Resting: I Don’t Think I’m Doing It Right

Hello!

Thank you all for your warm congratulations on my acceptance into UVA yesterday! I’m definitely very excited that it is an option now. I also loved chatting with you over breakfast through the comments 😉

Today I want to talk about something that’s been on my mind for the past month or so now. Some of you may remember my post about how I intended to slow down my workouts and let my body try to sort itself out (aka get my period). I said I would still be exercising, but the intensity would be cranked down significantly.

Like I’ve said before, honesty is my best policy, and I’m going to be downright honest with you today. I have not been resting quite like I said I would. 

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I know, I know. I’m disappointed in myself too, but let me explain things a little bit more.

I have decreased the intensity of my workouts significantly. I have done only a handful of burpees, I have not picked up a weight heavier than 30 lbs., and the only tabatas I’ve done have been ab-focused. I also don’t push myself as much as I used to— if I’m tired, I slow down or stop. When I first wrote this postI started off fairly well by only doing bodyweight workouts and light cardio that didn’t push my heart rate very much. Incline walking, yoga, and Blogilates were my best friends (and I still love them!). 

More recently though, I’ve been doing circuits and pacer tests in phys ed, more intense elliptical workouts, lots of dancing, and some more weighted exercises at the gym (with light weights). I’ve noticed that I’m still working up a decent sweat and heart rate during my workouts, and I’ve slowly, unintentionally amped up my workouts in the past few weeks. Like yesterday— I did a 20 minute elliptical workout followed by some lower body sets that made me drip sweat before I knew it. That would signal a good amount of intensity… I also wasn’t expecting to do well for the pacer test at school since I didn’t think my cardio abilities would be up to par, but I was surprised when I was able to keep up with some of the better runners in the class. This is when I realized: Maybe I’m not really doing this whole “rest” thing correctly…

My emotions keep wavering in regards to this situation. On one hand, I’m disappointed that I haven’t been sticking to truly low-intensity exercise. On the other hand, I actually feel great. Keeping up some strength training helps a ton in dance, and I enjoy exercising more than ever before. In fact, I think I feel stronger now more than ever. I think this is because I’m taking more rest days and I’m not pushing myself to the limit during every single workout like I used to. I leave the gym feeling refreshed, not depleted. I’m also becoming even less uptight about what I eat. If I want a whole plate of pasta, a bowl of ice cream, or some chips, I’ll have it. If I want a salad, eggs, or fruit, I’ll have it.

Then it dawned upon me: I’ve only taken a small step in this mission to get my body functioning properly, but I still need to take bigger steps.

What I’ve been doing: Resting more, eating more.

What I should probably be doing: Resting EVEN MORE, eating EVEN MORE.

*Sigh* Why is this so much easier said than done?!

As of right now, I’m going to try my best to keep things low and slow, and I want you all to make sure that I am! But I know that with dance and everything, I’ll still be exercising quite a bit, so here are some changes that I’ll be making that might help make a difference:

  • no more than a 5 minute warm up on cardio machines
  • ONLY bodyweight exercises (don’t pick up those weights, Alison, don’t do it!)
  • eat more energy dense foods such as nuts, avocados…and ice cream 😉 (since eating more in volume can be difficult)

To be honest, part of me is wondering if any of this will even work. What if there’s no way to fix this but to completely cut out all exercise? I don’t know. We’ll see what happens with this for now. Once dance is over, if no progress is made, I will take more severe action. 

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So yes, you could say that I’m sort of “postponing” my efforts. However, I think I just haven’t been trying hard enough, and now I’m checking in with myself and realizing that I need to do just that. With God’s help and with my family’s/friends’/your support, I’ll make this work.

I hope this all makes sense. Thanks for reading if you’ve gotten this far 🙂

No questions today, but any thoughts?

