I started out with a very technical, computer programming based approach to health and fitness. It was simple. I decided I would work out every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I even wrote some pseudocode for it:
If day equals Monday, Wednesday, or Friday…Work out
Else…Don’t Work out
It was a pretty simple approach and worked out in over 95% of the cases in my experience. There were some days I couldn’t meet this requirement, but it was due to obligations beyond my control. The hard core mindset behind this approach was that I needed to give myself a No Way Out approach to get into the habit of working out 3x a week. And this method worked well for me. But now I have a new approach…
The New Approach
Fast forward 18+ years. I don’t take the old approach so much, as I simply say, “I work out 3-5x a week to keep my body strong.” I still shoot to lift weights on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but I also try to run on Tuesday and Thursday. Now, when Friday hits, I simply asked myself if I have worked out at least 3x this week. If not, I do my best to fit it in before the week ends. The week ends for me on Saturday, so if I haven’t worked out at least 3x times by Friday, I am working out Saturday. Sunday is a day for the Lord, family and rest, so no work outs on Sunday unless it is a family thing.
Though this new approach has done me well, I figured out something along the way…Sometimes…You Need A Smart Break!!! No, I am not talking about being easy on yourself because you are feeling lazy, I am talking about the Smart Break.
The Smart Break
The Smart Break is the break you take when you can hear your body talking to you. It may be that you are so sore from working out that it hurts to move. If it really hurts to move, you SHOULD NOT be working out. Or it may be that you have caught the latest bug that is going around, and you need to take the week off just to recover. When this happens, you SHOULD NOT work out. It’s funny, I sit here just experiencing a week of sickness and still feel kinda crappy, so I took a Smart Break. I was so sick last week that I could not work out. Two of the days, last week, I was in bed all day. The other days I felt crappy so I made the decision not to work out. The old me would have pushed anyway, probably causing more harm than good. But the more informed, educated, disciplined me feels confident in taking the time off because I will start it back up as soon as I am back to at least 80%.
Though it is good to have an easy Yes/No way to determine if you work out today or not, like I had, in the long run it is smarter to listen to your body and take a Smart Break. When you are so sore that you can’t move, it is time for a Smart Break. Or when the latest flue or cold is kicking your butt…easy answer…Smart Break. Listen to your body and it will tell you. Now, don’t use it as an excuse. For example, “I feel a little sore today, Smart Break time.” NOOOOOO. You have to be smarter than that. Don’t lie to yourself. You need to be hard on yourself if you want results and you want success. You can lie to anyone you want to lie to, but you can’t lie to yourself. And, if deep down you could work out, you SHOULD work out. Make the right choice. Take the Smart Break when you need it!!!