasional running so I can be ready for Tough Mudder, weightlifting… there is no time for rest!! Or so it seems.
I want to put in more miles on my bike but I also want to hit the gym to do my intensive full-body conditioning circuits and also increase my weights during leg day (I don’t split train but I do dedicate at least one day a week for squats and one for deadlifting). I struggle to find the balance to do it all without being sore or in pain every single day. I plan all my workouts before the week starts but I sometimes find myself straying because a supposedly leisurely bike ride turns into an intense one and then my legs turn into jelly when I try to squat or deadlift.
And that is one reason why I’m not the girl who lifts the heaviest weights or is the fastest on a bike… I like to dabble in everything because it makes me happy. I don’t care if I’m not the best but I already know I’m trying my hardest and I’m fit, healthy and happy.
Need to force yourself to recover? Here are some tips and ideas:
- Logging and planning your workouts will help if you promise yourself not to stray from the plan. WILLPOWER!!
- If you are feeling restless on “rest days” go for a light spin or a brisk walk .. and turn on some good music! Or bring a lazy dog who refuses to run but sniff at everything in sight.
- If you get the urge to sprint, ask yourself, is it worth it? Then picture yourself embarrassingly stuck under a barbell after you’ve dropped it because your body was too tired to lift.
- Make sure you are eating! Carbs for extra energy while training and protein for your muscles.
- If you see me at work on days where I actually make an effort to look good (which is rarely)— meaning I have make up on and I’m not grubbed out, that means it’s my rest day! The reason I don’t bother with make up and hair is because I usually head to the gym in the middle of the day and know it’s all going to come off anyway. And I’m way too lazy to put it back on again. My mentality is doing 100 burpees is easier than working up the effort to waste time and do my make up!!
When this addiction started, I was at the gym way too much but these days, I’ve toned it back… although I was struggling to find the balance between lifting and cycling earlier this year. Now, I’m starting to realize that my goal was to be fit, healthy, be able to eat whatever I want and and to look good (this is where my vain self kicks in) and what I’m doing is already good enough for me. I don’t need to hit any PR’s at the rack or a Strava segment because to me, those numbers are temporary gratification and doesn’t benefit my long-term happiness. Some trainers argue that you should always exercise with a goal or a plan in mind but why can’t you exercise simply for enjoyment? I think this issue will always be a struggle but I’m working it out.