Random thoughts in between sets at the gym.
It’s De-load Week! No, I didn’t expect it, either. Chris realized he wasn’t recovering well from his heavy lifting workouts and decided to make this week a working recovery week. When he described his non-recovery symptoms, I recognized some in myself. (Though he cares A LOT about his grip strength and I couldn’t possibly care less. Oh good, I can grab things really hard. Sweet. Now I know for sure and certain that I won’t drop my wine glass?)
The first de-load workout was weird. It was SUPER short. Instead of hour+ workouts, we were in and out in less than 40 minutes. For all lifts I’m doing half the weight and half the sets, but keeping the same reps. So for bench press, for example, instead of pressing 110 for 4 sets of 5, I’m pressing 55 for 2 sets of 5. I mean. It’s like doing warmups for a half hour and then peacing out. As much as the first day was a little mentally twitchy because I REALLY enjoy doing heavy things (RAWR) I am taking my 2021 rest mandate seriously and am going to enjoy this while I can. So far, my muscles and joints are really enjoying it. I can tell that my body needed a break. I also think my mind needed a break from the constant pushing and striving to go harder, lift heavier, outdo myself. While that drive is fun and productive, it can also veer into judgment and self-shaming. It can also lead to super unhealthy comparisons between me and other women in the gym. “Are they lifting the same weight as me?! How did she do so many reps?! She just must have a super healthy non-herniated disc (said in a huff).” Not the best mental state to foster.
I’ve heard it said that if there is truly a magic pill for the body it’s exercise. I think the second one must be mindfulness, the kind that forces us to take slow breaths and notice ourselves and the world without judgment. I find the combination of the two to be rather remarkable in my own life, and to be combined quite fabulously this week. In a way, it’s because the one (exercise) is the activity of moving my body the way it is built to move. The second (mindfulness) institutes the rest that allows my body (the brain is part of the body, after all, and controls so much of the health of the body!) to recover from exertion and to emerge more resilient and calm than ever.
So I guess the truly magical combo for bodies is a regimen of exertion and rest, in the quantities and intensities and ways appropriate for the needs, limitations, and abilities of our individual bodies.
Now if I could just figure out how to get more deep sleep I’ll be set.