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27 thoughts on “Resting: I Don’t Think I’m Doing It Right

  1. I love your honesty girl and I’m going to be honest with you; it always looked to me like you were doing too much for someone supposed to be ‘cutting down’. I’m in the same boat as you..but I have managed to cut down on *almost* all exercise. I know it’s incredibly tough but we have to do it..for ourselves. We can always dance, or weight lift down the line but the time to heal is now..before its too late. Sending you a hug of support ❤

  2. Oh i am so good at knowing what I should do for my body, and even coaching others to do the right things but then when it comes to myself I usually don’t take my own advice. I also have trouble resting and fueling properly sometimes. Alison, know that we all struggle with this! The fact that you realize this though is so so huge! And you have a wonderful blog community to support you in this. Keep working at it and I know you will get there. xoxo Hayley

  3. I totally get this! For a long time I was all about pushing myself harder and further but after YEARS of this my body eventually started to break down. I would hate to see this happen to you. Try to remember that in order for muscles to grow they need time for recovery. When you lift or train you break down the muscle so rest is SO necessary for them to build back up and even get bigger! I actually feel stronger now that I workout less plus I can say with confidence that my workouts feel better when I’m in them!

  4. I truly do appreciate your honesty, and I think it’s great that you are so open and truthful about what you’ve been struggling with lately. Being a dancer myself, I can relate to what you said about actually enjoying exercise more–ever since I started taking Vinyasa yoga on a more regular basis, my strength and stamina have definitely improved. So yes, I am working out more than I have in the past, but I have also gotten my period regularly in the past several months, and am at a much healthier weight. I know how hard it is to tone down how much you exercise and take more rest days–exercise makes you feel fantastic because of the endorphins, and I definitely get antsy if I have just been sitting around for most of the day. I’m not sure if you’ve consulted with a doctor or nutritionist, but it might help to ask a professional to get a better idea of approximately how much exercise you should be doing, and how many calories you need. Since I am not a medical professional myself, I obviously can’t give you those answers:) I do think eating more energy-dense foods will help you, though, since your body does need a certain amount of fat to trigger the menstrual cycle. Still, it sounds as though you have made a great deal of progress so far, and that is fantastic news. I wish you the best of luck with everything!

  5. It’s a hard boat to be in but I’m so proud of you for checking in and being honest. Really! It shows a great deal character strenth and determination ….and these are things that will take you far in life and allow you to achieve anything you set your mind to. Those sound like even better goals and ill be here cheering you on! “Go Alison!”😉👍👍

  6. It’s great that you’re being honest, Alison. It shows that you are really dedicated and determined to do this. I know how you feel about reducing the intensity of your workouts. I am trying to reduce the intensity of mines too. But, it’s hard! I feel some anxiety on my rest days and the days I don’t work out as hard.

  7. To be honest, I did not get my period for over two years due to my eating disorder and over dosing on exercise. I was a cardio fanatic! I later incorporated doing Blogilates and grew stronger with that. The thing was always that I was not eating enough and I was burning off way more than consuming. I would do a fasted run in the morning and a bodyweight workout with a bunch of HIITs at night. I wasn’t even eating over 1700 when I should have been taking in 2200 at least. I finally got my period at the beginning of this month after cutting out HIITs every day, less cardio, incorporating in more food, and focusing on strength training. Adding in more food is hard, but with the level of activity done, it’s necessary. I hope all goes well soon! 🙂

  8. It is so great that you’re able to see this all now- as hard as it is to see the faults, celebrate your successes- both with exercise AND with eating. Yes, you have maybe gone abit overboard, but you clearly have the stamina (e.g. able to keep up with the ‘faster’ people)- think about how much BETTER you could be with adequate rest days and actual time for you ‘grow’. You can do it- just cut the self doubt 😉

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  10. I’m drooling over everything that you posted! I just came across your blog and I’m so happy that I did. I’m definitely going to follow along for yummy food ideas!

  11. I totally know where you are at! While I may not have all the solutions, make sure you are eating enough (load up on those healthy fats! even ice cream 🙂 ) and also try not to stress. Easier said than done, but it’s often mental just as much physical.

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