Restless rest day

Resting is hard work. Mentally, it can be challenging to shut down the momentum of several days of great workouts just to let your body rest. I have a real struggle with this at times.

Two thoughts I’d like to explore on this topic:

  • Scheduled Rest Days
  • Intuitive Rest Days

Intuitive rest days are easy for me. Those are the days when I absolutely feel like I need to rest even though there is a workout on my “schedule”. The days when I am not feeling well, or have an injury, or for some reason just do not feel like I am going to be able to do the workout I had planned. I’ve become very flexible and forgiving with myself when I feel like I need rest. Listening to my body has become a bit easier for me than it used to be.

Scheduled rest days are where I have the most trouble. Monday is my scheduled rest day. This is largely because I don’t work weekends, so it gives me lots of time to get really good workouts in. By the time Monday comes around, I have often worked out 3 or 4 days in a row, and my body truly needs rest time to recover.

The problem is that I seem to build momentum, the more days I workout in a row, the harder it is to put on the brakes because I get “on a roll” and don’t want to stop.

Last Monday was a perfect example of a restless rest day. I had all kinds of energy Monday night and got it in my head that I’d like to go for a swim. I knew darn well that if I got in the pool I was going to swim laps and not just lazily float around and relax. My husband tried to remind me that it was my rest day and it would probably be a better idea for me to, well, you know….REST!

In my stubborn little brain I managed to rationalize it like this: if I am in the mood to do an activity that sounds like fun and I just want to do it, and it is not a specific training that is on my schedule, then I should go ahead and do it right?

Resting is just taking a break from my scheduled training right? Wrong. Rest is giving your body time to recover and rebuild from all the exertion you have put it through in your days of training. You cannot keep tearing down your muscles and expect them to keep performing if you don’t give them time to rebuild.

Resting should look something like this! :)

Resting should look something like this! 🙂

The night my husband saved my life
(Or at least that’s the title he would give it!)

So on my “rest day”, I decided to head up to the pool around 8:00 p.m. Against my husbands good advice.

I had been swimming laps for about 10 minutes when I started hearing loud rumbling coming from the sky. I looked up to see the sky filling up with thick grey clouds punctuated with quick flashes of lightning. There was, however, a nice little patch of clear blue sky directly overhead – which my stubborn brain used to rationalize that there was no reason to get out of the pool.

A few minutes of swimming under the sounds of rumbling in the sky and a concerned neighbor came up to the fence. She asked how the water was. And as we made small talk she kept glancing at the sky, then back at me. Finally she asked if I’d noticed the lightning. I assured her if I saw much more of that, then I would get out of the pool.

Shortly after this I looked up and saw my husband Jim standing at the gate of the pool looking at me with concern on his face. He thought the threatening weather might be a good reason for me to get out of the pool. “Just 4 more laps and I’ll be done”, I told him. I felt like a child begging for more play time from a concerned parent.

As I came back to that side of the pool from the next lap, I looked up and found Jim still standing there. With so much concern on his face, I don’t think I’d ever seen him look at me like that before. So I got out of the pool.

lightening
Walking back to our condo, we joked a little about how would he explain to people if I had been hit by lightening in the pool just minutes after he asked me to get out. I teased that now I would only get to log that I did 28 laps instead of a nice even 30. His reply was “Go ahead and log your 28 laps, but make sure to tell the whole story of how your husband saved your life tonight!”. So here is my tribute to my loving husband, who saved my life on my restless rest day.

Now, clearly you could construe this post as being about the perils of swimming during a lightning storm. But no, that is actually not my point here.

My point is that I really needed to rest my body on that day (even though I didn’t feel like I needed rest) and instead I allowed myself to be foolish just to, what? I don’t know, prove that I could keep going day after day after day? I don’t know what I thought I was doing. But I do know that I woke up the next morning with an overuse injury in my groin muscle and my right calf. And I couldn’t do my scheduled run that night and was forced to take a rest day. And another the day after that.

In the end, my restless rest day cost several days of training from my week and a fair amount of needless pain from overexertion injury that could have been avoided by giving the Rest Day the respect it deserves.

