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Old 12-07-2010, 01:55 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Newbie Exerciser Queston

This whole exercise thing is pretty new to me, so forgive what may seem like a silly question. Would four days off of exercise make the comeback day really difficult?

I started exercising regularly just over three weeks ago, and have been exercising in some way most days. I've tried to mix it up with hard cardio on one day, warmup cardio the next with weight sets, and stretching/lunghing, etc with my wii on the next day, then repeat. This has been a bit hard because I love how I feel when I exert myself on the cardio and it makes me want to do it every day but I heard that's not necessarily good.

Anyway, was away for the weekend and couldn't fit in a workout two days before, so I was four days off what had been a pretty aggressive (for me) routine. Today, I tried to jump back in where I left off on cardio, speed, amount of time, etc. and found I was pretty fatigued very early (beginning around the 15 minute mark of 40mins). I pushed through but found my shins really aching. I wasn't breathing heavier than usual and my heart rate was in the same range at different speeds as usual. This was at the same time of day I normally work out. I ate well today, and stayed well hydrated.

Odd factors...I didn't eat quite as healthily over the weekend as I have been. Calories were ok, but food choices not as wholesome as I'd like. I
didn't sleep quite as much as I like. Also, it was _very_ cold in the gym.

Just an off day? Too long a break? One of the odd factors sound suspicious?

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 12-07-2010, 03:01 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi DB! In my experience, I definitely feel it if I've been away from it for four days. That's happened over vacation this summer and again over Thanksgiving, and also at one point when I was under the weather. I do feel like I'm not quite on my game, feel a little more sluggish, etc. I'm also usually cranky; missing workouts feels bad mentally as well as physically. Four days is usually as long as I can let myself go before I snap out of it.

As for the cold, I'd agree with that, too, whether or not there's any truth to it. Make sure you do a thorough warmup when working out in the cold. I ran Sat. night in a drizzle and chilly temps, and afterward felt more muscle fatigue and felt like I took longer to recover than when I've done the same route in better weather. Plus I was only a week removed from the Thanksgiving holiday and had only been back eating clean since Tuesday. So all of your factors were probably similar for me and I definitely think they played a role.

Sounds like you are doing a good job getting to know how your body responds to things; that's really important in the journey, so congrats! Keep up the good work
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Old 12-07-2010, 03:09 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Cheers, Cassie. Sounds like it might be a normal after-break kind of experience. I won't let it slow me up...this all feels too good!

I appreciate your taking the time to reply so thoughtfully.

Happiness and health,

Matt
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Old 12-07-2010, 03:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I wanted to stress something that Cassie already mentioned. Warmup and stretching is critical. Especially as your workout environment cools down. Like you my shins can cause me pain. I found that if I spend just a few minutes strecthing before running I don't get the pain. I stand on a step, support myself with my hand on a wall and my heels hanging off the step. Then I lower my heels, raise back to the starting position and repeat several times. Stretching after your exercise will help with recovery also. Hope this helps with the shins!
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Old 12-07-2010, 05:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you too, Ron. This was a good thing to happen to underscore the idea of properly stretching and warming up. I think I've been kidding myself into believing that the warmup and cooldowns on the machine programs are doing it for me. I don't want to be lazy about it, and good to break the bad habit early. I will give this a try tonight but I sure hope they've fixed the heat in the gym by then.
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Old 12-07-2010, 07:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default A couple of days off isn't really a bad thing

Hi DB,
It sounds like you have been pushing yourself pretty hard. Since your muscles will do the building as they repair from exercise while you rest, taking a few days off really won't hurt. I could invoke the "life is a marathon, not a sprint" thing here.

When I am training for a race a day off inbetween a work out is almost manditory. Otherwise I am subject to all kinds of injuries and the workouts stop being fun. Your fatigue may just be your body's way to trying to catch up. Don't worry about it. You'll be back up to full speed soon enough.

It sounds like you have a great routine and attitude! But sometimes it is good to listen to your body. Achy shins could be shin splints - not debilitating - but a good signal that you are over training a little. (How about that! Ever think that you would love exercise so much that you could over do it?)

As others have noted, stretching is a great way to both warm up (but do it gently when you are still cold) and even better, cool down. It can also substitute for a work out on days when you body is just not up to a hard workout.

Keep up the great work!

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Old 12-08-2010, 02:16 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks, Pam. I'm hearing a lot of good advice about the value of taking a day off. As much as I'm getting addicted to sweating my butt off, I also want my body to be able to use all that work. I think I'm going to add a healthy, non-exercise routine to my schedule at least a couple of days a week. Maybe I'll spend the time planning out healthy and delicious meals, or cooking things I can eat over the next couple of days. I'll feel like I'm still working toward my goals without working against them.

I know it sounds like I have a ridiculous amount of time on my hands, and I guess I do. Life always seemed so busy, but the more I've paid attention to making my health a priority, the less interested I've been in watching tv and sitting in front of the computer. I'm hoping I can keep taking advantage of this time in my life when I have fewer obligations to prepare for when that's not true.

Thanks everyone. Stay happy and healthy!
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Old 12-08-2010, 04:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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First of all, congratulations on your newfound passion for exercise! How exciting that you've thrown yourself so enthusiastically into it!

Usually I find that 3-4 days is a weird intermediate "break" from working out, and I get more tired and can't recover as fast if I rest just that long. 1-2 days seems fine, and taking a week off feels okay too (I guess my body goes into complete relaxation or something), but just resting 3-4 days really throws my body off balance. It's kind of like 1.5-hour sleep cycles; you can sleep 6 hours or 7.5 hours just fine, but if you sleep 6.5 hours you wake up groggy! Just wanted to add another possibility.

Also, if you want to do something different, but you still want that high-exertion, "runner's high" feeling you get from cardio, I wrote an exercise plan on this FD thread you can check out.
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My rules:
1) eat real food - more vegetables, moderate meat, moderate fruits, less grains, less sugar, less vegetable oils.
2) exercise - moderate intensity cardio, sprinting, heavy lifting, dedicated stretching and mobility.
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Disclaimer: I'm not professionally qualified to make any formal recommendations. I've just done my homework and I'm my own guinea pig. All of my data, unless otherwise cited, comes from a sample size of n=1 (me).
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Old 12-08-2010, 05:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default 3 to 4 days

Actually Tandorri,
You are right, I have had the same experience with 3 to 4 days. Kind of a tweener - not a day-off rest, and not a week off down time. So, DB it looks like you accidently stumbled into the twilight zone of the exercise routine. In any event, I am guessing that by now you have recovered and are back on track!
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks tandoori (man, now I want indian food). I think you guys are right that I hit some kind of twilight zone. I'm feeling good and strong now, though the boiler problem is still affecting my gym. I appreciate the link to your exercise suggestions. It's good to have routines that I don't have to go to the gym for.

I'm ok with most of those exercises, but any form of squats still absolutely kill me. I'm thinking that means I need to keep doing them
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Starting: 11/14/2010, 350 lbs (Yikes!)
Current : 03/31/2010, 295 lbs
RESTART
Starting:1/20/2012, 335 lbs
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Goal 1: 302 lbs 04/01/2012 April Fools 10% Challenge
Goal 2: 271 lbs 07/04/2012 4th of July 10% Challenge
Goal 3: 247 lbs 10/01/2012
Ultimate Goal 160 lbs 05/31/2013
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