When Skipping the Gym is Okay

By July 13, 2017Fitness Tips

Now I know that skipping the gym is always okay.

I used to get so upset with myself for missing a workout.

I felt like I was failing somehow, or that I could do better, or that I wasn’t keeping up with others within the fitness community. But in real time, all that was happening was that it was really mentally taxing to be so unhappy with myself every time I missed the gym.

This last semester of classes was especially difficult. I am sure I could have squeezed in my workouts here and there, if I really prioritized it, but it just didn’t happen. Other things in my life had taken a priority over exercise, and that was hard to accept. I would walk past the mirror and find noticeable changes in my physique. I was working out less often and the resulting change to my body was my daily reminder. I found myself comparing: there had been a time in my life where I had been consistent with my workouts and had seen entirely different results.

It was hard to watch myself “losing progress”.

And, especially on days when I hadn’t gone to the gym, I began to feel disheartened.

As a way to care for myself and my overall health, I decided to take fitness day-by-day. What taking fitness day-by-day looked like was going into each day with a workout scheduled in. However, if life became busy and other things came up, I would skip it. It’s okay to miss a workout. I know, I know, it doesn’t seem that way. But I promise, it is okay!

Here are some of the changes I’ve made to help me make peace with my current practice of fitness:

Plan the night before 

Planning out your day can include scheduling your workout!

Whether you have 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour, just plan to do something that fits within that time restraint. Let’s say you have 30 minutes free in the afternoon– use that 30 minutes to do a quick yoga flow, bump up your strength training routine with compound movements, or run a few sprint intervals. Think of something that gets you what you want out of your workout in a shorter amount of time.

Keep on going

If you miss a day, sometimes your brain starts to think all-or-nothing: well, I missed it yesterday so I might as well just never go this whole week. However, that’s not how the body works, and it doesn’t have to be how you work! Missing one day of exercise won’t make or break your fitness goals. If you miss a day or two, just keep going! As if you’d never missed it. Self forgiveness and compassion is a beautiful thing.

It doesn’t have to be extreme

You can do a form of light exercise if you want to! “Go hard or go home?” Yeah, it doesn’t really work like that.

There are so many of these fitness pages these days with girls lifting these heavy a** rocks onto these huge walls (and I would totally try that if given the chance), but you don’t need to do an INTENSE workout every day. In fact, you shouldn’t!

If you aren’t sure how else you can get moving without going crazy at the gym, here are some ideas. You can:

  • Go for a walk
  • Go swimming
  • Ride your bike, or whatever else.

You don’t need to be dripping in sweat and heaving afterward to have a good workout. It’s okay. Move in a way that is enjoyable, always. If your HIIT workout hurts, take it down a few notches. Challenge yourself when you’re up to it and listen to your body when you’re not.

Switch it up 

The more you switch up your workouts, the more you will stay interested and want to do them. Whether that’s going outside, doing a full-body workout, doing a body-weighted workout – anything to keep challenging and exciting your body.

And you could do something totally awful, but at least it was something new and you tried it! That will keep your interest level high increasing your motivation.

Let go and forgive

If you miss a day, or a few, or just need some time off, don’t beat yourself up.

As I said, last semester was hard for me (and I am pretty good at handling stress). But life goes on, I made it through the semester, and I was fine even with fewer workouts. This summer, I started working out again now that I have a lighter load. It doesn’t mean I didn’t try during the semester or that I failed at anything: it just happens. Fitness doesn’t have to be the priority.

I know that I am still learning this whole process of finding peace with exercise at all levels. There are still times I am upset and frustrated and feel like blaming myself. But that’s okay, too– nobody is perfect. The important part is that I will keep practicing and keep trying to let go and forgive myself, every day.

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Author Danielle Boss

Danielle is a junior at Alma College and is majoring in Physiology and Health Sciences. She enjoys all forms of fitness from lifting weights to trying out fun, new fitness classes. When she isn't working out or studying, she can be found looking up motivational quotes on pinterest or dancing for her school's dance company!

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