My wife and I took a trip to Chicago last summer and with the weather warning up, I’m reminded of how great that trip was. Vacations and time off are great. It’s fun to let everything go for just a little while, right? Eat what you want, when you want. When you’re on vacation there are days when you don’t even wait until happy hour to have a beer or two. And talk about letting things go. I had intentions of keeping up with my workouts. After all, whether you’re in Chicago or Spokane, WA, there’s almost as many CrossFit boxes as Starbucks these days so I knew of at least three places within walking distance of my hotel. But did I go? Only once in a 6 day visit.
We always become concerned that when we’re away from the gym for a certain amount of time that maybe, just maybe we’ve lost everything you’ve worked for. Or, “I’m going to get crushed in this WOD cuz I haven’t been in the gym in over a week and I’m so out of shape.” That kind of concern sparks a lot of second guessing to a point where, the next thing you know, it’s been two weeks since you’ve been to the gym and you’re not even on vacation. Well I’m here to tell you that you didn’t lose it all. NOPE! Not true.
After returning from my 1-week hiatus, I found out that my first day back was just like any other workout. I’m not claiming to be an expert in the fitness field, but I believe, based on my own experiences, that the body has amazing muscle memory which includes your cardio vascular system. I picked up where I left off without having to scale back on load or intensity. In fact, if it wasn’t for a few of my friends who claimed to miss me (Ah, isn’t that sweet!), no one would have noticed that I’ve been MIA, at least not by my output during the WOD.
As a result, I was looking forward to daily workouts again, and I was in the gym the very next day, and the day after that!
Now, how about if you’ve been gone for a month or even two months? Should you scale back, ease your way into it? Again, going off personal experience, I say no. Your body will do that for you. All you have to do is give it your best and don’t cheat yourself. You may not to be as fast or as strong as you were when you were hitting the gym more consistently, and that’s just your body adjusting to the time off.
For example, I remember having to take 8 weeks to rehab after a hernia operation, and while I was concerned that I would injure myself again, I found that getting right back to everything, volume, load, intensity, was the way to go. I was assured by my doctor that the operation was sound, that it was close to impossible that I would aggravate the repaired hernia. In fact, the doc suggested that I, “Just get after it.” The payoff was tremendous! Great workouts always are.
I mention this because I notice that many of us are not attending to our fitness on a regular basis, and I’m pretty sure that it’s not just vacation time. I assure you that I’m not trying to lay the guilt trip on you or rat you out to the CrossFit police for poor attendance.
Life is a bitch, I know. Some schedules are pretty demanding, leaving little or no time to workout. If you haven’t been to the gym in over a week, or even a month or more, don’t let the concerns or fears that I mentioned above talk you out of your awesome comeback.
You know you love CrossFit and that you’ll have to get back sooner or later. Hopefully this will serve as a reminder that after a long layoff, your first workout is just another workout. No different from the ones you encountered when you were working out 2-3 days in a row on a consistent basis. In fact, I’m counting on you being able to find a way to work us back into your routine no matter how busy you are. You’ll know after your first day that you made the right decision. Besides, we miss you!
So it’s time for your grand return! We look forward to seeing you, and let me be the first to razz you for being away for so long with something witty, comical and creative such as, “Hi, you must be new. My name is Mike. Who the hell are you?” Hilarious!