In a world of go-go-go we are trying to do it all, be it all. Sometimes, we just can’t. As a fitness instructor, I encourage my participants to make exercise a habit. I tell them to keep coming back every week, work harder, and push their limits. The truth is, we all lack motivation at times. Even fitness instructors are human (most of us anyway). So when do we suck it up and workout and when is it time to throw in the towel and have a margarita?
Okay, the Margarita is Optional, but Here are a Few Cases Where it’s Okay to Skip a Day, and the Guilt.
1) You’re Sick
Working out, and I mean heavy breathing, heart pounding, sweating hard, working out elicits a stress response. When we are healthy, our body can adapt to the stress. This is precisely what makes us get fitter. When we are sick, this stress can be too much for our immune system to handle. Not only will this delay recovery but chances are you’re not working out as hard, so your workout will be less effective. Besides, your fellow gym-goers don’t want to get sick. Best to stay home and allow your body to rest.
2) You’re Injured
There is a difference between being sore or uncomfortable in a workout and being hurt. Muscle soreness should start to decrease within 72 hours after a workout. If you continue to feel pain, it may be time to see a doctor. To learn more about soreness read No Pain, No Gain? 5 Myths About Muscle Soreness. If you are injured, take the time to recovery and avoid making the injury worse.
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3) You’re Over-trained
I will be the first to admit that I hate NOT working out. To some people that may sound insane but exercise makes me feel better. I feel stronger, clearer, and more capable of succeeding in other areas of my life. I also genuinely enjoy socializing and seeing my friends at the gym. Although overtraining is a common problem for athletes, it can be seen in people of all fitness levels. Starting off too quickly or doing too much too soon is a big cause of overtraining. If you’re exhausted all the time, maybe a little cranky (it happens to all of us, no shame) it may be time to take a break. Plus, overdoing it can increase the risk of getting sick or getting injured.
4) You Have a Life
While exercise should very much be a priority (see here for some benefits of regular exercise), there are times in life when we can’t balance it all. We put all of this pressure on ourselves to be the best in our career, for our family, for our friends, for ourselves. It is okay once in a while to let exercise take the backseat. Just because you skip one workout doesn’t mean you are going to be out of shape or not reach your goals. Just remember, this isn’t an excuse to quit the workout game. A quick break can actually leave you refreshed to hit the next workout even harder.