It?s the first week of January. The gym is mobbed. The parking lot is full. The locker room talk usually includes remarks about extra holiday pounds. Swimmers are covering their bathing suit-clad bodies with large towels and folks in the weight room are tugging at their snug workout clothes. The holidays are officially over and the New Year?s Resolutions are kicking in. But the atmosphere is sluggish. The desire to lose those extra pounds is clouded by the ?cookie cycle? ? you know, the habits we?ve slipped into, the cookies we grab when we perceive hunger, the healthy snacks that are still in the produce section of our favorite grocery stores.
It?s not all about food consumption. There has been a disconnect in our training schedule. Even if we have shown up for our workouts, we have probably been distracted or lethargic. To add insult to injury, it?s also the cold and flu season. With erratic exercise, eating and sleeping practices, immune systems are subject to attack.
Today I met with 4 women for their personal training session for the first time since mid-December. These women are in their early 30s, very bright, have small children and good jobs, are very attractive with basically fit bodies and were clearly uncomfortable to be standing in a studio in shorts and T-shirts. I chose to hit it head on and we talked briefly about their holiday over-consumption. Early on, prior to the holidays, they had been eating thoughtfully, training regularly, and feeling pretty good about themselves. First came a few bouts of baking, then the parties, then the traditional meals and finally the New Year?s blast. But, it wasn?t over. The habits had changed and now they were still eating left-overs, forgetting their water, and reaching mindlessly for salty or sweet snacks.
After some discussion we decided to go cold-turkey and trash those unhealthy habits and resume living as intelligent, deliberate, athletic women. To lighten the mood, we would randomly call out ?cookies? each time the training session got a bit tough! It was funny, but also reminded us that we need to prioritize and get back to the people we are meant to be.
A few days earlier I received an email from a close friend who is also an amazing cyclist-athlete. She had stumbled over the holidays and was reaching out for support from a few of her friends. What an excellent idea! Anyone observing my friend would assume that she was as fit and strong as usual, but SHE knew that her motivation had been derailed and her body was sluggish. She has training to do and needed a jump-start.
Perhaps we should all do the same. Instead of pretending that all is well, perhaps we should acknowledge that we have broken the ?cycle? (pardon the pun) of effective and energetic training and have hopped onto the wagon of inappropriate consumption and reduced activity.
The 8WWL program has been about more than eating and gaining or losing weight. It has been about healthy habits and a fit lifestyle. It has been about drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, exercising enough hours and knowing when we have had enough. Anyone who has completed the program has within their means the materials and the ability to continue. After all, another 8 weeks is there for the doing. What are we waiting for?
Blog posted by Linda Freeman for www.spinning.com 1-4-2011
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