When I first started going to the gym I knew I would only keep at it if I did enough to feel good, but not so much that I was feeling burnt out. For each person this level of intensity is different. Some like to feel the burn so they know they are getting something out of their workouts. I, however, knew that would turn me off quickly. I like getting out of bed and feeling a workout the next day, but I like to be able to move, too.
For the last three months I have kept this concept in mind. What I didn't pay attention to, however, was the fact that each day, week, and month that goes by changes our body and our abilities. I've been stuck in a rut for a couple of weeks. It wasn't until I started running that I realized I wasn't giving all I had to give in my workouts. I was still in that "conservative" mode.
Since I started running I've been exhausted.... but in a good way. I'm back to sleeping through the night- a benefit that I experienced when we first joined the gym but had since faded. I come home from workouts with an "exercise high" and a feeling of accomplishment. And... I see the scale moving just a little quicker than it has been. Again, when we first started going to the gym the scale and measuring tape moved pretty quickly. Not so much in the last month or so. They are moving again, though. Enough to keep a smile on my face and the motivation high.
The down side of increasing the intensity is that, well.... I'm exhausted. I can't seem to get ENOUGH sleep in a night. This morning I didn't even hear Daniel's 4:15 alarm go off, and when I took a peek at the clock shortly after 5 AM I rolled back over. For years now I would have gotten up and started my day. Not lately, though. I'm choosing to see this as a good thing. I am not so tired that getting through a day is difficult, and I am not too tired to go to the gym in the afternoons. I am learning to listen to my body, so I would use those as cues to cut back a bit.
As it is, I did cut back a bit from last week. Last week I pushed it a little too much. I ran 6 out of 7 days, and my knees and back were telling me to give it a rest. This week I am only going to run 3 or 4 days. I'm still playing with milage and will push the limits there, but I think it's fair to give my legs a rest on the days I'm lifting weights. I've got to remember that I'm not Wonder Woman. I would like to be, but that's just not in the cards for my body anymore. Oh... to only be 15 again and not take my body for granted.
Speaking of being 15 and thinking about my body.... that's a whole different post. There is so much I've been pondering lately. The excuses, the legitimate reasons for slowing down, and the ways I want my daughters to think about their bodies, food, and exercise as they grow up. Stay tuned to hear more about those thoughts. For now.... remember to listen to the signals you are being given from your body. You only get one in this lifetime. It is worth taking care of!