Getting back into the swing of things has multiple benefits, my favorite of which is extremely deep and restful sleep, the kind where you wake up stiff from not turning enough. This morning, the awesome-sleep-stiffness was accompanied by some still-sore muscles from my new strength plan, which makes me happy to see that it is an effective workout. In the past, that combination of truths would have been enough to make me justify no working out. Today, though, after about ten solid days of rain, it is finally a beautiful, sunny morning. Even the birds are tickled pink. I creeped outside while my family was still sleeping, and got in a good session of cardio. My back and hip were still stiff and felt like they needed to pop, but did I turn around? No sir. I just adjusted my pace to do a longer interval of lower intensity. And while I was doing it, I realized how hard it is for me to walk at an easy pace while doing cardio, which is the intensity that burns the most fat. Mentally, it is hard to retrain myself that I need to walk slower sometimes if I want to get the most out of my workouts. I have always subscribed to that school of having to totally exert yourself during cardio, (ie walk as fast as I can for about an hour) so my body is used to walking faster than I have to. I tried to stay aware of my pace today, especially after my hip popped (man, do I sound like an old lady) and realized that part of the problem is that my fitness level has improved, so my "easy" pace has changed from where it once was. To help me stay on my slower pace today, I listened to reggae instead of dance or rock music, which not only helped me slow down but really lifted my mood. By the time my cardio was done, I felt great, not a bad way to start a Sunday/family day. Now that I had this low-intensity day, I am also realizing that I hardly ever do full-on low intensity cardio, so I will be more aware of it and be sure to add it in more often. It's all about balance and continual renewal. I have been doing the same interval cardio for too long (60 secs high intensity with 30 secs moderate) and this too, needs to be freshened up. It's convenient to do the same thing over and over, but it isn't very productive. In order to continually see progress, the body needs to be tricked into change by doing things differently. What works for a while will not continue to work forever because our bodies are so very adaptable. So in my learning process, it is all coming full-circle. Sometimes the best way to get ahead is to slow down.