I feel like working out generally falls into 2 categories for most people:
- You’ll take any excuse you can to not have to workout
- You never miss a workout and often workout even when you’re tired, sick, sore, etc.
What got me to thinking about this was when I was sick with a cold last week and I “listened to my body” when it was telling me I needed rest. Old me would’ve pushed through and worked out even though I felt like crap and just generally run down.
That said, I’m sure you’re not surprised when I say that I used to only identify with #2 listed above 😉
Luckily, even though I’m still navigating the middle when it comes to listening to my body, I feel like I’ve gotten way better, mostly in that I know when it’s time to take a break AND that I don’t feel guilty about taking a break. I used to hate rest days, even planned ones, because they left me feeling so guilty about not working out. I knew they were necessary and that they were good because that’s when muscle repair and growth happens, but I still didn’t like them.
Fast forward a year or two, and I grew to love my planned rest days… notice the “planned” part. What that means is that when I planned my rest days, I enjoyed them and didn’t feel guilty; however, if there was a reason that caused me to have to take an unplanned rest day, I was back to feeling guilty and not able to embrace it.
These days, while I still don’t enjoy taking long breaks from working out (because I generally love working out, moving my body and my normal routine/schedule), I am able to recognize when it’s necessary and how it will help me going forward. That, and that I also recognize that it will not ruin all of my hard work and progress thus far, and that in a few weeks I probably won’t even remember having to take some extended rest.
I’ll tell ya, it’s such an amazing feeling to have made this mental transition over the years! Last week, I didn’t feel bad or “guilty” about not being able to workout. I realized it was necessary and I realized that I could get back into it as soon as I was feeling better – no big deal, no stress. I’ve also noticed how I am more relaxed about my approach to fitness and workouts in general. Long gone are my hours in the gym – I’d much prefer a quickie 20-30 minute workout, and at home workouts are my jam these days!
As you can see, this wasn’t a quick or easy transition, which I think is the key point to remember if you find yourself identifying with #2 above. But, it has made things so much better for me. I enjoy my workouts more, I have seen positive changes in my body and I have more time to enjoy other things. Being physically fit and active is so important for me, but it’s not the “end all, be all” to being happy and healthy. Just like anything in life, balance is key!
Questions for you: What category do you identify with? Do you feel guilty when you skip a workout or do you look for excuses to skip a workout?