I can't really update on "doing nothing" anymore because I'm now back in the gym...a little bit. I started back a week ago doing 30 minutes of easy cardio on the eliptical. It's funny how when your body is so exhausted and sick even "easy" feels extremely challenging. I finally got over my virus at the end of last week and decided that on Friday, after 18 days without lifting, I would attempt my first total body workout. The idea was to do about half the load I normally do, doing 2 sets per body part. Note to self: check ego at the door. The workout felt good, but I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that by the 15th rep with the light weight my muscles were feeling the pain.
I got home Friday night and indulged in a Papa Murphy's pizza with the kids. About an hour later I was starving again. Had a Parrillo contest cookie and that took the edge off. Another hour later I was hungry again so I had another cookie and I was still hungry so I decided to just go to bed before I ate bad things I shouldn't be eating. When I woke up Saturday morning I was ravenous and inhaled my zucchini and eggwhites and oatmeal. It was amazing to me how quickly after a training session the body "knows" that it needs to ramp up and eat more. I couldn't believe it could happen so fast so I emailed Dave to make sure my intense hunger was "normal." It's Monday now and I'll be heading to the gym shortly for my second total body workout.
A few things I've noticed happening to me...
First and foremost, this break has been really good for me mentally. I would be lying if I said I didn't have compulsive tendencies when it comes to training. It is typically very mentally stressful for me to take a day off from training for fear that I will turn into Large Marge. The rest has helped to remind me that if I eat the right foods, I will be just fine. My body needs to rest. While I like to think I'm superhuman and invincible, I am just like everybody else and my body needs time to heal just like every other body.
To help my body heal from its exhausted state I have been eating (a lot!) and sleeping (a lot!). I've been taking great care to make sure that I am taking my vitamin supplements at the right times every day and giving my body what it needs to repair itself. I've noticed since I've been resting and eating that I no longer crave the sweets that I once needed to get me through the day. I had a huge craving for chocolate, especially, but anything to give me that instant energy. Now that my body has sufficient calories, it doesn't need to dip into the simple sugars to get the energy boost.
For the last several months, or better part of this year, I haven't had enough energy to do all the things that need to be done in my life. I'm talking about the simple things like household chores. And now that I've had this time to rest and am giving my body sufficient calories, my energy has finally returned and I feel like I can function fully again. When I can't function fully I feel totally inadequate which only makes matters worse because I get so down on myself for trying to do it all and not being capable. This experience has really been eye-opening for me.
As I ease back into training, I am being very careful. My body isn't ready to hit it hard yet, so I have to go slow. My head wants to get in the gym and train hard, but my body is still pretty tired. My goal is to transition back to my normal 5 day training split over the next 4 weeks. This time...I'll be taking at least one rest day each week.