The night before I started Week 8, some friends invited Don and I to dinner at probably the best Mexican restaurant in all of Germany (I’ve been to three over here, this one is great, one other was fine, and the third served me a microwaved tortilla crumpled into a ball with Cheez-Whiz squirted on top and called it cheese enchiladas). I am a big fan of Mexican food, so I was over the moon when we secured a reservation.
I am generally not a big drinker, but I lose control when I have the option to drink margaritas. I love margaritas! All sense of moderation abandons me and before I know it, I am waking up on a Sunday morning intending to hit the gym, but feeling like death warmed over. That is exactly what happened this past Sunday; I woke up to my alarm and instantly regretted all but the first of the previous night’s margaritas.
“How could I have been so careless? Why did I need to overindulge when just plain indulging would have been enough? Why me, why NOW?” were the questions I posed to myself as I slid into my gym pants (at least they have an elastic waistband!) and filled my water bottle only to guzzle it immediately and refill. I briefly toyed with the idea of letting myself off the hook and taking a second rest day, but quickly decided that rewarding myself for making bad decisions was not a good precedent to set.
When I opened up my notebook detailing the day’s workout, I was filled with even more dread. I had forgotten that Day One is the lengthiest workout in all of Week 8. I had also forgotten about the oxymoron Jamie Eason had presented us with.
This week, in her check-in video, Jamie explains that she is stepping things up to prepare us for Phase Three by incorporating what are called (oxymoronically) active rests. Active rests????!!!! WTF is an ACTIVE rest? The resting I do in between sets involves a lot of lying flat on my back on an exercise bench conducting an in-depth examination of the water stains on the gym ceiling. The essence of a rest is inactivity. I felt as if I had been hit with a double-whammy of bad karma; a hangover and not being allowed to curl into fetal position intermittently during my workout. I’m not sure who I failed to open a door for or stiffed on a tip, but I have been appropriately punished.
The way Jamie explains it, we are now supposed to be doing some low-impact cardio instead of resting on our laurels in between exercises. She lists a few options, and the one I have chosen is jumping rope. I chose this not because I had any predilection for the sport of jump rope, but because it seemed pretty portable and since I often don’t have a lot of time to flit to and fro while at the gym, it will be more convenient to have my resting activity close at hand.
The last time I jumped rope was most likely when I was in elementary school and we did a yearly fundraiser for the American Heart Association called Jump Rope for Heart! (I just looked it up, and Jump Rope For Heart! is still a thing), and by the time I finished my second ‘rest’ all the bouncing around and jarring my brain had given me a headache.
My heart was pumping and I was drenched in sweat before I was even half way through the prescribed workout, but despite the headache and overall feeling of being close to death, I managed to put in pretty good efforts. Somehow, the exercise and sweating became almost cleansing. Thankfully the gym is not very busy on a Sunday morning, because as I sweated out Saturday night’s margaritas, I started to stink. Try to remember how that still drunk frat boy smelled during your 8:30 am philosophy class after he’d used up all of his excused absences and you will have a very good sense of the stink that was rolling off me on Sunday.
Somehow I came out on the other side of the workout unscathed and I rewarded myself (and everyone around me) with an extra long shower. I have continued to jump rope for my rests, but if I need to sit down, and have a long drink of water, I do so. Logic tells me that passing out from dehydration and not finishing my workout will be more detrimental than sitting on my duff and taking an inactive rest occasionally. In all seriousness, it is essential that we are adequately hydrating during these workouts; I am sweating more than I thought humanly possible, and you will too when you get to Week 8 (if you haven’t already). If you are also in the middle of Week 8, and experiencing the unique pain of this self-inflicted torture, then I raise my water bottle to you. Cheers, friend!