When Does “Being Disciplined” Go Too Far?

I’m sure we all know someone who never misses a workout- no matter how tired, busy, sick, hungover, etc.- they will do whatever it takes to get a workout in. Full disclosure: this was me, to a certain extent,  up until just a few years ago.  And while some people may still think that’s me (social media only shows a little part of who I am!), these days I take plenty of rest days, especially if any of the above mentioned things are happening. Now, working out is a GOOD thing. A POSITIVE thing. Not a punishment or something I feel like I HAVE to do.

I got to thinking about this because I’ve heard a lot of people lately talk to me about people in their lives who never miss a workout, and these people tell me this in a way that almost makes it seem like their friend/family member/coworker/significant other is better than them for it: “He/She is so disciplined- never misses a run or a workout.”,  “He/She is always at the gym! I don’t know how he/she finds time for it”,  “He/She works out before work and after work- talk about dedication!”.

This got me to thinking- is this good? Is this something admirable? Is this something we should praise people for? Is this something we should strive for? Or compare ourselves to? When does “being disciplined” go too far, and end up controlling your day to day activities and schedule?

In short, no. I don’t think we should compare ourselves to those who are “so disciplined”. I don’t think we should think we are less than those who are “so disciplined” because we take rest days, skip days, do lighter workouts, etc. At the end of the day, we are all different and we all need/want different things. Our bodies are different and work differently, so what works for some people might not work for you- and that is OK.

But, coming from a recovering exercise addict, I can say it’s not for me, and I am so much happier not being “disciplined”. In fact, I put the word in quotations because I don’t actually believe it’s being disciplined when you never let yourself miss a workout or take some time off. Our bodies need rest. They need time off in order to help us recover, repair and build muscle. When I was working out day after day for 10-14 days in a row (embarrassed to admit that!), I was always tired, I was always sore and I was more prone to injury. Plus, mentally it was awful. If I missed a day I would feel so awful and so guilty. I would feel “good” if I did a class or two or an hour-two hour workout. I would feel “bad/guilty” if I missed a workout or took a rest day. And you know what? For me, that was no way to live.

At this point, some may say I’m not “disciplined”, but that’s ok- I’m healthy and I’m happy and I have a much better relationship with my mind and my body. I workout because it makes me happy and feel good. But I also rest because it makes me happy and feel good. There’s a fine line to find this balance and I’ll be the first to admit that coming from one end or the other of it, this balance likely won’t happen overnight. It’s something that requires work, but I’m so happy that I’ve worked for it because I am much happier and healthier (mentally and physically) because of it.

With that, I urge those of you who might compare yourself to others who seemingly “always workout” to stop comparing yourself- you don’t know what might be driving them to push themselves so hard. And for those of you who might still be struggling with taking rest days without feeling guilty, I just want to say it takes time to fully embrace the rest, but it is GOOD to rest and take time off from intense physical activity. I’m not saying you need to sit on the couch and do nothing, but maybe swap out a run or lift session for a long walk or some other “active rest” activity (shopping, stretching, cleaning, etc.).

I plan to do another post with more specific ways to learn how to embrace rest, so I would love to hear your tips, struggles, challenges, successes, etc. I love being able to incorporate your tips, trial and error experiences and things of the like. So- do you tend to align more with the “ultra disciplined” end of the workout spectrum, the middle or do you struggle with motivation to workout? Have you had to work to move from one end of the spectrum to the other? If so, what worked or didn’t work? What was the most helpful?

I did something I never do…

TGIF, right?! This week has been rough… I had to go back to the dermatologist on Monday, I’ve taught a bunch of classes already, had to have a bunch of blood drawn for testing, and, to top it off, I did something I never do: I set my alarm incorrectly and missed a morning class I had signed up to take.

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Most of you are probably going “ok, Monique. Stop being so dramatic. You missed a class, big deal!”, right? I wouldn’t have been so upset if I wasn’t going to be charged $20 for the class AND losing one of my ClassPass classes.

On Monday night, I set my clothes out, had my bag packed and even went to bed early to make sure I got enough sleep!

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What really bothered me the most, was the fact that I completely spaced out when setting my alarm. I hate doing dumb stuff, and I’m always very good about my alarm and setting multiple (just in case!), so to have set it incorrectly and to not have woken up on my own bothered me (I told you I was super Type A!).

There’s nothing like the feeling when you wake up and know something isn’t right. Before I even opened my eyes, I could tell it was light out, which wouldn’t have been the case at 6am. I quickly realized it was light out because it was 7:24am, NOT 6am. Clearly my body needed rest, which I tried to tell myself, but at the time, it didn’t help.

I ended up surviving (so dramatic), and everything worked out: the ClassPass contact totally understood the situation, reversed the $20 charge and gave me my class back- how is THAT for amazing customer service?? It makes me love ClassPass even more 🙂

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So, even though I may not think this way in the heat of the moment (and I get too worked up about stuff in general), I think everything does happen for a reason. My body needed more sleep, which during a crazy week, is something I should have embraced, rather than getting upset. And, at least it wasn’t a class I was supposed to teach… that would have been the worst!

Questions for you: When’s the last time you did something dumb like set your alarm incorrectly? Do you need an alarm to wake up or do you have a good internal clock? Do you overreact when your plans don’t go the way you wanted them do?

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I’m looking forward to a quiet night tonight (after going to Recycle!) and tomorrow I am going to a wine tasting and lunch at Stephi’s on Tremont after teaching kickboxing 🙂 Just a heads up- I will be traveling to Texas Monday-Wednesday, but I will have posts lined up for you!

Also, sending very HAPPY BIRTHDAY wishes to my dear friend, Caitlin! xoxo