Often, when given the opportunity to take breaks, athletes cash in. Why? They tell themselves that their body needs time to recover — that time off will allow them to mentally relax and physically recuperate. But deep down, it is an unquenchable laziness, unceasingly moaning from the depths of being.
Making excuses and persuading themselves that doing nothing is what is truly best seduces an athlete into idleness. While our bodies do need time to recover, days off are a step back and a barrier between each individual and the person they wish to become.
“I lifted yesterday, so I should probably take today off and give myself a chance to recover. I’ll lift again tomorrow.” This kind of thinking is driven by laziness — not necessity. With proper workout planning, there are always fresh muscle groups to exercise. For example, if yesterday was a chest day, make today a back day, a leg day, or an ab day.
Even if an athlete’s full body is sore and aching from a competition or workout, there is always an appropriate workout.
Tour de France bikers ride tens of miles on days between stages to prevent fragile conditioning from sliding away, and Antonio Brown, a wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, spends his off seasons doing pilates. If the best athletes in the world recognize the need for constant conditioning, even on off days, maybe we should as well.
Go for a run, look up how to yoga on YouTube, or swim some laps in a pool. We owe ourselves a workout every day to stay in shape and sharpen mentality.
An unstoppable mentality is nothing to take for granted. When an individual works out every single day, a sense of pride and tenacity builds. Our standards for ourselves raise to the point where we know that if we take a break, we are stopping ourselves; we are putting one more day between us and the person we want to be.
What’s more, breaks are a slippery slope. If you take one day off, you become much more inclined to take another day off, and once you’ve taken a couple days off, you start to lose your identity. Quitting is an easier habit to pick up than working out. You can pick up a habit of quitting in a day or two, but building an identity of unstoppability takes weeks.
Your body is a project, one that you carry with you everywhere you go and show to everyone. So shouldn’t it be your proudest achievement as well, if it is your most public? Don’t cheat yourself by taking a break. Go all in, and your body, mind, and confidence will be strengthened for it.
The Mount is produced by the students of Mount Michael Benedictine School.