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Learning to Take a Break

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Lindsey and I planking at the kickboxing studio where she used to teach (And where we met!).


I’ve learned many things this year about taking care of my body.  There’s the obvious things like eating better and exercising, and the less obvious like hydrating and stretching.  But the one thing that took me a long time to learn, is knowing when to take a break.

When I started kickboxing back in February (the first consistent form of exercise I have ever done) I got addicted.  I was taking two, sometimes three classes a day and it took a major toll on my body.  I didn’t know the warning signs that it was time to take a step back… or maybe I did and I chose to ignore them.  Either way, working out this much was probably just as unhealthy as not working out at all.  When I finally started seeing signs that it was too much, I consulted Lindsey (my close friend and personal trainer) and she was shocked (to say the least) that I hadn’t come to her sooner.

Here are a few of the things that were happening to me.  First, I was no longer sore… EVER because soreness comes when your body has time to rebuild the muscles you’ve broken down… and I wasn’t giving myself time to do that.  Second, my hair started thinning.  I went to a doctor about this one because I felt like it was pretty extreme.  The doctor said that it was because I was putting far too much stress on my body all at once.  Lastly, I had trouble hydrating.  I never felt like I was drinking enough water, no matter how much I drank.

All of these things truly scared me, I had never experienced anything like it before.  There were many deep rooted reasons that made me want to work out as much as I was… too many to get into.  But I know that these reasons needed to be addressed so that I could take better care of my body, and be aware of the warning signs that it was time to take a break.  Lindsey explained to me the importance of taking at least one full day off each week and also taking the necessary time off when I was feeling any type of pain.

Throughout all of this I learned one major thing: taking the necessary time off is just as important as making sure to get my workouts in.  This is a tough realization for me sometimes… because working out is truly my favorite part of the day, especially if its a class with instructors and people that I love to spend time with.  All that being said, yesterday, I realized that right now is one of those times that I need a break.

With the extreme increase in the amount of running and spinning I’ve been doing recently, I’ve noticed some pretty major pain in my quads and my IT Bands.  And I know, if I want to be able to keep training for my half marathon on December 14th, something’s gotta give.  So, I’m going to take a full week off of spinning and see if that helps.  This is something I NEVER would have done six months ago.  I would have been too afraid that if I stopped spinning for a week I wouldn’t go back.  But I’ve learned a lot about myself, and exercise is now so much a part of who I am that I will literally RUN down the street for my usual Tuesday night with Kara next week.

Until then, its time to ice, foam roll, heat, and get my legs back to 100%.  Where there used to be a fear of falling off, there is now an excitement in the possibility of feeling fresh and pain free next week.  Learning to take a break has definitely been one of the hardest and most important lessons I’ve learned this year.




About Crystal Carlin

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