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Right tools for the job

My dad taught me the importance of having the right tools for the job. This holds true for fitness as much as it does for any thing else.

Now that I’m doing more running outdoors, I decided it was time to invest in a summer running outfit. I had a total of two outfits for running. One long sleeve, hooded Tek shirt with mid-calf capris that I bought to do my first 5K. That race was in March and I was expecting it to be quite cold. The other I picked up on sale at the Running Fit store and it is a fitted tank with knee-length capris.

This summer I decided it was time to invest in a lightweight running tank made of wicking fabric, and I wanted some running shorts (now that I actually have some shape to my legs that I don’t mind showing off a bit!). I had a lucky break in that I finally got a 30% off coupon for Kohl’s, and they had their Tek Gear marked down 40% off.

My new summer Tek Gear, along with some fun running gadgets!

My new summer Tek Gear, along with some fun running gadgets!


Here is what I got, and I really enjoy having this now that I’m running outside in hot, humid weather.

I’ve also recently acquired a Garmin Forerunner 10 so I can track my miles, pace, time, and calories burned – and when I come back in I can upload it and see my run on a map with elevation and all kinds of cool charting and tracking info. Finishing touches for the perfect outside run include an armband to hold my iPod and a little pocket attached to my shoelaces to hold my house key and anything else I may feel the need to take with me on a run.

These little additions to my fitness wardrobe have made my outdoor running experiences MUCH more enjoyable!

Do not underestimate the value of having the right tools for the job.

Finally a swimsuit that keeps everything in place, without making a full transition to the 'granny suit'

Finally a swimsuit that keeps everything in place, without making a full transition to the ‘granny suit’


In keeping with this concept, I also purchased a new swimsuit.

I have rediscovered my love of swimming and am making more and more use of the pool at our condo. The problem with this was I had a drawer full of old swimsuits and they pretty much all fell into two categories.

  • 1. The skimpy bikini’s from when I was twenty which I now have enough sense and modesty to know there is no good reason for me go out in public in these suits! Not to mention, they pose a constant risk of ‘wardrobe malfunction’ while swimming laps in the pool, lol!
  • 2. The “fat-suit” variety which are the couple of suits I bought to try to wear when I was much heavier and they were designed to cover as much as possible and are all too big for me now anyway.
  • The idea of going shopping for a new bathing suit was not one I looked forward to. I ended up being very pleased to find EXACTLY what I needed, at Kohl’s, where I was also able to use my 30% off coupon and it was on sale! This suit is by a brand called Zero Xposure and it is very sporty/athletic – just what I needed! The top is guaranteed to keep everything in place, and the bottoms have a regular bikini bottom but then have shorts over it that are like little Nike type shorts. I realize this picture did not come out as the most flattering one ever taken, but this suit actually looks really cute on me and covers everything it should, and stays in place really well while I do laps. I love it!

    Having these new additions to my fitness “toolbox” really motivates me to get out there and stay active! As you’ll read more about in a post coming soon called Restless Rest Day.

    Lastly, I wanted to include a little cuteness factor in this post to ease the pain of having subjected you to seeing me in my bathing suit! 🙂

    This is my cat, Patches, scoping out my treadmill the other day while I was in my workout studio doing my strength training.

    It is very rare that I let her come in that room while I am working out, normally she sits by the other side of the door crying and poking her paws under the door trying to find me. This time I let her hang with me while I worked out, and she seemed to be trying to tell me that I needed a few miles on the treadmill…

    This got considerably more cute after Jim came in the room, and turned ON the treadmill, lol!

    This got considerably more cute after Jim came in the room, and turned ON the treadmill, lol!

    And this I just had to snap a picture of because it was so funny. My husband, Jim, is doing a 30 day Ab Challenge this month and has recently started using the mat that came with my AeroPilates machine to do his workout on.

    Within seconds of him laying out this mat, our cats come running and are drawn to it like a magnet. I mean seriously, the cats can be anywhere in the house but somehow they sense that he put this mat down and they just have to come and get on it!

