One of the best things you can do if you want to be and stay healthy is build sustainable habits.
This means no crash dieting.
This means no punishing workout routines.
This also means being flexible and adaptable with all of it.
Over the weekend, I found myself doing yoga in the middle of my parents’ garage gym. I’d gone in with the intention of doing some full-body circuits, but when I realized how physically and mentally exhausted I was, it was clear that an hour of bending and balancing was going to be much more beneficial for my body and my brain than jumping around like a monkey on speed. Surrounded by iron and barbells, I chose the mat, and spent a blissful 70 minutes sun-salutation-ing and arm-balancing and chaturanga-ing to my heart’s content.
Did I deviate from my plan? Yes.
Did I feel better for it? Yes.
(And let’s not talk about how sore my donk was the next day from utkatasana-ing my ass off. It’s both humbling and annoying.)
The irony of practicing flexibility in training with actual flexibility training is not lost here. And honestly, just a year ago I probably would not have changed my workout when I realized how spent I was. But I’ve learned that one of the most important things about making training sustainable is that it needs to be enjoyable. If you dread your workouts, or if they are constantly draining (rather than energizing, empowering, or enjoyable), they will not be sustainable. Training in a way that you love and being able to adapt that training as necessary? Now that is sustainable. Being flexible and adaptable with your training requires paying attention to your body and its cues, and then honoring that. When you can push yourself with a ball-bustin’ workout, do it. When you need to step back and do something a bit gentler, do it. When you need to take an extra recovery day, do it. (That happened this past week, too.) This rhythm of evaluating and adjusting as needed means that training might not always going be a linear process, and that’s perfect…because life isn’t always linear, either.
Train well when you are able, rest well when you need to, adapt as necessary, and enjoy the process.
Sounds pretty sustainable to me.
For more on sustainable diet/fitness, check out this great piece from Jill Coleman: Is Your Diet & Exercise Routine Sustainable? 6 Ways to Know