(Oops – forgot to hit Publish)

I hope you have been enjoying (in a manner of speaking) the fitness challenge this year. By this time, you are probably nearing your targets, or maybe you have even exceeded them. One of the things I have learned, looking back over the past year, is that the adrenaline and excitement (and sweat!) of a fitness challenge can get you pumped up.  When it’s all over, though, you can feel a real sense of let-down. That may seem strange, especially if you were pushing yourself to do something fairly intense. You can have a mix of relief (that it’s over) and something almost like disappointment (that it’s over). It’s strange.

What I have learned, though, is that we seem to go through cycles of activity, as opposed to a steady output. We are now into the final four days, so I’m still challenging you to finish strong, but I recommend that you plan to take a few days off when it’s over, even if you don’t feel you need it. My reasoning is to encourage you to get used to building recovery periods into your activity lifestyle. Do it in a planful way, so that you achieve your fitness goals, but you also take breaks which both your body and your mind need. You might even surprise yourself to discover (after a recovery period) that you want to get back at it.

If that happens, you will know you have achieved an active lifestyle where activity has become your default, and where rest/recovery periods actually stand out and may even feel a bit weird. I can remember being in training for a triathlon and I would get bent right out of shape if something unexpected interfered with a training workout. It had become my routine, and the disruption was very noticeable. [Don’t worry – I got over it].

I’m starting to think about what comes next after this fitness challenge. Last year, we heard about a Burpee challenge and so went into that right after February. I didn’t feel the “let-down” until the end of March, and then I really floundered around for a while trying to figure out what to do and feeling a bit guilty and very  aimless, almost like I was just wasting time. In retrospect, I think the break after kettlebells and then burpees was needed. NOW (older and wiser) I see the value of those workout breaks. They are much like summer-fallowing a field every so many years to let it recover and replenish itself.

You’re almost finished. Stay tough and finish strong! Then take a break.