101Days with No Cardio

It’s 5:30am. The San Diego Rock ‘n Roll 1/2 Marathon begins in an hour. I’m not going, and instead I sit here in our hotel, blogging in silence with just a cup of coffee and my thoughts.

It’s been quite some time since I’ve showed my writing face to y’all. I’ve been busy, busy, busy – living life, making and not making things happen….and of course choosing another 101 days.

Last summer I did, “101 Days: healing.” The summer before that I blogged for 101 days straight (um, hi….never again!)

This summer I am going 101 days with no cardio (I actually started this past Monday, May 26).

I have already been asked by a few people,

But why no cardio?

Let me make this clear….this is not just about traditional cardio. When Jen Sinkler was asked by a reporter what she does for cardio, she responded,

I lift weights faster.

This is because it’s true – cardio shows its face in many different ways, and so these 101 days are about nixing exercise and workouts that are high intensity and over-taxing on my body in general.

101 Days No Cardio via www.agutsygirl.com

6 Reasons Why “No Cardio”:

  1. Knowing when to give up. I made the decision a couple weeks back to not run the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll 1/2 Marathon. Running has truly broken me (physically) temporarily, and so running 13.1 seemed ludacris. Making this decision not to run it, also forced me to see the bigger picture with my relationship with running. I have realized that like my 101 days of healing last summer, running has forced me on this same treadmill to nowhere. I cut running.
  2. Stop being so mean to running.get it, I really do….running is hard on the body, on the joints. That said, running is not the only means to injury and overdoing it. Every time I was injured or not feeling my best, the blame was always put on running. This is false, though. My injuries began a couple summers back when I did a high intensity program that barely included running. This tells me it’s not just about running or “traditional cardio,” but about super high intensity workouts period. (For the record, there is nothing wrong with super high intensity workouts. I tend to prefer them, but for me, for now, they can’t work.)
  3. Cardio is addictive. If you hate working out, then you believe my statement around “cardio is addictive” is false (p.s. also if you hate working out, try this). For me, it’s anything but. Cardio is addictive. It’s my drug, and it’s a great drug of choice….until quite frankly it becomes a negative drug like any other negative drug. Chronically training for 1/2 marathons has landed me in a place where, without cardio (and a ton of it), I feel like I’m not in great physical shape. This mentality led me to hours and hours of it, and consequently, injured, sick more often and an ever growing distaste for it. Workouts should enhance, not take away from, quality of life.
  4. Good bye muscle. I spent a lot of time focusing on building more muscle prior to the cardio addiction. The first day I worked my trainer (a couple weeks back), we did a body fat test. I have lost most of what I worked so hard to build. Let me make this clear –> I am not trying to be the girl with pure muscle, compete in shows or prove to the world that I am a lean, mean fighting machine. It’s simply not important to me any longer. But maintaining muscle mass is critical as we get older, and the chronic cardio proved good bye to muscle.
  5. The Gut. In my e-book, “The Gutsy Girl’s Bible: an approach to healing the gut 2.0,” I talk about how critical exercise and movement is for the gut, but with one exception – long, stressful workout sessions. Why? Because healing the gut requires 100% dedication to stress management. The body doesn’t know if it’s stressed due to mental or physical issues. High intensity cardio and workouts are stressful. Those workouts communicated that stress to my gut, and it was never a happy ending.
  6. Time. I don’t want to give cardio so much of my time any longer. I need to learn to become more efficient in less time while healing my right leg/lower back.

So what now?

It’s not that I won’t move at all for 101 days – obviously. I can still walk and be active outside (we take Samarah for walks almost every single night). With my trainer, we’re working on exercises that help my right leg and lower back get better while I focus on getting some muscle back. On my own, I am getting deep tissue massages, a little ART, foam rolling, stretching, lifting and light exercises to improve my hip flexion.

Honestly, I am looking forward to giving my body a break, and giving it the things it probably desperately needs. I don’t know how I’ll feel come September, but I am hoping that I have made healing progress and that I can return to some cardio again (although I do think it will be in the form of 20 minutes or less HIIT).

I am looking out this hotel window, and I see the runners heading to begin their 13.1 and 26.2. There is a part of me that wishes I were there, but there is a far greater part of me that is saying,

No…..right here, sitting, enjoying (listening to the baby sleep), being is exactly what I need from today until Thursday, September 4.

You have permission: give yourself what you need – today, right now – whatever that might be.

Love your guts,
SKH

p.s. It’s Disneyland day today!!

Comments

  1. says

    I love how in tune you are with your body. So many people ignore the warning signs of injury and stress until something drastic happens.
    I’ve never been a lover of cardio. It eats away at the muscle I work so hard to put on. Plus, I find my zen while knitting!

  2. says

    I really appreciate this post! Lately, I’ve been feeling guilty and frustrated about not running/training as often as I thought I should be… but I’ve been focusing on healing. Thank you for helping me to my own journey into perspective.

  3. says

    I totally get it, I really do. After I ran the Big Sur Half last Fall I realized I needed to take a break from running too and I did. It not only helped me physically heal from nagging injuries, it also mentally healed me and I was able to get back to a place where running felt joyful and not like a chore. Good for you!

    • says

      It’s so true….just to get back to the place where it becomes less of a chore would be great, too! Thanks for stopping by, Naomi.

  4. Nikki says

    Hi! I found your post through Jen Sinkler’s tweet. Just wanted to say “me too!” A year ago, after running 11 halfs and countless 5ks/10ks/other distances in maybe 4 years, I found myself chronically tired, injured and not loving running anymore. So I stopped running, despite the protests of my running friends and started traditional strength training with HIIT (ie: #liftweightsfaster) and very short sprints. Almost exactly a year later, my injuries are gone, I feel better, my body fat % has dropped and I fit into much smaller clothes. I feel better and get comments on how I look better. And I don’t spend as much time working out by a long shot! Do what you enjoy and what makes you happy. I think you’ll find what I found: running long distances is not necessarily the best thing for your body. Enjoy your 101 days! :)

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