Let me start with a confession: I have not worked out for the past month. This situation is surprising because I love training and have exercised regularly for the last twenty five years, rarely missing a session. At age 22, I started doing boot camp-style classes three times per week, gradually increasing their frequency, intensity, and efficiency, and then added weight training to my regime. I practiced bodybuilding seriously between 2009 and 2013, both before and after competiting in a figure show. Even during my subsequent pregnancy and post-partum periods I went to the gym every day that I was not booked with my personal trainer, except during the few months following my cesarean section, when I was forbidden from lifting anything over ten pounds. Now here I sit in Cortona, Italy, completely healthy and injury free but still not inclned to work out. WTF is going on?
To be honest I am not exactly sitting around in Cortona, twiddling my thumbs. I am regularly moving, mostly upwards with grunting glute muscles. Cortona is a medieval town perched upon a steep hilltop. With every step, inhabitants of this delightfully maze-like village are either ascending or descending. My 30-pound and rather gigantic 15-month-old son is usually strapped on my back or sitting in his stroller while I go uphill. Though I do incline sled pushes all day long, I do not consider the effort involved to be “working out” since it is not focused or targeted. While inside my apartment with stunning views, I am either chasing my son away from the bidet—he considers it a child-sized play fountain—or crawling on my hands and knees, pretending to be a rabid horse. This physical activity is nevertheless not comparable to the full body workouts, split training, and cardio sessions that I was doing until a short time ago.
I stopped going to the gym for two weeks before flying to Cortona because I simply had too much to do. I tend to work flat out all the time, and am not easily stressed. I am always overburdened and have never had a single moment where I could sit back, sigh with contentment, and think “well that is a job well done; now I can enjoy a weekend off.” HA! Whenever my LSP asks me if I am busy, I answer “I have one hundred years of work left,” which I am sure bugs the shit out of him. But it is more or less true. So the excuse of being “too busy” to exercise does not hold much weight for me. All the same, during the last two weeks of April I was sincerely “too busy” to make it to the gym, and I also did not eat regular meals or take pee breaks while scrambling to meet a number of deadlines before my trip.
Skipping work outs is a horrible punishment for me because I get angry, sore, and resentful as a result.
The gym is my special protected time—it is the only me time I have left in my life—and it always makes me feel better, no matter how tired I am that day. And yet now that I have stopped, I am reluctant to restart my workouts in Cortona. Am I being lazy? Or is my body telling me to take a break? I am not sure that I can trust my body right now, as it is also telling me to eat shitloads of panforte and gelato. I will not even mention the bread and red wine. How can I tell if I am resting and recovering or being a lazy slob? Is there some kind of quiz I can take that would solve this dilemma? Please send me any advice you might have. In the meantime, I will be carrying gigantor around while eating and drinking to my heart’s content.