    It certainly wouldn't hurt these two to join the 30 day Ab Challenge!  They are clearly not underfed, lol!

    It certainly wouldn’t hurt these two to join the 30 day Ab Challenge! They are clearly not underfed, lol!

    The Perfect Fit!

    Saturday I took my best friend Terri out for brunch at The Breakfast Club in Farmington for a little treat before we went for the final fittings on our dresses for her wedding.

    It is so nice to spend time with Terri, the two of us just really click together like sisters and it is a great time every time I see her! The Breakfast Club has such good food, it is a favorite spot of mine and Jim’s. I was very excited to take Terri there and introduce her to this place. She loved it also and suggested that sometime Jim and I should meet her and Scott there for breakfast, which of course is a great idea! I will never pass up any opportunity to enjoy the sumptuous food at this place!

    Good food and great company!

    Good food and great company!

    I had made a little book for Terri called “Before the I Do” which was a keepsake of pictures from her bridal shower and her bachelorette party. She really liked it and it made me so happy to do something nice for her and to see that it meant a lot to her.

    Once we finished up with brunch, we headed over to David’s Bridal to have our final fitting of our dresses for her wedding. This was one of the challenges I had been worried about. Part of my weight loss plan was that once I took that dress in for the first fitting I would need to switch gears from weight loss, into maintenance mode; so it would still fit me for the wedding. So far it’s been about a month since I had taken it in for alterations and when I went back Saturday it fit me like a glove! 🙂 So now I just have to maintain that for 3 more weeks until the wedding and everything will be perfect.

    After that, I will need to a new plan. I haven’t decided yet if I want to stay in maintenance or perhaps lose a few pounds. I am only about 2 and half pounds away from the second goal weight I had set for myself. First goal was 130 lbs. in time for our cruise in March. I met that goal the week before we left for the cruise. Second goal became to lose another ten and get down to 120. I didn’t really put a time frame on that one but was hoping maybe I could do it in time for the wedding. I still might be able to pull that off, being so close now, but I’m trying to hold really steady weight so the fit of that dress doesn’t change.

    Ok so here we go with some pictures! If you recall, in one of my earlier posts I used a picture of the day I initially tried on this dress last November as my official “Before” photo. So now it is time to unveil the “After” photos! 🙂

    The "After" pic June 2013, down 23 lbs from the initial purchase of this dress in November.

    The “After” pic June 2013, down 23 lbs from the initial purchase of this dress in November.


    Showing off my "Hot runner's legs" as my bestie calls them!

    Showing off my “Hot runner’s legs” as my bestie calls them!

    And here is the side by side Before & After:

    Before& After Nov. 2012 at 145 lbs., vs. June 2013 at 122 lbs.

    Before& After
    Nov. 2012 at 145 lbs., vs. June 2013 at 122 lbs.

    Doesn't Terri just look SO cute?!

    Doesn’t Terri just look SO cute?!

    It is really amazing what 8 months of hard work and dedication can do! The funny thing is while I can see a big difference in my face, shoulders and arms, and a bit of slimming down and a lot of toning up in my legs…in these pictures you really can’t even see the difference in my midsection. In actuality my waist is considerably smaller now than it used to be. You can tell in this pic of Terri and I that I finally have a waistline! Yay me!! 🙂

    Hard Work + Dedication

    More and more, people ask me questions like:

  • What have you been doing to lose all that weight?
  • What diet are you on?
  • How Do You Do It??
  • My answer is simple.

    Hard Work and Dedication

    Hard Work and Dedication go like this:

      It takes a lot of WORK to lose weight, and to keep it off.
      Most of the time, that work is HARD.
      Often it is hard to convince myself to do the work
      Because I usually don’t “feel like” doing it!
      Doing it anyway, is where the DEDICATION comes in.

    should i work out

    Beyond that, if you want to know more specifics I’ll tell you what I do.

    I count my calories and I exercise. It is really just that simple.

    It is a simple formula for success which is foolproof if followed precisely. But it requires a change of lifestyle, a different mindset, and commitment to a different approach to living.

