Sometimes I have to learn things over and over again. It's a little bit ridiculous.
Lately (I mean like the past year or so) I’ve gotten into this habit of fitting my exercise into the pockets of time I have between clients. So I workout 20 minutes here, 30 minutes there, and by the end of the day I’ve usually logged between 60 and 90 minutes of exercise. Plenty of exercise, right??
This strategy means I can’t workout too hard because while I have time to shower I do not typically have time to wash and style my hair because, hello, a client is coming.
This is actually super cool because washing and styling my hair is a total time suck. I can wash my (wildly out-of-control curly) hair just a few times per week after my long run days. I like this set up.
But… a couple of months ago I started to notice that I was getting pretty soft, Pillsbury soft, around the middle. “Fine”, I grumbled, “Self, it is time to tighten up the diet”.
Everyone knows diet plays a bigger role in body composition than exercise. Especially personal trainers and nutrition junkies, we know this. So I started eating clean, super-duper- squeaky clean. After three months I was still soft and dough-y.
Then I read this article “What is Your Ideal Racing Weight?”. Did I mention that my time in the last two half marathons I ran was pretty disappointing. No, I did not mention it because I was ashamed and embarrassed that my last two half marathon times were sad-sack slow even though I was running my heart out.
I knew at least part of the problem was that I was about 6 or 7 pounds heavier than I was when I was running fast (fast is a relative term, I am not actually fast compared to anyone else other than me when I am not so fast).
The article suggested that the best way to get to your lightest, ideal racing weight and lowest body fat percentage was to get in the best shape of your life and measure your weight and body composition at that point.
That sounded like fun! I always want to be in the best shape of my life. Like it’s a crazy-silly goal that I just can’t let go...
While I was thinking about how I might accomplish this, I happened to go on an absurdly hilly run that is an absolutely killer training run. The run totally kicked my butt. It took about everything out of me to finish.
Ding, ding, ding went the bells in my head. That is what I’ve been missing…INTENSITY.
I challenged myself to commit to two to three workouts per week that would push me close to my limit and leave me sweat-drenched and beet-red at the end of the hour. I kept my diet clean, but maybe not so squeaky, and now a few months later there is less mess around the center of my body. I think my legs look nicer, too.
That was the lesson that I had to re-learn: intensity does matter. I cannot be at a level of fitness that I am content with by ho-humming it through my workouts. I also must, sadly, wash my hair every day...