Monday, November 22, 2010

A time to rest?

I was feeling guilty for skipping a few workouts this week when my husband said, "It's okay. This is when you're supposed to recover and rest."

Rest? Really?? As if that were an option.

Because if I did take a sabbatical from working out, then I'd also have to take a sabbatical from the many foods I love and embark on a major diet! (And, D-i-e-t, four-letter word that it is, is something I've never done.)

Sometimes I eat so I can workout, properly fueling my body for the task at hand.

But most of the time, I workout because of what I ate. Take today, for instance, when there was no doubt that I'd have a serving of cardio on my plate after I scarfed Thai food last night and pancakes this morning. I enjoyed envisioning those would-be pounds melting away as I pushed the pedals of my bike over 25 miles of rolling terrain.

I'd think my husband would understand where I'm coming from on this because, while his metabolism certainly zips along at a much faster clip than mine, it is not cranking away at such a speed that he can eat several sleeves of Oreos each night and not think twice about it. (One of the many ways in which we are well-matched.)

Then again, society, for some unknown reason, is much more forgiving to men when it comes to gray hair, wrinkles and those ten extra pounds. Which may explain why he was looking at me like I was a little crazy when I balked at the notion of "rest."

If my husband puts ten pounds on his 6'2" frame, he may look a little stockier or stronger. But me? Those pounds would immediately set up residence on my thighs making me, not the bird, looked like the stuffed turkey at the table. I swear, I just breathe fattening food and wake up with it on my hips the next day.

There was a commercial on TV that I just loved--a fit woman in a cute little skirt walks up to a street vendor, buys a pastry and starts eating it. When she walks away her backside morphs into two cinnamon rolls. It's a cautionary tale. "That's me!" I thought when I saw that ad. Someone out there knew exactly where I was coming from and I felt vindicated!

So, needless to say, the idea of taking a "rest" from exercising does not even cross my mind. Downscale the intensity of in-season training? Yes, definitely. But rest, for the next few months? (Or for the next week, even?) No way!

I am a firm believer in Newton's law that "objects in motion stay in motion, and objects at rest stay at rest." While I might savor a little rest here and there, I panic a bit at the thought of remaining that way and quickly get moving again.

Exercising is just part of who I am. With rare exception, I find ways to include it in my daily routine, always planning the night before what I will do for exercise the next day.

For instance, I already know I will swim tomorrow and on Wednesday I will run and lift. On Thursday, I may take a short morning run in preparation for the day's feast, and would be thrilled if there's an opportunity for a post-meal walk. If not, I'll enjoy the holiday and the temporary "rest" it brings, content in the knowledge that I will be back in motion by Friday.

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