Tuesday Workout of the Week: Mix it up. Now. And then do it again.

Sometimes in life and in fitness, you just have to mix it up.

It happens. We’re tooling along quite happily, and then all of a sudden, we’re in a funk and can’t quite snap out of it. Until a friend says something like, hey, want to go to that 8:30 a.m. yoga class tomorrow? And by getting all bendy in a class when we’re used to being kind of stiff, we suddenly find a new perspective.

Sometimes, in life and in the kitchen, you just have to mix it up. (Image courtesy of Keerati at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Sometimes, in life and in the kitchen, you just have to mix it up. (Image courtesy of Keerati at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

That’s what today’s Workout of the Week is all about. Mix it up. In my case, in a one-week period recently in which I (1) hit a major professional milestone, and (2) responded by having absolutely no interest in any form of intense exercise for an entire six-day stretch (easily the longest I’ve gone in 2014 without a sweaty workout), yoga was the answer…for both my body and my mind.

Yoga stretches my mind, not just my body. Why don’t I do it more often?

So, it was that kind of a week. In an eight-hour period I booked four speeches (well, three and a meeting with an executive board that may be interested in working with me). It was an official Big Day. There was suddenly a lot to do. Speeches to write and refine. Plans to be made.

And workouts to skip. Whoops.

Sometimes, in life and in construction, you just have to mix it up. (Image courtesy of vectorolie at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Sometimes, in life and in construction, you just have to mix it up. (Image courtesy of vectorolie at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

So when a friend suggested that yoga class, I realized how little I’d done in the flexibility/slow movement/quieting-my-head-down division recently. And I connected the dots: first a professional milestone that had at one time seemed unattainable,  one that makes it clear I’m on my way to making at least a significant amount of my living from speaking to groups about how awesome it is to get and stay healthy, and how possible it is, too, no matter where you’re starting from. And then, fear. Whoa. This might actually work. Fear of…success?

Connecting more dots…do you ever reach a physical milestone you never thought you could reach, and then suddenly you find you can’t replicate the feat? Back in 2011 I did that – ran a much-faster-than-Nicole-usually-runs marathon in California that brought me within a hair’s breadth of qualifying for the Boston Marathon via their time standards (I already run Boston for charity, but qualifying is a major life goal of mine). And you know what? I haven’t run that well since. Sure, there have been injuries, and life, and whatnot. But still. There’s a head thing going on in this here joint.

Ah, the head thing.

And that’s where mixing it up becomes really, really important.

It’s one thing to feel like we can deal with the Status Quo, whatever that is. I grew up in a home where failure, frustration, being “resigned” to whatever the world dealt out to us, and then, well, eating about it was the Status Quo. I did not grow up in a world where the adults around me took life by the horns, had dreams, and then made them come true.

So that’s part of my wiring.  Failure? Drama? I can so deal with drama. But success?

Wow. Got all discombobulated there for a second.

It was actually sort of funny, and seriously instructive, to see all of my systems suddenly go a little kaput there after that one really successful day. So that yoga class got me back to a place where my mind could literally stretch. I’ve been to three yoga classes this week, after not having made a habit of going to yoga at all this year (my mistake; flexibility is seriously important stuff).

So that’s today’s WOW (workout of the week): Mix it up.

Do something totally different than what you’re used to doing.  If you work out alone, work out with a friend. If you’re a runner, go to a yoga class. Or two. Or seven. I think I’d like to do a one-week “yoga retreat” where I go to a class every day for seven days, just to see what it feels like to get quiet and bendy and contemplative for a few days.

Sometimes, in life and in music, you just have to mix it up. (Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Sometimes, in life and in music, you just have to mix it up. (Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

(An aside: Yoga was actually a huge part of how my whole health transformation started six years ago. I bought a one-month class card for a Bikram yoga studio in Monterey, CA, when I was house-sitting for my cousin while she and her partner traveled to Peru and the Galapagos Islands. Every day, I went to class. Every day, I sweated it out. With a bunch of extra pounds hanging off my body, and determination in my eyes. Things were going to get better. I had no idea how that was going to happen when I started showing up at that class. But that was where it all began. Yoga stretches your mind. I am sure of it.)

Today, make your WOW a bendy-stretchy workout for your mind. Do something different. Mix it up.

Yesterday’s #Every48 workout: My third YOGA class in a week. Miraculous. A 60-minute class at lunchtime. And a productive afternoon and evening as a result.

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