How to Know When to Take a Break

How to Know When to Take a Break - Josie Feather Blog

I’m one of those all-or-nothing types. Either I’m obsessively doing something all the time, or I drop it and completely forget about it altogether. I really struggle with balance which I know a lot of other people do as well. I tend to think that if I’m going to miss one day at the gym, well then, I might as well just skip the whole week! It’s a really damaging way to think and often leads to feeling either depressed about missing one measly workout, or pushing through even when I shouldn’t and hurting myself physically or mentally.

The thing is, it’s all mindset. There’s no other way to avoid it then to change how you view it, which is way harder to me then just physically pushing through something. I’d so much rather attempt to run a 5k on a broken leg then try to wrangle my thoughts under control. The all or nothing mindset has been something I have really been trying to work on lately.

Even though I’ve got a long way to go, I thought it’d be nice to share those signs I’ve been tying to keep an eye out for that tell me it’s time to take a much needed break. I’ve been trying to apply these same ideas to all areas of my life, but have been trying to really focus in on what it means for my exercise routine.

PAIN

The most obvious sign. If you’ve been working out hard and are experiencing pain in your muscles, it’s time to take a break! Let your body rest so you can come back and kill it next time. You’ll only make things worse, and probably cause a full blown injury, by pushing through. Also take it as an opportunity to look at your habits and see if you can adjust anything to avoid pain in the future (you know what I’m talkin’ ‘bout - stretching!).

EXHAUSTION

It’s honestly hard for me to tell the difference between physical and mental exhaustion, it all just runs together in my mind, so let’s talk about both. Last week i was feeling it for a lot of reasons. When it first hit me I tried to talk myself into ignoring it and plowing through, but instead I took a step back and saw how much I had been doing - hitting the gym 6 days a week for the past few weeks, walking a lot even on my off days, and running from thing to thing in my personal life. Honestly, I wasn’t even excited to go to the gym the next day, which is actually really rare for me. So I decided to take a day off right in the middle of the week. Instead of letting myself worry that it was the end of the world that I skipped one day, I set my sights on enjoying a rare weekday morning at home before work, and rekindling my excitement to get back to the gym the next day.

LACK OF MOTIVATION

Let’s be straight here, I’m not talking about when you are just getting started and motivation is hard as h*ck, I’m talking about when you have already pushed through that phase and have found that you usually love working out, but all the sudden it’s become a chore. Take a look at why that is. If you’re feeling a little depressed, it may be good to keep pushing through since it may actually help, but if you’re otherwise feeling fine and you’re just dreading your workout then maybe it’s time to take a break and come back with a new plan.

I was starting to feel a little blah about my gym time a few months ago and decided to start a new workout plan, and I am so glad I did! It’s hugely helped me reconnect with what I love about working out, and seeing results from all my hard work gets me even more excited to keep going!

5 Tips for Exercising in the Morning

5 Tips for Exercising In the Morning - Josie Feather Blog

Confession time: I used to truly hate working out in the morning. I used to only run in the afternoons or at night. I was tired, grouchy, and ran about as fast as a baby sloth before 10am. On the rare occasion I would attempt a morning workout I would spend the whole time thinking about how terrible it was.

When I went back to work full time and essentially had no choice but to workout in the morning, I knew I would have to suck it up and just do it. Can I just be real? It sucked, for a while. My body did not acclimate quickly at all. I’d say it was almost a full two months of getting up and going to the gym every weekday morning before I finally started to be okay with it. It’s hard to believe that now I vastly prefer early AM workouts!

If you’re thinking about switching out your PM workouts for the morning, here’s a few tips and tricks I’ve figured out along the way that hopefully will make your transition a little easier:

FIND YOUR BEST SITUATION

So I actually have free access to a gym at work. I don’t have to pay a cent and I could literally walk right from the gym to our photo studio. It would save a lot of time and money to just use that gym (and ya’ll know I’m a cheapskate so you’d think I would) - but I hate it. It’s small, which means limited machines that people are always fighting over, the showers in the locker room are always out of hot water, it’s at the top of a building which means its about a thousand degrees and a million percent humidity, and on top of that you’re working out with people you work with (which just feels weird to me, but maybe I’m crazy). I spend more time and money driving out to my gym, but the experience it so much better, which makes getting up at the crack of dawn just a little easier. So don’t fight it - if your gym situation is truly making you unhappy, try something new until you find a good fit.

Also, tons of people aren’t gym people (I actually used to not be, but have since come to love it!) and that’s cool! Whether it’s working out at home, taking classes, or going for a run outside, figure out what’s the best situation for you. There is so no size fits all, and sometimes it take a little trial and error to figure out what works for you!

DON’T SNOOZE

Seriously guys, you can’t let yourself snooze if you’re going to stay on track. On days I wake up and truly am just not feeling up to hitting the gym I reset my alarm and go back to sleep. If you’re going, you need to just do it. Here’s the secret trick - don’t let yourself think about it. Your brain can be a jerk who just wants to complain in the morning, so sometimes you just gotta get ahead of it. Yes, it’s borderline painful for about the first 5 minutes, but once you get past that it usually gets a lot easier, and just remember that the sooner you get past those 5 minutes the easier it’ll get. Also, have you ever actually felt better with 7 minutes of extra sleep? No! Typically I just feel more groggy the more I snooze, so forget the snooze button and just go!

