If you haven’t noticed by my past few posts, right now is a busy time for me. With the amount I am working, the stress levels that come with work deadlines, and the lack of sleep; it is no wonder I am worn out. Couple that with the fact that I really don’t like to miss workouts and will get up to get my butt to the gym, even if I haven’t slept enough; and you have a recipe for disaster.
Of all people out there, I know how important sleep is. When all is right with the world, I get to bed around 10pm and get up at 5am. When all is really right with the world, I’ll go to bed at 9pm. But when stress kicks in and I don’t get home from work until 8 pm or later, I end up staying up until 11pm or; dare I say it, midnight. I can keep this going (the stress and staying up that late 1-2 times/week) for about 2 weeks and then it catches up with me like a bad hangover. Add on a lack of weekends because I am working, and it gets really ugly.
Last week was my breaking point. I ended up taking 2 rest days instead of 1 (oh the horror) and pushed the snooze button more times than should be legal. Despite repeated conversations with friends and family that I needed to take time to rest, I kept pressing forward. Thankfully, I completed three large projects last week which allowed my 80-hour weeks to slow down to a 55-hour week. My mind and body must have sensed the ability to rest and took full advantage.
But prior to that rest, I have to set the tone with my Friday and Saturday workouts. On Friday I had every intention of getting up (like I normally do) and getting to the gym. That didn’t happen. Instead, I went to the gym after work all set to get in a lift AND cardio. Well, half-way through my lift I could barely move. I started trying to try and figure out ways to cut the lift short. The very thought of cardio was a distant memory. I managed to finish my lift and made it home to bed. Unfortunately, I was still high-strung from the weeks of stress. My brain couldn’t stop trying to think of something to stress over and I didn’t get to bed until 11:30.
Cut to Saturday morning. Granted I slept for 7 hours, but that clearly wasn’t enough. I woke up and dragged myself to Jodi’s Beyond Bootcamp class. Have you ever gone to do a burpee or a squat jump and no matter how hard you try, you cannot get your body to move quickly? It feels like you are moving through quicksand. Well, that is how I felt. I got through the workout, went out for breakfast and was home on the couch by 11:30am.
I did not move from the couch except to go to the grocery store and get food. Other than that, I had a date with my DVR, curtains drawn, no lights on, snuggled under a blanket, in and out of consciousness, for the remainder of my day. I was fast asleep at 9 and slept until 9 the next morning. Now that was the recovery and sleep I needed. However, I never should have let it get that far.
The way the past three weeks should have gone down is a different story. I should have adhered to a strict bedtime. I should have allowed myself extra rest days if necessary (although I must say the gym tends to set the tone for my day) or at least eased up on the workouts. I should have built in extra time to decompress. But we live and learn. And since there are still 7 more weeks until the end of this tax season, I will have plenty of time to implement this strategy.
The point, however, is that there comes a time when you are so worn down that your workouts are pointless. Your returns diminish to the point o being nonexistent. That is where I was last week and knowing that, I can’t even worry about taking more than one rest day. I had nothing to give and pushing myself any harder would do nothing but hurt me. Those are the times we need to realize it is time to say uncle.