I have been wanting to write on this topic for awhile but didn’t know when would be a good time, you see, I kind of wanted to wait for a personal experience to spark an emotion so that it wouldn’t end up being some dry old blog post. I really feel that a blog post about a slump should not only educate you on what to do to get out of it but also recharge and inspire you too!
Well, now that I’ve built it up, I’m going to try to live up to they hype.
A little over a month ago I changed the way I ate. Not what I ate or even the amount I ate just WHEN I ate (you can read about my intermittent fasting story here and here). I needed this change because emotional eating was beginning to take over. I wasn’t eating unhealthily most of the time but there were times when it was bad, really bad.
With intermittent fasting I was now not eating until 10-11 a.m. which meant that working out first thing in the morning was no longer ideal for me. I know there are people who lift weights fasted but I tried it and I just felt weak, I needed to eat before I worked out with weights to get all the benefits.
To make a long story short, the new focus and extra care I was giving to my eating habits meant that I was now slumping in my workouts
This slump made me feel completely out of sorts, I felt lethargic, I felt foggy in my head, and I just felt like I wasn’t totally “me”. Now, maybe these feelings are extreme because my daily workouts are such integral part of who I am but I think most people probably get into a slump (fitness related) and feel somewhat defeated and out of sorts because they are trying to make fitness a bigger part of their lives.
I think a lot of people hit a slump and fall out of their exercise routine because that initial “high” they get from a good workout slowly fades out of memory. It is hard to hang on to a feeling if you forget what it “feels” like, are you with me?
You might want to get back there but for some reason you just. . .can’t. . .do it. The slump is in full effect and now you feel as if you can’t do anything, you are stuck.
So, what SHOULD you do if you hit a slump?
The first thing you need to do is recognize the behavior as its happening. If you recognize it in its early stages it is so much easier to tackle then if you are already in a slump for a week or more.
How do you recognize the “slump” behavior?
I think its different for everyone. If you are someone who is active daily and it has become habit, then falling off course for a day or two might not break your stride. As the saying goes, “habits die hard”, so, you are most likely going to be able to pick back up again with no problem. However, if you are just starting to get the wheels going on a fitness program and your goal is to be working out 4-5 days a week, then skipping one or two workouts in a row might actually qualify as a slump because you have not yet created the healthy habit and therefore could revert back to not working out at all.
As soon as you recognize the behavior as a slump, get moving! I don’t mean the exact minute that it comes to realization but, I think ideally you should take action within the same day 24 hours.
What do you mean by “action”?
Again, it is different for everyone. For me, I was still working out but my workouts were nowhere near at the level they were before I started intermittent fasting, so, I took action by tweaking my food timing so that I was eating at more ideal times to coincide with my workouts. For someone just starting out, it might mean taking a walk around the block, doing some jumping jacks in the living room, or going to the store to buy stuff to make a healthy meal.
Lastly, but probably most important, you need to look back at the experience and learn from it. What circumstances led to you getting in to the slump? What were the first signs (for you) that you were in a slump? Did your family, friends, or workout partners notice (ask them!)? When you finally broke the slump pattern, how did you feel (mentally, physically?). It is good to look at not just the negative feelings associated with this incident but also the positive feelings you felt AFTER.
Remember, slumps can happen to ANYONE, even those who have been working out for years. Be mindful of your behavior, take positive action when you recognize a slump, and never forget to LEARN from the experience! A slump is not a failure, it is a bump in the road.