How to Cope When You Have to Cut back
Cutting back on exercise while you’re on vacation probably isn’t too difficult to do, but being forced to cut back – in intensity or volume – for reasons like injury, health complications, or time commitment changes can be a challenge.
Whether your routine revolves around yoga, running, or cross-fit, it’s a staple in your life because it makes you feel good. You may not even realize how much you depend on the endorphin rush, the stress relief, and the feeling of accomplishment until you’re told you can’t push yourself as hard or as often as you’ve become accustomed to. And it’s tough!
My friends have been there. I have been there. I am there.
If you’re anything like me, you crave a plan, a routine, a purpose, and when you’re thrown off of this ideal plan, you feel a little lost. How do you cope when your doctor says your long runs are negatively effecting your hormones, or your physical therapist says no yoga until you address and fix your shoulder pain? You change your frame of mind and find a new way to make exercise fit into your life. Here’s how:
Adjust Your End Goal
I was used to having concrete running goals; hitting a personal best in the half marathon, running 25-30 miles each week, etc., but when intense intervals and endurance mileage was impeding my ability to start a family, my new end goal became getting my hormones in balance.
I focused on doing whatever I could to get a period back, which meant cutting down on mileage, boosting my calories in a healthy way, and ensuring my stress was well managed. Having a goal in mind made me feel I was working towards something, not simply doing less.
If you’ve suffered an injury, adjust your end goal to healing as efficiently as possible. Maybe your heavy weight lifting sessions have resulted in a muscle imbalance, which stretching and strengthening will help, so to get back where you want to be, you trade in cross-fit for yoga.
Focus on What You Can Do
You’re feeling discouraged that you can’t run as fast as you could 2 months ago because of a hamstring strain, or can’t get a workout in 5 days a week after having a second child, but getting upset that you can’t do your ideal routine doesn’t make you feel any better or change the situation.
Look at what your time and body can commit to now, and put your efforts into keeping a routine consistent with that. For me, that meant cutting out interval runs and limiting my runs to 3-5 miles, three days a week. This allowed for the stress relief and regular cardio routine that I craved, but wouldn’t push my body in a way that was disruptive to my hormones.
Maybe your knee pain has gotten so bad your doctor says no high impact activities for the next 6 weeks. Consider spin class over running, and find a weight training plan to keep a fitness goal in place.
If you’ve had a dramatic reduction in the time you can allot to exercise, look for ways to up the intensity so you can shorten your workouts. Change what you qualify as exercise and your options open up dramatically. If you can’t fit in your evening body pump class because you no longer have child care those nights, find a strength workout you can do at home (check out these resources!) or play tag in the yard with your kid.
There’s no one way to workout, and changing up your routine could be just the shock your body was craving!
Remember This Isn’t Permanent
While rehabbing a stress fracture seems to take an eternity, you won’t be in a boot forever. If you have young kids, they won’t need 24-7 supervision until they’re off to college. Look at this reduction in training as a time in your life, instead of the rest of your life. What you do for exercise will ebb and flow throughout your life, so instead of lamenting over what you can and can’t do, spend your energy finding what you can do at this time that makes you feel happy and healthy.
If you’re feeling frustrated and want help figuring out exercise habits that will work for you now, let’s talk! My Health Coaching programs are designed to help you get clarity on what’s most important and how to set realistic goals with the accountability you need to make them stick.