After enjoying two weeks off at the end of December, last week was my first week back teaching fitness classes in 2012.
A couple of my students, from different classes, decided to put the fitness teacher in the spotlight. They independently queried something like, "So how much exercising did you do while you were off those two weeks?" I'm not sure if they wanted to hear me say, "Every day," or not. Honesty is usually the best policy, so my answer in both classes was, a little sheepishly, "Practically none."
You would have thought that an English teacher had just admitted to using "ain't" on a regular basis. Some people were shocked; others figured I was just human (presumably for not living up to something), and maybe felt comforted by that.
I teasingly told them that I held them to a higher standard than I held myself, mostly because it sounded funny on my ears at the time.
After some reflection, though, I remembered that my lack of activity during those two weeks, while not a great example of how to live a fit life, was exactly what I had planned to do all along. It's not what I would necessarily coach someone else to do, but then I wouldn't coach someone else to mimic anyone's fitness habits unless they worked for that individual.
Point is, 2 things: during the other 50 weeks of the year, I'm very active (my career demands it); and at the end of the two weeks, I knew I'd get right back into my routine (again, my career demands it). I knew that my break would be a benefit to me, not a setback.
Sure, my body changed a bit over those two weeks. But the break was worth it to me (and the time investment of working my way back to where I was), at least partially because I knew, without question, that I'd be returning to my healthy routine.
I don't think that taking a break from my health program is an inherently awful thing. Sometimes it might provide a little perspective to do so. For me, the keys to a successful break from healthy habits include: a clear intention of why; an unshakable commitment to getting back on track (including a specific start date); feeling good (not guilty) about doing it; looking forward to coming back to and improving upon my routine; and being realistic about where I'm gonna be when I get started again.
In fact, the physical break also gave me mental time to start working on my health and fitness focus for 2012 - better nutrition - and so far, it's working. More about that later. For now, I'm clinging to the realization of the thing that I just did, which I try so hard to encourage others to incorporate into their self-improvement efforts: Rule #1 is Know Thyself.
Here's to your health!