HAVE A PLAN

There’s nothing worse then walking into the gym at 5:30 in the morning and having no idea what you’re doing. I originally got started by doing a LSF 30 day challenge, so I knew exactly what I was doing (usually a little cardio, followed by grabbing a mat and doing that day’s challenge). I actually didn’t have a program for a few months after that, and while I still got things done, I still found myself wandering aimlessly on more then one occasion. Now I’m week 10 into the BBG program and am so happy I committed to it. Having a plan laid out for me every day has helped me so much! If you prefer classes then sit down at the beginning of the week and schedule them all out in advance - you’ll thank yourself later!

HAVE EVERYTHING READY THE NIGHT BEFORE

This is a tired tip that everyone will give you, but that’s for good reason - It’s really is one of the most important things. I don’t know about you, but my brain is not functioning at 5am, so to expect myself to be able to get everything I need together (or even just to pick out clothes) would be cruel. I lay everything (and I mean everything) out the night before. I even try to put anything I can already in the car. This makes it a lot less painful when I’m feeling particularly zombie-eque some mornings.

TALK POSITIVE TO YOURSELF

I can be mean to myself. Like, really mean. When I switched to morning workouts I really had to commit myself to stop being negative in my own head. Instead of thinking about how much slower I was running in the morning, I would congratulate myself for getting through a run - no matter what speed it was at. I also had to ditch all negative talk when I was at the gym. Instead of getting annoyed someone was on the machine I wanted, I would just turn around and find a different one, no grumbling about it to myself. This little change in internal attitude can make the biggest difference. Ban all negative talk when you’re at the gym - if you’re there, then you’re already killing it!

Getting up early to workout may never be super duper fun, but there are a lot of ways to take some of the pain out of it. Make the morning as easy as you can for yourself. Have everything ready to go, schedule a workout class you love, and tell yourself the night before that you’re going to have a great morning.

You Don't Have to Love It // The Secret to Getting Started

You Don't Have to Love It, The Secret to Getting Started - Josie Feather Blog

The other day I was checking in with a friend on how of her fitness goals have been going and she said they had come to a halt because she “just hates running”. Oh gosh, have I been there. If you all think that I was born loving to run, work out, meditate, eat spinach, or basically any of the other things I do on almost a daily basis, well let me just tell ya - you’re wrong.

When I started running I hated it. If they handed out world records for how incredibly bad you could be at running then I would have easily won. My breathing was so bad I felt like I was constantly being strangled. I got side cramps like you wouldn’t believe. I was slow. SO SLOW. In fact, I am still incredibly slow compared to most “runners”. When I started going to the gym I hated that too. I felt like everyone was looking at me, probably thinking about how I was using every single machine wrong. All I wanted to do was get the heck outta there. Don’t even get me started on my switch to working out in the morning, that just felt like some type of cruel and unusual punishment.

But I didn’t stop running, I didn’t stop going to the gym, and I didn’t stop waking myself up at some ungodly hour to sweat first thing in the morning.

Even though I truly and deeply hated these things, and was legitimately bad at them, I kept with them. I knew they would make me a better person long term, and they were part of a process of achieving bigger goals, and if I gave up I would save myself the short term pain, but set myself up for long term frustration. I know that, because I had given up about a million times before that, and it had only served to make me feel worse.

You go to work every day even though maybe you don’t absolutely love it, right? Filing documents, answering annoying emails, or dealing with customers may not be at the top of your list of things you love, but you find a way to get it done anyway. So what if I told you that when it comes to things that are good for you, you don’t have to love them? You don’t need to feel like they’re your life’s calling in order to do them. What if you stopped putting the pressure on yourself to love every single thing you do, and instead learned to sit with that discomfort?

In fact, I’m giving you full permission to hate those things.

but hate them while you do them

Let’s get something straight here though. I’m not talking about forcing yourself to do the bizarre things that the “Wellness” or “fitness” communities tell you to - or basically anything anyone tells you to do (except maybe your doctor). I’m talking about things you intuitively know are important for you. I definitely don’t believe that everyone needs to run, but I do know that everyone needs some type of regular movement in their life. I don’t think you need to eat all organic food or swap your chocolate chips for fancy cacao nibs, but you should probably make sure that you at least eat some veggies occasionally.


All I’m trying to say here is, there are things in our life that are good for us, even though we don’t love them, and that’s okay.


It’s okay not to love them, but never eating a vegetable because you don’t love them is probably something you need to work on getting over.

This is definitely not just about exercise or eating right, it’ll probably come up with almost any habits you try to build in your life. Let me tell you, I still don’t love waking up at 5am even though I’ve been doing it almost every day for a year. I’m okay with the fact that I’ll probably never love it, but I can see how much good it does in my life, so I keep my focus on that instead of constantly talking to myself about how much I hate it.

Learning to sit with the discomfort of not liking something, but pushing through it anyway has taught me so much more then I ever would have learned by avoiding tough things. And who knows? you might find yourself ending up like me and learning to adore some of the things you used to absolutely loathe, like running!