Up to the Challenge

Saturday, September 11, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

September 11th changed the world. Whether or not we knew anyone involved, it still had a direct effect on our lives. It's one of those events that forces you to reassess your life, your values, your goals and aspirations. At that time something as trivial as working out probably didn't seem to matter much. But the reality of this situation is that life goes on, and we need to get back to living it.

While rarely as tragic as the September 11th events, inevitably there comes a time when we need to take a break from training. Sometimes the layoff is voluntary -- our instincts tell us we've been pushing too hard. At other times schedule, illness, or circumstance forces us to stop.

The biggest drawback of this isn't so much the loss of exercise as it is the disruption of habit. Once you stop working out, it doesn't take long to get used to doing nothing! If too much time lapses between workouts, the habit then becomes one of finding reasons not to work out.

So the trick is to find a way to avoid breaking your good habits. Just doing something, anything, will help you manage your frame of mind and not hurt the progress you've made. Do something that you enjoy. Take a long hike, a jog along the beach, a bike ride, or something to get you excited and motivated to stay with your program or get back to where you were.

Let yourself start back in slowly. If you go too quickly, you can really abuse yourself and end up getting very sore. You probably haven't lost all of the strength that you had gained. Therefore, your body has the ability to push as hard as it did before, but it doesn't have the base from which to recover. You can overuse your "emergency muscle fibers," which are your fast-twitch muscle fibers. If you thrash these, you could become so sore that it could take up to 2 weeks to recover. So give yourself a week of easing back into things. Start very easy and increase the intensity of each session until you are back to where you were. If your layoff has been less than a month, you will probably get back to your former level within a couple of weeks.

Here are some words of wisdom from fitness guru Karen Voight:

"Exercise and activity are two of the best things that we can do for ourselves during times of stress. Unfortunately, they are often the first things that we set aside.

"I suggest you write down what your new fitness goals are. To ensure that you'll succeed, make sure that your goals are realistic. And then with the same drive and determination that helped you to maintain your former exercise schedule, work toward your new goals.

"Be patient with yourself. It will take some time to get back to your former level of activity, but it will be worth it when you do."