If you are a living and breathing human being then you have fallen off the workout wagon at one time or another. Maybe you went away on a long vacation and never got back into the gym or may be your exercise routine got so stale and so boring that just the thought of doing it brought upon a long laborious sigh. No matter what the reason, big or small, it happens to ALL OF US. Yes- even trainers! So how is this a good thing?
First of all lets define “falling off the wagon”. Falling off the (exercise) wagon is a halt in regular and moderate physical activity for an extended period of time, which eventually results in negative health consequences. When I say “negative health consequences”, I am not talking about not being able to fit into your jeans from high school (I never know why people keep jeans that long anyways). I am talking about negative health consequences like elevated blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, unrelenting stress/anxiety, depression, lower back pain, and restless sleep patterns. YIKES!
Sounds lovely right? How could something like this be good?
To make this easier, lets look at falling off the workout wagon like a break-up from a romantic relationship.
Romantic relationships can end for many reasons; they lose excitement and become stale, each person might have different opinions on important matters or differing beliefs, one person doesn’t make time for the other, ect. The list goes on and on but what it comes down to are two people that are incompatible.
The same can be said about a failed workout routine. It was just not “the one” for you and it came to an end.
So what happens after a breakup after the overeating/undereating, the crying, the asking “why” and the rebound dates? You repeat history and start a new relationship with someone that is a copy of the one you broke up with (BAD!) or you take the failed relationship as a learning opportunity and choose someone different next time (GOOD!).
Falling off the workout wagon is a learning opportunity! When you take an extended hiatus away from an exercise routine it is important that you do some soul searching BEFORE jumping back onto the wagon. If you skip this, be ready to repeat history and then eventually back off that wagon you go.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before jumping back onto the wagon:
What was the main reason I stopped working out?
How did I feel my old workout routine make me feel physically and emotionally?
What part was I responsible for the workout routine not working (it takes 2 baby!)
Was it the exercise itself or the environment in which I was in during the exercise that made me not like it?
Was I exercising to please other people or was I doing it for myself?
This list could go on and on, but you get the idea. Just like in the dating world, you need to take some time for reflection and personal growth or you might be doomed to repeat history.
One caveat here: reflection is one thing but paralysis by analysis in another. It can be even more debilitating to over analyze your situation if it leads to even further inaction and avoidance.
So if you’re in a bad workout relationship and fear the end is near, it might be time to jump ship and start anew with a fresh perspective and clear vision. And if you are currently off the wagon, good news! You have an amazing opportunity to look at your past workouts and grow from your past. This could mean taking a new class, joining a partner in their workout, or even returning to a workout you love but with a deeper commitment level and a fresh set of eyes.
Each time we fall off the wagon we are given the amazing opportunity to grow and refine our approach to fitness and our personal health. Fall down 1000 times and get up 1001!
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”