We all know the old expression that it doesn’t matter how many times you fall off your horse, what matters is that you get back on. That’s a golly gee swell saying and all, but sometimes it’s not that easy. Let’s say you fell of your horse, except instead of a horse it was a gym program. It’s not as simple as getting back on sometimes. You see, the reality is that diligently going to the gym is like anything else that we do with our busy lives, it becomes a habit and part of our daily routine. Once removed, something else swoops in to take its place. Simply getting back on your horse is not as easy as it seems when your horse is no longer in its usual location, metaphorically speaking.
No matter what you do with your day, we human beings are creatures of habit. We like to find a nice comfy rhythm and routine, and then we like to repeat that rhythm and routine ad nauseum. It’s the same in the animal kingdom. Every spring the salmon return to their birthplace to spawn and die and endlessly that cycle continues. Every fall birds migrate to their same winter homes and return to their same spring nesting and breeding grounds, year after year. Just because we humans have invented things like shopping malls and scratch and win lottery tickets, these incredible displays of intelligence do not exempt us from the same simple rules that govern all beings on earth.
Every living thing finds comfort in certain repetitive activities. Even the nature of training is just that-repetitions. So why would just going back to training be easy after a long layoff? Chances are very high that if you are someone who occasionally goes missing in action from your customary schedule, you likely found a whole new extra comfortable routine that you are equally enamored with. So what is one to do you ask?
Well first we need take a trip back in time. A time in the recent or somewhat less recent past, depending on how long you’ve been negligent in upholding your commitment to yourself. There’s something that needs further investigation.
You see, failing to uphold your commitment to yourself is sometimes what is at the root of this whole dilemna. It’s almost like a simple issue of mistaken identity. Well sort of. You wanted a break from your commitment to your training, but it’s not your training that you’re accountable to. It’s yourself that you are doing this for. So, did you just want a break from what you wanted? That doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it.
So now that we’ve traveled back in time to the point where we decided it would be a great idea to let ourselves down, what was the thought process behind this decision? It probably was a simple case of sheer laziness that turned into an extremely counter productive long layoff. That’s why you can never let your guard down, especially when it comes to doing what’s best for your body.
Your body always knows what it needs. If it says it’s tired and sore, then it is. If it says it’s revved and good to go, then it is. There’s one small problem when it comes to listening to your body however. Whenever your body has something to say it has to go to its big brother, the brain, in order to get its message to us. The bigger problem with that is our brain has all kinds of abilities at its disposal to twist and bend and completely reshape the original message.
Did you ever play that game in school, or maybe at some horrific team building weekend retreat you were coerced into attending, where one person whispers something into another persons ear and the message is passed from person to person around the room until the last person says the totally distorted beyond all recognition message that bears no resemblance to the original? Whether you have or haven’t is irrelevant. What is relevant is this is exactly what happens when your body tries to tell you what it needs.
Let’s say that your body after its customary rigorous training schedule, wanted to relay to you that it was feeling tired and sore, but what it really desired was to train to get itself feeling right by doing what it is accustomed to. Your brain with all its bells and whistles and its never ending need to try and please its host may have only passed on part of the message, that being that your body was sore. Your brain added in all by itself that maybe it would be best to take a break for a while.
This is most likely the innocuous enough exchange between your brain and yourself that ended up resulting in a six week detraining period which lasted four weeks longer than could be considered even remotely beneficial. So now we know what caused the falling off from the horse, so what do we do to get back on? We don’t fall off.
There. Problem solved, and yes I’m serious. You who read here regularly knew this was coming, because the best way to fix a problem is to avoid it in the first place. If it’s Tuesday and your training schedule says that you train on Tuesday, then you and your brain have no business colluding to derail your body and soul’s plans for happiness. Stay out of your own way, I say. There is rarely, if ever, a legit physical excuse to skip a training session, severe injury being the exception. The next time your brain is trying to use reason or rationale in its attempt to sway your decision, just do what I do and ignore it. Follow your soul, because your brain will always lead you astray. Until next time,