Thursday, January 28, 2010

All or Nothing?

Yesterday, the plan was to hit the gym after dinner (so it would be less busy and less competition for a treadmill). So, after work, I took a nice little nap, and when I woke up, I made roasted salmon & asparagus for dinner. And then I was done...

I was already in pajama pants, and all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch with my new Fitness magazine. Oh, the irony--lazily reading about fitness when I should be actually be doing some physical fitness. Kind of like eating pie while watching the Biggest Loser. Yes, this is what I did last night (although I did work out earlier that day).

I would have stayed there on the couch, too. But, B. dutifully got up and got his workout gear on and prepared to head out the door. So, I did too.

But my gym experience was less than optimal. My energy level had been in the gutter all day. So instead of a long treadmill run, all I could bring myself to do was 30 minutes on the bike doing a random hill program (while listening to the State of the Union on my NPR iPhone app) followed by a slooooow 15 minute random hill run on the treadmill.

I left feeling grouchy. There's nothing I hate worse than a workout that feels like a waste. Then I I got thinking...Well, I did burn around 350 calories. No, that's not as many as I usually like to burn, but isn't 350 calories better than the 10 (or however many) calories I'd have burned lying on the couch, turning magazine pages?

When I first started my get healthy journey, one of the things I changed was my lackadaisical approach to the gym. I had been going for 30-40 minutes several times a week but not working hard enough (i.e., reading a book on the sit-down bike or worse). To improve my results, I made gym time (or any other workout time) a time to push myself and work as hard as possible. If I wasn't burning as many calories as possible, what was the point? That's why I initially started running, by the way, because it burned way more calories in the same amount of time as other gym options.

So, is fitness an all or nothing game? If I don't feel like working out, should I give myself the day off and work out at full capacity the next day? Or, is something better than nothing? Is it okay to have an occasional off day where I just don't live up to my own standard, just so long as I moved my body a little?

I guess that's what a fit lifestyle is all about...figuring what combination works for you...I just have figured out which method will be sustainable for me going forward (especially once maintenance mode starts).


  1. Sometimes a days rest (or light workout) is exactly what you need. I think it's OK to do that when you're really not into it, as long as you don't let it keep on. A day is fine, a week is not.

    Sometimes I tell myself I'll just do 15 minutes and if I'm still not into it I quit. Most times I get into it, but if I don't then it wasn't meant to be.

  2. Thanks for the advice! Today I'm feeling a cold or something coming on so maybe that's why I was so lethargic yesterday...

  3. I don't think fitness is all or nothing. I think it is about balance. I can't go into the gym every day and push myself to the limit. Some days I do and other days I workout but not as hard as possible. I think just getting to the gym is a victory.