Haven’t heard from me regarding exercise in awhile, huh. Were you beginning to think I’d quit shredding? If you were, think again.
It’s been a crazy week at our house. Emma, my almost-4 year old came down with croup on Wednesday and has been in a constant state of crazy for the past few days. Chris has had an on-the-fly case of the sniffles, and since maladies work on the rule of 3 in our home it was only a matter of time before I caught something (not the croup, but equally unpleasant and undoubtedly spurred on by (men divert your eyes for a moment) just having started my period. Gah).
By Saturday morning I had the inevitable “hit by a truck” feeling that no amount of hand sanitizer and luck could have prevented. I tried to power my way through a workout in the morning but I caved in the middle of warm up jumping jacks. I was too achy to go on so I hit stop on the DVD player and called it a day. I was up and running again on Sunday, but then on Monday I felt like someone hit me in the face with a brick and took another day to rest up.
I was curious about what the verdict is on exercising while sick, and found a key piece of knowledge while garnering advice from good ol’ Dr. Google. Have you ever heard of the “neck rule”? Here’s a snippet from an article on CNN.com, but I saw it mentioned in multiple other articles as well:
“Experts like to cite a rule of thumb known as the “neck rule.” If your symptoms are all located above your neck (stuffy nose, scratchy throat, headache), you almost certainly have a head cold and can hit the road or treadmill safely. If, on the other hand, you have a fever, congestion in your chest and lungs, or feel achy, it is probably a sign of flu, bronchitis, or another more serious ailment, and you should rest up. (Exercising with a fever will make you more vulnerable to dehydration, among other ill effects.)”
What’s your take on exercising while sick? Do you take a day to rest up and get well, or do you power through and stick to your routine? Let us know in the comments section below!
Day 15: The second day of the Level 2 workout was just as hard. I previously considered going back to Level 1 but decided against it at the last minute, realizing that I couldn’t avoid it forever if I wanted to progress in the program. So I sucked it up and succumbed to another day of torture. I won’t lie, it was equally as awful as the day before, but I had a serious sense of accomplishment for sticking with it and not giving up. And some quick napkin math gave me another sense of accomplishment as I’ve now made it halfway through the 30 Day Shred. Woot!
Day 16: This is day 3 of Level 2. I usually work out in leggings, but they were all dirty so I threw on a pair of running shorts. In the middle of plank jacks, I heard clapping. Was that Emma cheering me on to the finish line? No. It was my inner thighs slapping together each time I brought in the plank jack. Even in the solitude of my living room with nobody around to witness, I was embarrassed (although apparently not embarrassed enough to talk about it to millions of strangers via the interwebs) and contemplated stopping. But then something happened. See, I have this weird quirk that causes my inner monologue to relate even the most mundane of life events to movie scenes. And as my inner thighs were noising away, all I could think of was this:
and all of a sudden I was much less mortified and much more motivated. If my inner thighs want to cheer me on all the way to the finish line, then that’s AWESOME.
By the way, I haven’t worked out in my running shorts since then.
Day 17: Things are beginning to look up for me. Level 2 of the 30 Day Shred no longer makes me dread getting out of bed in the morning. There are a few things I’d like to point out, especially to those of you who are (or will be) facing this workout with trepidation.
First of all, Level 2 is very hard. You’ll be panting more, sweating more and wanting to die more. There is a lot more pressure on the joints, and my knees became constantly sore after the first day of Level 2. Even after triple checking my form against the girls on the TV screen, I’m convinced that I was doing something wrong. This brings me to my second point.
After the constant discomfort of trying to follow Jillian and Natalie, I caved and started following Anita (for those of you who aren’t familiar with the 30 Day Shred, Anita does “easier” modified versions of the moves). At first I was saving Anita’s moves for the moments when I actually thought I was going to collapse, and lovingly referred to her as “Anita Break” (get it? I need a break! Ha! Okay, maybe it wasn’t that funny. Whatever. Moving on). But with all the aches and pains, I realized that she’s not there for the lazies and incompetents (an ignorant misconception that I inherited through my pride). She’s there because not everybody can start with a bang, and the smart thing to do is know your limits and ease yourself into things so that you don’t injure yourself. Pushing my pride aside, I’ve started following Anita for a majority of the moves and have found them to still be challenging, but minus the knee pains. Moral of the blabbery? If you’re in actual pain, not just whiny I-hate-exercising pain, you’re either doing it wrong or your body is trying to tell you to chill the frak out (Battlestar Gallactica reference. 10 nerd points if you caught that).
In short, do what you can and if you have to, personalize your workout to cater to your abilities. If you’re not a great swimmer and you jump in on the deep end, you might just drown. Start at the shallow end and practice, and soon enough you’ll be doing laps like a champ.
Day 18: Saturday had us all down in the dumps, so I had to lay low for a day. As I explained to my dad, when I’m sick enough that the act of putting on my sports bra is an exercise in itself, it’s probably a good idea to not work out that day. Super Bowl Sunday arrived with the anticipation of excessive food consumption and I promised myself that I wouldn’t skip the pre-game workout for anything. Despite feeling awful the day before, I worked out like a rock star and felt great for the rest of the day. I skipped the plank jacks and replaced them with regular jumping jacks for the sake of my knees, but I otherwise killed it.
Day 19: Unfortunately, what I thought was an upswing of my health was just a lull and Monday arrived with a sickly vengance. I felt like crud and took another day to rest. I started to beat myself up over taking multiple break days again, but then realized that if I didn’t allow my body to recuperate I’d be missing much more than a day here and there. This morning I jumped out of bed with determination and didn’t let a measly case of possible laryngitis get in my way. It was hard to breathe toward the end with my sore throat but I made it through. I’m still sick but I feel great – does that make sense?
Tomorrow is my 20th workout day and should technically be my last day of Level 2. But since I didn’t start Level 2 until day 14, I’m going to work at it a few more times. Maybe I should be calling this the 39 Day Shred?
If you missed the previous updates you can click on the links below to check them out: