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Saturday, July 3, 2010

For my dear and fellow work-out-aholic-friends

Reader's Note: Although this may be a food blog, this particular post is not about food, because as much as I think and dream about the stuff constantly, indulgences do not come without a price and us fraîche femmes sometimes need to work off our Camembert and wine binges.

Hi, my name is Liana and I am a work-out-aholic. For those who work out regularly (or obsessively) like myself, you know just as well as I that we have our ups and our downs, our highs and our lows. I find my self having the same frustrated conversations with fellow work-out-aholics EC and M-Sac every couple weeks: we've gained weight, we're tired, we're bored, etc etc etc...just to be followed by some very passionate conversations about how incredible our run was the other day and how lean we feel just a few short days later. Looking at us from the outside, you'd probably think we're psychotic, but being the work-out-aholics that we are, we get each other, we get it. So in lieu of the fact that my morning consisted of two back-to-back frustrated convos, my recent obscene amount of sodium intake due to a soupy diet, and a shortened work day courtesy of a painful mouth, I have compiled a list of how I deal with those ruts that get us all so down, that make us feel like work-out-amateurs all over again, that bring out the previous heavy self-conscious version of our self we thought we were rid of for good. So here are my tips, from one addict to the other. By no means do they have any medical significance, they're just what work for me and keep me sane when I'm about to pull my hair out strand for strand.

Neurosis #1: OMG I gained weight. I can feel it, I can see it. I give up.
fraîche advise: If you work out regularly, as in multiple times a week every week (breaks saved for vacations or surgeries) than chances are you did not gain weight over night. Consuming an extra 100 calories the odd couple times a week and/or being a bit more lax in your workout for a few days will not ruin your progress. If you gained pounds on the scale chances are you're bloated, retaining water, or eating too much salt.

that leads me to my next tip:
Neurosis #2: I am both bloated and dehydrated all at the same time. I feel like a giant puffy whale.
fraîche advice: Rule #1-do not try to flush out your excess salt by drowning yourself in water. In my experience, it only makes the situation worse. Instead, consume your regular amount of water and schedule in a trip to your favorite cycling class. I promise you if you stop drinking water, you're body will be able to rid itself of all the build up, especially by sweating it out. Spend the rest of the day (or next couple days, if necessary) avoiding diet Pepsi splurges (that might tempt you during lunch rushes), avoid eating red onions raw in your salad, and try to stay away from any form of packaged food.

Neurosis #3: OMG I suck at working out. I can't even run my regular run, my legs are so tired and my feet are dragging. I will never recover I should just give up at working out because I'm an unfit sloth.
fraîche advice: Relax, you don't suck. There's a couple reasons for this usually. a) If you're legs are too tired to do your regular run, chances are you're the exact opposite of lazy and you've in fact been working yourself a wee bit too hard. Shorten your runs for a week and try switching it up with something like swimming (my current obsession, which has actually lasted me since the early winter so I think it's an obsession that's here to stay), or the elliptical, or spinning. b) My legs feel bulky and heavy when I do leg weights so I try to save those for the end of the week when I won't be running for a couple days. c) I also usually go through a mid-week bloading feel, where all my workouts seem to build up into my muscles and I feel like I've gained a few pounds despite watching my diet religiously and having great workouts. I've come to recognize this is norm, though, so I don't sweat it--it's nothing a good Saturday morning spin class with Paolo can't fix. d) I usually run on a treadmill, but sometimes in nice weather I take it outside to switch up the scenary. The impact on pavement is much more intense that it is inside, and my body isn't used to running inclines or against elements, so usually by the end of those weeks or runs I find my body feels quite sluggish. Just rest it out, take it back inside for a few days and you'll be golden.

Neurosis #4: (this one inspired by my convos this morning, in particular) Weights make me bulky and mannish. That's it, I'm cutting them out for good now.
fraîche advice: Although I am no expert weight lifter, and many say any work I do with dumbbells is reversed by my 45 minute daily runs, especially friend and personal trainers MG and DJ, I do recommend that weights, even if it is a weak effort, be included in at least half your sessions. Breaks are acceptable and definitely necessary, however, cutting it out completely has led to quite a few collisions at work as I walk with my head down, transfixed on the cottage cheese ripple that has appeared on my right thigh. I prefer circuits with high reps and relatively low reps--always keeps me motivated and doesn't kill my energy.

Neurosis #5: I hate food. I especially hate salad, canned tuna, salmon, veggies, light cool whip and yogurt. I am so bored of everything so I just won't eat anymore until I can't take the hunger pangs anymore and I consume a whole box of sugary cereal in one sitting (or a whole tube of ice cream, or peanut butter, whatever your thing may be)
fraîche advice: I do not judge those who count their calories, in fact, I do it myself. And yes, I watch my carb intake too, limiting it to earlier meals. However, I save at least, one to two days a week for my indulgences. Anything goes on these days, my diet journal is shoved away, resos are usually made and lots and lots of bread is consumed. Somehow, when the next day comes I don't feel gross or fat, but I usually feel just as good as I did all week, if not better. I've read some articles on carb-cycling, I like the way those people think. We need breaks, often ones, too, to remain sane (and to enjoy life)

I'm going to stop here, because my posts always seem to end up being so ridiculously long, even when I intend for them to be short and sweet. And also because my paranoia are creeping up as I continue to think about them. But I will leave you with one last parting note. Sometimes I will go through an entire week feeling gross. How do I deal with it? I just do. It's happened so many times now (and I've recovered through each and every scenario) for me to know it's just a bad week. The more you think about it, the more you'll believe it, the more you'll be hard on yourself, the harder you'll work, the more tired you'll feel, the more inclined you'll be to give up, the more likely you'll be to feel even more gross and disgusting than you did to begin with. Just relax, give yourself a break, cut your body some slack, and I promise next week will get better, you will learn to run again, those couple pounds you've convinced yourself you've put on will be gone soon enough. Remember that you're body is not a foreign object but a part of you, so treat it with the same respect you'd expect someone else to treat you with.



Blogger Flunkiejunkie said...

I really enjoyed this post. I am a work-out-a-holic, too, and your comments on bloating/gain are exactly what I struggle with. This weekend, I blew it on beer (Canada Day!) and can't believe I didn't piece that together - no wonder I am bloated! :-)
Thanks for a great reminder that we are sometimes too hard on ourselves.

July 4, 2010 at 4:17 AM  
Blogger Liana said...

Thanks for the comment! Don't stress about the holidays, that is what they're made for, right? I am always too hard on myself! Sometimes I feel like I need to write out these kinds of things to help force myself to start to listen to them...

July 4, 2010 at 7:23 AM  

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