The Three Day Rule

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I used to teach with a health/phys. ed teacher who was in great shape and followed one rule – Never go more than three days between workouts.  He said it would be like starting all over again and that consistency was key.  Plus, you could lose your motivation. That totally made total sense to me and I actually followed that rule for a long time.  In fact, I used to exercise 5 days  a week.  My workouts consisted of brisk walking and occasionally lifting weights.  I was lucky that my girlfriends who lived close to me also liked to walk, so I always had a workout buddy. We tried to change up the scenery a little and would meet at a different person’s house on different days.  It was fantastic and I was consistent with my walking and working out, never going more than three days between workouts as advised.  I was feeling good.

Then, I moved to New Jersey and did not know anyone else besides my husband so I did not have a workout buddy right away.  I found a girl at school who liked to walk, but our schedules were never the same and we only did it a few times together.  She was a good workout buddy because she kept up with me (I tend to have a naturally fast gait even when I am not walking to exercise).  I soon realized that I would have to start working out by myself to stay consistent. And I did.  I would walk 4-5 days a week trying to find some hills to climb to make it more challenging. But then, I started to see the pounds creep on little by little.  I talked to some of my old workout buddies and they, too, were noticing that walking alone was not helping them lose or maintain their weight.  Now, I am not going to lie. I might have been eating a little more, too, but I thought walking would keep the weight off like it always had. But, nope.

A few of us started trying to incorporate jogging into our routines.  One of my best friends and I decided we would do the Couch to 5K program which trains you to do a 5K in 9 weeks.  I did it for a few weeks, but never really enjoyed it and certainly did not feel a “runner’s high” like so many others do. I did feel a  “runners ache” in my back, but that’s about it.  Still, I tried to jog a little here and there to speed up my metabolism since I heard that interval training is best.  My friend finished the program and ran a 5K and I was very proud of her.  My response to her finishing the program and running the race and me not doing either? I quit working out altogether.

For the past four months, I have been like a bear.  Putting on a few pounds, but thinking that I need the extra weight since it’s winter. If I have more insulation, I will be warmer. What if I get stranded in the snow and need to live on my fat reserves for a few days?  Plus, it’s too cold to walk outside and our treadmill is down the basement where it is also cold.  (Now, I just went snowboarding in 11 degree temperatures on Saturday, so it’s not like I cannot stand the cold or don’t have the proper clothing to workout in the winter. It was just another excuse.) I even posted about working out as one of my resolutions thinking that if I wrote it, I would do it!!  Well, I did it… once.  That’s right. I worked out ONE time since January 1st. Ugh.

Last night, everything changed. I read an article on how a woman’s metabolism greatly slows down in her 40s and realized I will be doomed if I do not make working out a part of my lifestyle FOR-EVER.  It needs to become a lifelong habit.  I have a treadmill for when it’s too cold outside (and will wear my cold-weather undergarments) and I have a great bike that my husband got me for my birthday.  I love biking and when it gets warmer, will be switching up walking with biking instead of jogging since I actually like biking.  If my body is going to try to work against me, I will fight back!

This morning, I put on my sweats and a long sleeve shirt and did the “Mountain Trail” program on my treadmill. It was a struggle and I wanted to stop a few times, but instead, I turned up the music and plugged forward.  It is sad for me to remember that the Mountain Trail program was too easy for me a few months back and I would rarely do it.  Today, it felt so challenging that I almost stopped.  And then I remembered, it’s been way more than three days.  It’s been more than three weeks and even three months.  So, what did I expect?

Never go more than three days between workouts. – That is my new mantra.  I know that today was probably the worst day and that every day will get a little easier.  I also know important healthy eating is, too.  Hopefully, this new rule will be followed!

Wish me luck!

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