Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What happens if you miss a workout? Illness, injury etc...

I want to share with you Joe Friel's most recent blog post on how much fitness might be lost if you miss a workout. But before I do, it's important to realize that fitness goals of our students will often be different than the goals that endurance athletes set, so read this article I'm about to give you with that knowledge in hand. On the other hand, this article will hit home for recreational athletes/cyclists who like to remain very active outside, for very avid fitness enthusiasts who come to classes 4-7X a week, and most certainly for instructors who teach a lot of classes and are a *bit* fanatical about their own workouts (know any of those types of instructors?!)

Joe Friel broke his hip recently in a bike accident and is faced with six weeks or more of limited training. He writes primarily for endurance athletes, many of whom race (often just recreational racers), so whenever I read his blog posts I try to adapt the information to fit the needs of our typical fitness student. Here is what Joe has to say about missing training days.

My take on the subject? Don't sweat it! If you aren't a pro-athlete, or not training for a PR in your next triathlon, relax. It is what it is. Fighting an illness or injury by training through it will most often make it worse, and doesn't do much good for the mental standpoint either. And if you are a pro or high-level athlete, well, S!*^ happens sometimes, and ya just gotta roll with it. After an illness or injury, get back on track as quick as you can, work on the mental part of it while you are laid up, and turn your focus to positive things. You may have to reset your goals a bit, but that's ok.

An instructor who is forced to take time off due to illness or injury (or family/work/personal obligations) will have to do the same. Remember this important tip: it is impossible to stay at the highest level of fitness year-round. Everyone, from beginner to pro, has to have fluctuations in fitness throughout the year. Allow it to happen, accept it, then work towards gradually bringing your fitness back to where it was before you were forced to take time off.

And, if you aren't forced to take time off (due to any of those reasons mentioned above), remember to give yourself breaks throughout the year (vacations, getting subs) for a mental and/or physical release. Otherwise your body just might do it for you... And when that happens, it's not always a good thing. Remember, we attract into our lives what we focus on and what we need. If you don't allow those breaks to happen occasionally, especially when you get burned-out, overstressed, or are bordering on over-training, I believe you attract illness or injury into your life, to force yourself to take the break you were too bullheaded to allow yourself in the first place! (And I say this from personal experience!) ;-)

Stay healthy and strong!

PS read the comments in Joe's article - there are some good questions that he answers that expand on the subject.


Marsha said...

Hi Jennifer,
I read Joe Friel's article this morning and here's my 2 cents worth. Patience. We need to be aware of how much our fitness is effected when life interferes and we need to be patient getting it back.

All too often I see people who look like they're about to explode pushing past AT in every workout thinking this is what they need to get back their fitness level.Or, they take it somewhat easy once or twice and then jump into workouts that are too hard. What Joe Friel's little chart reinforces is that it's endurance that suffers most when we're off. What they really need to do is add some extra time to their workouts, if they can, go easier, and be patient.

I'm coming back myself from almost 5 weeks, a combination of vacation and being quite sick when I came back. My teaching days get a little too intense, of course. But my own workout days are all endurance and aerobic capacity. I've missed a few days and don't always have those extra minutes to stay on the bike. But I know that at some point I'll be stronger than ever. Patience is typically a difficult concept for us fanatic types, but it is ultimately rewarding.

Jennifer Sage said...

So true Marsha, so true. Patience is a virtue in many areas of our lives!

Le said...

Been there... :) It has been 10 mths since the operation and finally after 8 mths I could feel like myself again. Mentally & emotionally I am good now; but to get back in shape I finally gave in and hired a PT to push me (I am a PT but don't take in any clients at the moment)
Thank you Jennifer for the great info as always.