To Train or Not To Train. A Question about Healthy Choices.
Today I found myself, like many mornings, wondering if I should go to the gym or not.
Often in life I find myself in a dilemma, should I do this? Or should I do that? I find often that there is not right answer, only choices.
Since I moved to Boulder Colorado, I have been exercising daily, lifting weights, bodybuilding, taking yoga classes, practicing qigong and even doing gymnastics. Every day I have done at least two hours of exercise, and some days I have trained as much as six hours. This has been going on for the past two weeks.
I have been recording my experience after each activity in these blogs. Writing about them so I can come to a better understanding of what I am doing and to share my insight with others who may find it useful. It has been a wonderful journey into the world of health, fitness and wellness.
Yesterday was a challenging day. I woke up at 7 am, but decided not to go to the gym or do a yoga class in the morning. I was tired, my legs felt weak, my knee and hamstring were hurting from an injury I have and I felt that after two weeks of pumping iron and attending regular yoga classes it would be a healthy choice to take it easy.
Unfortunately that didn’t seem to work so well, the morning went on somewhat sluggish and felt like I wasn’t at my best. Around noon I decided to push myself to the gym and do my legs workout. I felt very tired and weak but I still pounded it through. Four hours later, I went to Jon Kolaska’s home studio and did a 90 minute gymnastics class with Chris that left me absolutely exhausted. I went to bed around 10 and fell asleep right away. Had I been better of pushing myself to the gym in the morning? No one can tell.
This morning I woke up at 6 am, again, debating if I should go straight to the gym or not. This time my doubts where associated with the health of my immune system. I know that when I force my body through weeks of intense workouts my immune system becomes compromised. Much of my energy is being spent on exercising and recovering and this does not leave that much power to protect myself again pathogens and other potential illnesses.
For the past week I felt that I have been riding the edge, making sure I don’t get sick while I keep pushing through these workouts. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why winter season is not the most popular for training, we have shorter days, colder weather and lots of people around us getting sick. It is a risky approach.
I decided to stay home and skip the morning workout. I am still planning to go to Yoga Loft around noon and take back to back classes a couple new teachers that I haven’t experienced yet. This certainly should make up the missed workout in the morning and, who knows, maybe I go lift weights at 24 hour fitness right afterwards.
Healthy Questions, Healthy Choices
These have obviously been questions about healthy choices. Is it healthier to push through? To train as hard as I can, keep up with my training schedule and make sure to hit the weights every morning? Or is it healthier to listen to my body, not push too hard, avoid taking the risk of getting sick and play it safe?
They say that slow and steady wins the race. I think that is a lie. I think that fast and steady wins the race. It is a matter of finding a sustainable pace. Everyone is different and perhaps some athletes can train night and day, 24/7, through illnesses and broken bones but this doesn’t sound like me. I like to challenge myself, I like to keep my commitments, I like to see fast results, but I don’t like getting sick and don’t like to suffer the consequences of over-training. I also like to do other things like work, read and spend time with friends and family.
A Healthy Conclusion
At the end of the day, I am not failing anyone. Not even myself. As a matter of fact, I am honoring myself and listening to my body. I never committed to lifting weights every single day. I committed to training as hard as I can for as long as I can, and this includes taking breaks and days off. I still haven’t taken a day of since I started and I don’t consider this being a break either, just a simple and healthy choice of sleeping a little more, relaxing at home in the morning and making sure I attend my back to back yoga classes to have another successful day. If I were to skip these yoga classes perhaps I would feel that I failed, but if I have a good reason to skip them, is that a failure or a healthy choice? No one can tell.
Like always it is a matter of perception. Some people may say I need to train harder and stop making excuses. Other people may say I need to rest more and stop pushing myself so hard. I like to take the middle path, my path, where I am in control of my choices moment to moment and able to decide for myself what is best for me. Good choice? Bad choice? Only time will tell, and perhaps, not even that.