Is life a marathon or a sprint?
Think life is a marathon? You keep running and running and whoever goes the longest wins? THINK AGAIN. Life is a series of sprints. You sprint, sprint, sprint, and then rest and recover. That way you’re always exerting maximum effort for the best result, but you rest so you dont burn out. If you just keep sprinting you’re gonna die quickly without living.
Two weeks ago I strained my right adductor muscle teaching cycling. It was painful, frustrating, and Im SO GLAD it happened. When I hurt myself my life was going a million miles a minute. I was doing it all – on top of the world and feeling good. I couldn’t see how much I was doing because I was operating at such a high speed. I said yes to everything… and then some. And when you don’t press the pause button… life will find a way to do it for you. Guaranteed. My hip flexor strain was a minor injury… but just the reminder I needed to SLOW down. Truth be told we could all use the reminder to RELAX more. Sometimes it feels as if we are hamsters on a wheel – going round and round, continually pushing ourselves all the time, and eventually this leads to break down. In order to be filled with energy, decrease stress levels, and live a powerful life it’s important to take time to RECOVER. Going the extra mile to help the body regenerate and cope with the hundreds of daily stressors in life makes a HUGE impact.
Now that my hip flexor is on the mend, I thought Id share my hard earned lesson and remind you to rest, restore, and recover. We are in it together – fearless fitness for HEALTH and HAPPINESS. And that includes balance…. Lets talk about that.
We live in a reactive world. We often wait until something happens and then we react. This is why our health sometimes fails. We’re so busy sprinting that we don’t stop until our bodies shut down and force us to take notice of the damage we’ve done. Instead, I challenge us all to take a positive approach and prevent stress from overwhelming our systems and our lives. I challenge you to focus on your body with exercise and prioritize your mind by scheduling downtime to ensure your wellbeing.We all want to go fast and accomplish more goals than there is time for in a day. But sometimes you have to go slow in order to go fast. By recharging your batteries and taking care of your health you will set the foundation that will have you feeling great and able to perform like a world class athlete.
Don’t get me wrong – I love intense workouts and training hard. You’ve been to class… we WORK it out! And I love coming into work and seeing people get after it in the gym. Yet there are still too many people on the edge of injury. Whether it’s a lack of sleep, high stress, too much time sitting at a desk, or running around like a crazy mess – we can all do a better job of maintaining our bodies. It’s hard not to fall into the misleading belief that doing only strength work and cardio will keep you healthy. But as I learned the hard way last week, when you don’t emphasize recovery and regeneration in your routine, you end up falling short of your potential.It’s a reminder that you must recover just as hard as you train. And while nutrition plays a vital role in the process, there are other aspects that are integral to complete regeneration and overall health. Sleep, massage, bodywork, and breathwork are all essential techniques that will help your mind and body feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Prioritize the below strategies from fitness professional Todd Durkin for recovery and regeneration. Use them to help your mind and body function at its best.
- SLEEP. Sleep restores and optimizes our metabolism, memory, focus, creativity, mental processing, speed, emotional balance, musculoskeletal performance, and immune defense. And that’s just for starters… the many benefits of sleep go FAR. Sleep is the foundation that helps you function at your highest level. And yet rarely do we prioritize sleep or think about how it influences every function in the body. Maybe you can run on adrenaline for a little while, but eventually a sleep deficit catches up with you. There is no “magic number” that is right for every individual – aim for a minimum of 6-8 hours of QUALITY sleep a night and all your health dreams will come true.
- Yoga and Pilates.While stretching is one way to improve the flexibility of your muscles, yoga and pilates offer another form of exercise that increases your flexibility, improves your structural alignment, and enhances your breathing. We know we are too tight. We feel it when we exercise, when we sit down, when we try to lift anything off the floor. And yet we still ignore our pain. Your body is telling you (sometimes SCREAMING at you) what’s wrong and yoga, pilates, or any other concentrated stretching will help improve your flexibility and facilitate relaxation. If you are super tight, stretching for 10 minutes after your workout isn’t enough. If you need to emphasize flexibility, prioritize it on a daily basis and feel free to do it multiple times a day. If you want help making time for yoga, pilates, and flexibility training, check out my latest quick fix stretching videos on youtube. Or for more detailed information on mind body workouts check out the blog for my yoga thoughts and pilates tips.
- Meditation and Breathwork. We breathe, on average 18,000 and 22,000 times a day. How often do you stop and pay attention to your breathing? Seldom to never right? Its amazing, but the simple process of listening to your breath and focusing on it becomes a tremendous aid in feeling balanced, reducing stress, and controlling anxiety. Whenever you are stressed, worried, or tense, use your breathing to help calm yourself down. Take a few deep breaths and quietly let stress go with each exhalation. Simple breathing and meditation techniques can aid in immediate stress relief – all it takes is practice!
- Massage and Bodywork.Listen closely: massage and bodywork is not a luxury. It’s a necessity. Your body needs hands on attention to function correctly, and by integrating massage and bodywork anywhere from once a week to once a month, you’ll experience regenerative benefits for your mind and body. The pliability and the quality of your fascia are improved by massage and bodywork. When you exercise or sit for too long, adhesions build up in your connective tissues that restrict movement, comfort, and performance. By addressing your fascia with human touch, you can remove muscle tension and stiffness, heal quicker from injuries, improve joint flexibility, and improve range of motion so you can move more efficiently and feel better. It doesn’t matter if your knees ache, your back hurts, or you have frequent headaches. Massage and bodywork can treat the cause and help you feel better from head to toe. Don’t know where to go for the bodywork that’s right for you? Check out some of my favorites like Joel Banuelos at San Francisco Bodywork and Psoas Massage on my yelp page.
- Vacation.How long has it been since you took time off? Its time to look at your schedule and plan a vacation. Whether it’s a long weekend or a tropical getaway, take some time away from it all. Reward yourself for all of your hard work. Do something you love. Find adventure. Don’t make excuses or say you’ll get around to it. Make it happen and it will serve as incentive and a reward for all the hard work you put towards making healthy changes. After all, it’s all about creating an extraordinary life. And reward is one way to guarantee that your mind is right and your body is fresh.
The world isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. Life is overwhelming at times, exhausting at others. But if you want to keep sprinting you need fresh legs. And I promise the strategies provided above will act as preventive medicine. Incorporate them into your regular routine and you’ll feel better and achieve more. Don’t wait until your health fails and you’re tackled short of your goals. Once you apply these strategies, you’ll feel completely rejuvenated and you’ll be shocked by how much the quality of your life improves.
Fearless Fitness Challenge Of The Week: Make Time For Relaxation in your Life
How much time do you make for recovery techniques? Recovery refers to any techniques you use to relax and improve your body. These strategies should be applied to both your mental and physical needs. Sleep, massage, yoga, meditation, healthy eating, and vacation. Is there a way you could incorporate more of these into your days? How can you make more time for more recovery, relaxation, and stress free living?
Ill make you a deal – If you remind me… Ill remind you to rest, restore, and recover. Lets relax hard – so we can SPRINT to the finish and WIN at life.
Thanks again for being such a positive fitness family and bringing me joy every time I teach. Have a great week and Ill see you for another GREAT class soon 🙂 We’ll train hard so you can RELAX harder 😉