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Paige Waehner

Exercise and Weight Loss Lesson of the Week - Know When to Walk Away

By December 6, 2012

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Warning: The following 'lesson of the week' was inspired Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler," so you might want to exit now if you've seen way too many people use that song as a metaphor for life. In my case, I'm using it as a metaphor for exercise. As Kenny sang, "You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em/Know when to walk away and know when to run." That is true of a number of situations, besides gambling, and exercise is no exception.

And now? You have that song stuck in your head.

If you exercise on a regular basis, there will come a time when, minutes into your workout, you will think: "I don't want to do this." It often happens for no particular reason. You slept okay and you feel pretty good. You have your workout planned and everything seems to be going smoothly - You're hydrated, no aches and pains, a decent playlist on the iPod, your favorite machine or activity at hand. Yet, for some reason, time slows to a crawl. You may try a few things - Speed up, slow down, change your playlist. Maybe you try a different machine or activity. But, no matter what you try, the thought is still there: "I don't want to do this."

The responsible you speaks up, trying to convince you to keep going. Look at all the work that already went into this workout - Getting up, changing clothes, driving to the gym or heading down to your home gym. You're already sweating...why stop now?

However, that part of you that just doesn't want to be there won't go away. Sometimes, it's a good idea to simply stop. There's no point in being miserable and, if you're responsible about your workouts 99% of the time, walking away this one time isn't going to change that.

Other times, it may pay off to keep going. It's often those tough-to-finish workouts that give us the most confidence, the most satisfaction and the most strength. If you want to keep going, you may need a few mental tricks to silence that part of you that just wants to give up. I offer a few ideas for how to do that in, Getting Through a Tough Workout and, of course, I want to hear from you. What do you do when you hit the wall during your workout? Do you tough it out or come back another day? Leave a comment and tell us about your experiences.

June 19, 2008 at 4:27 pm
(1) Jill says:

I’m a swimmer, and sometimes the thought of getting in the pool makes me want to hide in the shower and never come out. So I think about how great it will feel to win the meet. Or how much I want to beat my rivals. It really works! And sometimes during the workout, I want to swim to the bottom of the pool and hide until my coach leaves so I can run and hide, again, in the shower. But if I focus on something else, like singing or my technique, I finish the set without another thought about quiting.

June 20, 2008 at 7:36 pm
(2) Pat says:

I’ve just read your article on walking. It says I should be walking at the rate of 4mph. I’m almost 73 and walk almost every day on my treadmill. I walk 4.4 to 4.5 miles in an hour. Is that good enough for me? Also, should I increase my time or intensity?

June 28, 2008 at 8:38 am
(3) Frank says:

Sometimes what I do is stop what I’m doing and just walk at a brisk pace. This serves as a “rest” period for me and it tends to recharge me so I can get back on my workout routine.

December 6, 2012 at 5:46 pm
(4) Tod Dale says:

I currently am using 2 Beach Body products:

P90X by Tony Horton
Insanity by Shaun T.

Went from 174 lbs to 149 lbs in about 3 months and I am maintaining that weight currently.

Interested in the new “Combat” workout by Les Mills, since I am a martial artist.

Use the Nutri Bullet 1 – 2 times daily and eat pretty sensible.

Still enjoy sweets, but will be cutting back for 2013… (Assuming the world doesn’t end on 12.21.12)

Shop extensively for supplements at BodyBuilding(.)com, but I find some good deals at Amazon and Ebay as well.

Just finished reading a review here: http://beach-body.org/fat-loss-factor-review/

Anyone actually use this product?

Thanks for the input.


December 6, 2012 at 11:27 pm
(5) Lynn says:

I am training for my fourth marathon. I have never hit the wall that everyone talks about. When I start a race, there is usually a turn around somewhere near the halfway point. And if I have made it that far, I have to finish the race to get back to my car or my family that is waiting for me at the finish line.There is no wall, just determination to get back to my family.

December 11, 2012 at 1:44 am
(6) Hamish says:

I never really hit the wall. I think it is because I change my workout routine every six – eight weeks. So my body is always challenged.

December 13, 2012 at 11:02 am
(7) Ann says:

I truly don’t understand this article. It tells me not to exercise, that is to listen to your gut instincts to not exercise. Then the last paragraph says sometimes it’s better not to listen to those instincts. Huh? Did I read it wrong?

But that’s ok, I was always feel better when I finish a routine, no matter how I felt before I began, if at times for no other reason than I finished the routine itself – a sense of accomplishment, I guess.

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