Taking an Exercise Break

I often hear people say they need to take a break from exercise and I contemplate how much of a break they actually need, or if they even need one.  I do believe that rest is a very important component of working out too, but I often see people reach a goal and go into a "celebration" that never ends, only to end up right back where they began.    Then there are those that reach a goal and are able to maintain it and become an entirely differently person altogether and never revisit the person they once were.  What's the difference?  How can one person never return from "the break", yet another person adhere to all the qualities that got them there to begin with?

I often train people that are high executives or own their own businesses and I'm baffled that they let their schedule dictate how they will run their lives.  If you're responsible for so much, how is it that you can't be responsible for your own schedule?  While I realize it may look like I live in "fitnessland" 24 hours, 7 days/week, I do have my own challenges and I've certainly decided to put things into perspective and commit to having the lifestyle I want, including the way I want to look work for me.  If you find yourself abdicating responsibility for your health, I'm here to tell you, it won't work for you for very long.  You will find yourself, miserable, frustrated and looking for a quick solution which never works out well in the end. 

Ask yourself these three questions to decide if a fitness break is for you:

1. Am I just bored?

You may just need to change it up.  Try something different and new for a while.  You may just need a break from your ordinary routine. 

2. Am I working hard or just going through the motions?

I see this all day long.  A personal trainer can only get you so far, but it's you who has to make a decision of what kind of effort you are going to put forth.  It truly has to come from within.  Part of what I try to do as a personal trainer is get you to see your own abilities and revel in them.  Most of us can do more than what we think we can, myself included.  If you are truly honest with yourself and you put forth the effort you know in your heart you can do, the results are astounding!  You would amaze yourself!  Put your mind in your muscle and you will notice results that will make you want to try harder.  On the other hand, if you are just "putting in your time" just to say you did, then you will will hardly ever see a glimmer of results.  The plain truth of it is….it's all up to you.  Period.

3. Am I getting results?

This ties into the first two questions; Albeit, we live in a vain society, part of the reason people may want to "take a break" is that they think only in terms of physical results and not their overall health.  While I don't think you should go on forever without  seeing some physical benefits that are pleasing to you, you should try not to focus solely on the physical benefits.  Yes, physical benefits alone are reason enough to embark upon a training regimen in the first place, but you should also look forward to other amazing health perks as well.  Here are just a few:

  • more productive sleep
  • lowered cholesterol
  • increased clarity and better focus
  • better equippped to handle stress
  • improved digestion
  • decreased cravings
  • healthier appetite

Now, I don't want you to think that I'm suggesting you NOT take a break, and I do think a break can do some great good, just make sure that the break you take is in alignment with your values.  In other words make sure the break is for your own rejuvenation if that's why you're taking it, not because you lack the drive to get the results you want.  That will come back around.  In order to return from a much needed break successfully make sure you have a plan!  

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