I started BODYpow in January of 2013 and have never had to cancel or sub a class due to illness until last week. It hit me hard.

Clogged ears, sinus congestion, unsettled stomach, chest cough and flu-like deep body exhaustion came crashing down on me all at once. I not only needed a substitute instructor for one of my classes, I needed someone to cover a full week of classes. That was tough for me. I missed teaching, I missed working out, and I wasn't used to "taking it easy."

But I did take it easy. When the kids were at school, I slept, I read, I drank copious amounts of the obligatory liquids, and I watched mindless television. I laid in bed, I laid on the couch, I lounged on comfy chairs and I did nothing that resembled any type of exercise. Aside from feeling physically lousy, it was actually kind of nice to take a little break.

The physical and health benefits of a consistent workout routine include increased strength, more energy, higher metabolism, and lower blood pressure. They are scientific, proven, and very real.

However, we all need to take breaks in our routines every now and again.

We need time to relax, recover, catch up. Breaks in routine can help re-energize and refuel the body and mind. The trick, however, is to reignite before that "break" begins to have the opposite effect to which you were initially seeking. No matter how relaxing and warranted a recovery break is in the beginning, the trick is to prioritize your workout schedule again before the lethargy sets in, before the excuses start, and before the consistency of NOT working out becomes your new routine.

But starting or restarting a fitness regime is not always easy. I'll admit, even after only 4 days "off," I was feeling a little nervous about going back to teach. Was I really ready? What if I'm not rested enough? What if I rested too much? What if it's harder for me than it was last week? What if I lost some of my strength? What if my endurance feels weak? Maybe I should start in another day or two? Or maybe not. What if... So what? Just start.

BODYpow is not an easy class. It takes self discipline, commitment, focus and perseverance...for every 30 second set. But BODYpow is self-regulating and it is a "Personally Optimized Workout." You don't need to jump, you don't need to go fast, and there is no such thing as "keeping up."

The mental challenge proceeds the physical challenge for the entire hour of the class. Heck, the mental challenge proceeds the physical challenge in just getting yourself to walk into the studio!

So yes, the first class I taught after being sick was not my strongest class. I started off feeling a bit tired and weak but I went at the pace that felt comfortable for me on that day and I honestly did feel better and more energized by the end of the hour. The BODYpow participants, as they have proven time and again, were supportive and internally focused and that determination was contagious. My second class back was a little better than the first and the third class was a little better than the second. And so it goes...

Slight hesitation and self-doubt are not uncommon feelings associated with joining a group exercise class, whether for the first time or after taking a break. But BODYpow has that individualized component coupled with a group camaraderie. No one is paying attention to anyone else yet everyone is doing the same thing and the energy in the room is infectious. It's like getting into a groove dancing by yourself in a room with other people.

All I can say now is that I am happy to be back instructing and working out again, but it was nice to have a little break, however unplanned, to reflect on it all. It reminded me about the importance of rest and recovery. Not just the physical aspect, but also the mental. It also reminded me about what it takes to get the ball rolling again-- which is what prompted this post!

Taking time off is understandable and necessary. Take a break. Recover. Renergize. Renew. Then Reignite and GO --- your next recovery period is just around the corner.