Having been 300lbs, I absolutely cringe at the thought of taking an actual break from the gym – I.E. More than 2 days off in a row. I recently had just such an opportunity to take a break this month. In fact, it was a 9 day break! Some family health issues prompted a trip out to Seattle for 9 days earlier in the month of January. As I’ve said in previous posts – Family is first for me. I decided that I wasn’t going to try to force going to the gym while we were out in Washington. If I tried to make time to get to a gym and didn’t manage to get there for whatever reason, I’d be grouchy and whining. Instead, I resolved NOT to go for 9 days and enjoy the time with family. Life is short, and I wanted to maximize the time we have. Knowing that I wasn’t going to make the gym for at least 9 days was a pretty scary thought. Thinking about it, I don’t think I’d previously taken more than 4-5 consecutive days off since before starting my health/fitness journey more than 2 years ago! I somehow still managed to get all my workouts in when on the road for 22 weeks for work in 2010. I knew that I didn’t want to stress over the break though. I would just put some of the knowledge I’d gained in the last couple years to good use! First, I had to keep tabs on what I was eating. Did I count calories? Absolutely NOT! I made wise choices and since we were with family a lot, we really didn’t eat out too much. When I did have a meal out, I used common sense when making meal choices. I knew it would be tough to avoid processed foods, so I went with chicken breast sandwiches, chicken breast teriyaki, and plain rice. I avoided the massive cheeseburgers with bacon and more cheese. I had probably two cheat meals over 9 days (the worst being a sourdough burger and fries) – not bad. I also took in tons of water – still managing a gallon a day even with spending a lot of time in a car driving back and forth to a local hospital. Second, I needed to get in as much movement as possible w/o going to the gym. How’d I manage that? I parked as far away as I could from places so I’d take more steps to get to the doors. I took the stairs (up and down) to get where I was going at the hospital. I even got our 6 year old who is obsessed with elevators to take the stairs a couple times PRs Third, I blocked out all the mind games my brain would try to play. Was I tempted to sneak off to a gym? Absolutely! I managed to fight off the mind games, and keep the gym on the back burner while I got to enjoy the time with my family. After getting back to Minnesota and back into my normal routine 10 days later, I was truly surprised at how well the gym went. I set two new PRs on dumbbell and barbell benching! As it turns out a 9 day break after 2 years of hard work in the gym was a good thing. Not having worked out for 9 days also gave me a new appreciation for the time that I do get away to make it to the gym. I have a supporting wife, and for that I am very thankful. How often do you take a break from the gym and what does that break look like? Let us know!
From 9-5, Lonnie sits in front of a computer. Outside of being an IT Geek, he’s an athlete who’s familiar with the cycle of being fit-fat-fit that so many of us struggle with. Down from his highest weight of 300lbs in June 2009, he’s made the permanent lifestyle change to remain Big. Strong. Fit. Healthy. When not spending time with his wife, son and daughter, he’s at the gym keeping off the fat and adding quality lean mass.