Normally, I take Mondays off from the gym, giving my body at least a day’s rest from training as recovery is just as important as the actual workout. Particularly sore from another intense Sunday morning Body Combat class, I woke up this morning with every intention of allowing my muscles to relax.
On weekday afternoons, I’m a mother’s helper, taking care of 2 teenage boys. As I read over the day’s to-do notes left by their mom, I noticed that at 5pm, I would be driving one of the boys to a restaurant that happened to be only a few miles from my gym.
(Side realization: My gym is a 20 minute drive from my house, without traffic. Calculating the math, I spend an average of 240 minutes, or 4 hours commuting to and from the gym. Usually not a fan of driving, these 4 hours are well worth it, even when there are at least 5 other gyms within a 10 minute drive from my home.)
Hoping to make the most of my drive, I decided to challenge my body a little harder and temporarily push off recovery day. Then, I realized that I would finally be able to make it to Zumba at my gym- a class that I had never been able to fit in to my schedule! As a new instructor, I try to sample as many other instructors’ classes as I can, so I was excited, even though my muscles were screaming for the night off.
Never one to half-ass a workout, I quieted the nagging soreness of my fatigued muscles and gave the hour-long class my all (which wasn’t a difficult task as I fed off the high energies of the wonderful instructor and the other members in the class). I was even lucky enough to be invited up on stage for two different tracks! I left the class dripping with sweat and smiling from ear to ear, my spirits soaring high.
As I sit here at the end of my day, every muscle from my neck to my toes ache and plead me to take tomorrow to rest and recover (which I fully intend to!). Although giving gratitude towards my body is no unique subject in this blog, it is something I hope to consistently do. It is far too easy to take for granted the endless abilities of an able body and I hope that this thankfulness is not one I would have to wait to know of once it’s gone. On this same note, I hope to practice kindness towards my body, treating it with grateful respect. There are different types of muscle-aches, even though they all register as pain. The pain from when I all-too-often twist an ankle or the pain during a six-month recovery from long-thoracic nerve palsy are unpleasantly unwelcome; but the pain from challenging the limits of my body… tearing down muscle so it can grow back stronger… though still making me wince from time to time, is a pleasant reminder that with hard work, my able body can accept the challenge, rise to it, and take it on like the ninja I am. Ki-yah!