There's something to be said for a little shake-up.
I'm just returning from a 5-week hiatus from working out, and it is incredibly humbling (and frustrating). Before jetting off to Africa, I was in a pretty stable routine - eating my decent meals, letting myself enjoy how my body felt, kicking ass at my workouts. Luckily, I don't really feel like the food is an issue. HA! I never really thought I'd get to a point where I'd be able to say such a thing. (Okay fine, I'm still drinking too much coffee. I'm working on reigning it in, I swear.)
My first workout back was challenging, but I pushed through. I felt so good I met a friend to work out again that evening. There was mistake #1.
I couldn't move the next day. I complained to anyone that would listen that "this is how the elderly must feel." I might have been a little melodramatic.
I tried to work out again the day after. Mistake #2. Have you ever cried in the middle of a workout? It's hella embarrassing. "It's just sweat! Turn away from everyone else! Pretend you're too hot and just getting some air!" And then your eagle-eyed coach spots you and approaches you like an injured puppy and you feel even sillier. Needless to say, I needed a few days to recover.
There is nothing more humbling than knowing what you were able to do, and not even coming close to matching it. I wasn't gone for long, but it was long enough to feel like I've regressed back to junior high, with the bad hair and not being able to run a mile. But really, I probably needed this.
What's the best way to challenge your abilities? Throw a curve ball. I could have kept going through the summer, and I might have made some more gains in my lifts or been able to drop a band for my pull-ups. Here is a real opportunity to test my growth and character.
I have the privilege of being friends and working out with the nicest person on the planet, and she made a very good point: "This is the worst it's going to get. Tomorrow will be better. Just keep going."
So that's what I'm going to do. I'm just going to keep going. I know where I was, I know where I can get to again, and I know that my body is doing the best it can. Just keep going.