It’s been a long six weeks. It’s going to be a long six weeks more.
I am currently smack dab in the middle of a twelve week booking which, in conjunction with my various other commitments, means that the first day I will have off since the first of September is Thanksgiving.
I think I have Thanksgiving off…
This is not a complaint, by the way. Fortunately – very fortunately – I passionately love what I do. I genuinely look forward to every performance as an actor and every opportunity to train with a client or class. I am blessed to leave work every day – whatever particular job or assignment that may be – genuinely even more energized than when I arrived to start. I am lucky.
But I am busy. And the fact that the days are often filled with scattered and unrelated purposes – travel, training, paperwork, performing, interviewing, writing, and laundry (don’t forget the laundry) – means that that blissful work nirvana, Singularity Of Purpose, often eludes me.
I preface this post this way not to say that I am busier than any of you. Far from it. Such is the pace and style of modern life. We’ve all got a lot on our plates.
I write this to say, I feel ya. And also to say that these moments, moments when we are most likely to relax our diets or our work out schedules because, frankly, Haven’t we done enough today already?, are EXACTLY the moments when we most need to double down and ENSURE that we eat well, move well, and live well.
I speak from experience.
This past weekend I stepped off the reservation, so to speak. The biggest indulgence was bread, and a fair amount of it. Delicious bread, mind you, no Wonder Bread here. I’m talking great sourdoughs and terrific french sticks. My other sins were those of omission: insufficient vegetables, lacking proteins, and “no time” for exercise.
Essentially what I’m saying is, I ate and lived like an American for four days.
Man, did I pay.
I got back into the swing of things Tuesday, eating better and hitting my own WOD again, but I’m telling you I was not performing at my best. This should be no surprise to anyone, least of all me, but it was a terrific reminder of an horrific truth.
This is how I used to live my life.
And it’s how most people live every day.
As a trainer, I am expected to set the example. So, frankly, writing this post – this confession – is a little uncomfortable for me. But I feel it’s important to do so for two reasons. The first is to reassure one and all that trainers are absolutely human, too. We were not gifted with a distaste for chocolate and natural hatred of comfort and relaxation. We have just come to learn through experience that the aches and pains of exercise are better than the aches and pains of being too weak to help a neighbor with a project or or too tired to play with our kids in the backyard. We have learned that the food we eat is fuel for the body and mind and not just a drug for the tastebuds. And this weekend was a reminder of that.
I also write this not only to humanize the challenges we all face, but to remind you – as I started this piece – that the times of our highest stress and anxiety is exactly when we most need to may extra attention to our diet and exercise regimes, not when you ‘give yourself a pass.’
I was not ill Wednesday morning. I even got up and out and hit the gym to make sure I carried on the right path. But I’m telling you, as far as being a functioning productive individual, I was useless until about 2:00 pm. Just as a particularly hard WOD hits you about 36-48 hours after the event, so too do the damaging effects of indulgence. Zero energy. Zero clarity. Zero productivity. Today, in the middle of these twelve weeks of constant motion, I completely stalled. I had, essentially, put the cheap gas in my tank and the engine conked out because of it.
It’s not worth it.
I have said elsewhere, soldiers don’t train so they look good in their uniforms and firefighters don’t train so they sound cool in their breathing apparatus. They train so that when it’s crunch time, when the stress is on, when the world is upside down, they carry on.
It’s a lesson good for one and all.