    I am not on a diet. There is no program or weight loss group that I’ve joined.
    Math is the biggest tool that I use. Burn more calories than you take in on a regular basis and you lose weight. Balance the amount of calories you burn with the amount you take in, and you maintain the weight. I think the biggest challenge most people have to making this concept work is that they aren’t really keeping close track of calorie intake and calories burned. If you don’t know the numbers you have no way to know if you’re on track or not. Just because you feel like you cut back on what you ate, and you think you got some exercise does not guarantee the math will come out in your favor.

    A good calorie counting tool is invaluable, I personally like to use www.caloriecount.about.com to log my calories and that is also where I log my activities so I can monitor my daily net calories.

    Learning to live on a “Calorie Budget” is the first key to success.

    Compare this to your personal financial budget. You bring home a certain amount of money, so you can only spend a certain amount or you go into debt. If you keep spending more than you have earned you go further and further in debt and it becomes harder and harder to get out of debt.

    Same thing with calories. Each day you start out with a certain number of calories to use for the day, your “daily budget”. With each meal you make choices on how many calories to spend out of your budget, and what to spend them on. Once you’ve used up your budget, if you continue eating more calories you go into debt, so to speak, but that debt takes the form of fat on your body. And the more of it you accumulate, the harder it is to get rid of.

    If you spend your calorie budget wisely, and “save” some of it each day – that savings is your calorie deficit and that is what creates your weight loss.

    Taking this a step further is giving thought to how you want to spend your calories.
    Compare this to making your money work harder for you:

  • Like clipping coupons to trim your expenses, try clipping your portion sizes to trim calories
  • Similar to spending the time to figure out where to put your money to make it grow and work hard for you, spend time considering what things you’ll spend your calories on that will give you the biggest payoff. This is where nutrition comes into play.
  • Getting the most bang for your buck – make every calorie count by investing it in foods that really fuel and nourish your body and not just satisfy a craving or a whim.
  • If you can accomplish these things even 60-80% of the time you are well on your way to success.
    images

    Getting your body moving and burning calories is the second key to success.

    Technically you can lose weight by cutting calories alone. It will take a lot longer to do, but it can be done. You can greatly accelerate this process by adding physical activity to your lifestyle.

    You do not need a gym membership or a lot of fancy equipment or even a ton of extra time. But you do need to be willing to make an effort, exercise is hard work and it does take effort on your part.

    For every calorie you can burn by exercising, you get to deduct this from your incoming calories and this makes it much easier to create that daily calorie deficit needed to lose weight. Once you’ve lost the weight you want to, continuing the exercise allows you to eat a well-balanced diet and still maintain the weight loss you’ve achieved.

    Don’t let the word exercise scare you. This can take whatever form you most enjoy. You may end up trying several things before you even figure out what sort of activity you can do on a regular basis that you don’t end up dreading. This is important because you have to at least somewhat like or be able to tolerate the exercise or it becomes very difficult to stay dedicated to doing it.

    Burning calories can come from walking, on a treadmill or outdoors, at the mall if the weather isn’t cooperating. You can do calisthenics in your living room, use an exercise DVD, go to a gym, participate in a sport you enjoy, ride a bike, go for a swim, the possibilities are truly endless!

    You just have to pick something, and do it! And do it again the next day. And the day after that. By all means, give your body a rest a few days a week as needed, but you just have to keep finding ways to move your body and exert energy.

    The great thing is that this can really become addictive, the more you work out the more you want to work out. So the process actually gets easier the longer you do it because it becomes less of a chore and more of something you really want to get done.

    So, this is my roadmap in a nutshell folks. Eat less, eat better, exercise more, burn more calories than you take in. Rinse, repeat.

    I WILL BEAT HER…

    I WILL BEAT HER
    I will train harder.
    I will eat cleaner.
    I know her weaknesses.
    I know her strengths.
    I’ve lost to her before,
    But not this time.
    She is going down.
    I have the advantage
    because I know her well.
    She is the Old Me.