If you read my column last week, you will know I had to take some time off from my Insanity workouts due to injuries. I have a strained rotator cuff in my left shoulder and bursitis in my right knee. These aren't my only injuries, but they are the ones that made me finally see a doctor, which I normally don't like to do.
So, this was my first week of a break from the Insanity workouts. It's really strange coming home after work and not rushing to get my workout in before I eat and then rush to practice twice a week, or having meetings or other things planned after work and then having to do my workout late at night, trying not to bother my neighbors.
I keep wanting to give it a try - try to exercise - but I know I'll just end up hurting myself again because I'm not giving myself enough time to heal. So I took up crocheting. I know it sounds silly, but I like to do crafts and in and effort to keep myself busy, I decided to try something new. I always need to be doing something. Sometimes I say I feel like a toddler fighting a nap because if I sleep, I might miss something.
Speaking of sleep, or the lack of it I get most nights, brings me back to exercise and weight loss. I have done a bit of research on different factors that may prevent someone from losing weight, even while doing an intense workout routine such as Insanity. I found a few articles that said if someone is sleep-deprived - not getting enough hours of sleep or the quality of sleep is poor - this may cause your metabolism to not function correctly.
I came across a lot of articles mentioning two hormones - ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is the hormone that tells you when to eat and when you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin. Leptin does the opposite, telling you when to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin. So, this means you are eating more and your metabolism also is slowed down when you are sleep-deprived. These can be contributing factors to weight gain, even when you are working out.
Now, I am not a medical professional or a health expert in any sense, so, all of this I found through online research, just like anyone trying to find answers for the questions that they have. But when I think about it, it makes sense with my lifestyle. I typically get about six hours of sleep a night on average. I also read that seven and a half to eight hours usually is recommended for a good night's sleep. I would like to experiment and see if adding an hour or so of sleep would help me.
One thing I was surprised to find after a week of rest, was that I seemed to have lost a bit of weight. After not exercising at all and even not eating as well for that week, losing weight almost is like an insult to me. I worked myself so hard for the past seven weeks and barely lost any weight, and when I stop, some weight comes off. What's the deal?
Well, I did some research on this matter too, and what I found is that you retain water when you have sore muscles. So, when you workout and your muscles are strained, your body stores water for muscle repair. When you stop working out, your body drops that extra water and most likely is the reason for the weight loss. I read that this is a good thing, because if you aren't retaining water while you are working out, that probably means that your workouts aren't doing anything for you.
For as much as I was worried about my lack of weight loss during my workout period, I do have to remember that I have lost a number of inches all over my body and I also know I am much stronger and even have increased my endurance a bit. Now that I am forced to take a break, I hope it doesn't set me back too far, but this was necessary to help my body heal.
I also had to take a break from roller derby, and that was a really hard thing for me to do as well. I talked with my coach, and when I'm able to get back on skates we plan on working me back in slowly because I have asthma and I won't be able to jump right back in without any breathing issues.
What my plan is now, is to take each day and assess how I feel. At this point, I know I need at least another entire week off and then I'll go from there to see if I can work in some light exercise. I'm not good at this "baby steps" thing, because when I start again, I'll want to just jump right back into everything the way I was doing it before. But I know what I have to do, so I'll just have to keep myself in check.
Reppert is the Sun-Gazette lifestyle editor. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org