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"The only bad workout, is the one you didn't do"


If you thought you came here for some long ass motivational chat about why you should workout 7 days a week, sweat as much as you can, never miss a workout and practically kill yourself in the process. You are mistaken. Very mistaken. I ain't that kind of trainer. Sorry for the clickbait. As you are now here you obviously clicked on this post for a reason. So, maybe just maybe, I might be able to help you, well hopefully.

I am here to tell you why, skipping that workout that you really ain't feeling, is not going to kill you. Possibly together we can stop feeling this overriding guilt that sidekicks exercise. 

Let's leave that in the past. 

I am aware I might come across like I am disregarding working out rather than encouraging it, I promise that isn't my intention. I do believe there is a fine line that fitness professionals should be very careful with. It's about finding a good balance that works for a specific individual. This all or nothing mindset I see very commonly can be very damaging, especially if there is underlying obsessive tendencies especially when it comes to exercise or food. FYI is waaaayyyy more common in people than you realise. 

I asked over on my Instagram how many people felt guilty if they skipped a workout and not to any surprise, the majority of people who answered said that they did. I remember a couple of years back when I felt this all of the time. I was severely overtraining in the fear of guilt and the outcome of that was the exercise I was doing was actually having the complete opposite affect than I wanted it to. Different types of exercise has a variety of physical and mental affects which we can all benefit. It simply led to a state of overtraining. Instead of feeling energised I was feeling deflated, instead of feeling good about my body I was constantly unhappy, my form was lacking because of fatigue which ultimately led to injuries. The list goes on because exercise was becoming the devil and the more I did it the more I hated it, a place I never wanted to be in. 

So, how could you cope with the guilt of missing a workout? Or even just the guilt of having a rest day. 

Firstly, as much as your body needs a variety of movements for strength, endurance, mobility, flexibility, injury prevention and so on. Your body needs rest. It's that simple. Rest is simply a essiential part of any training, rehabilitation, workout, daily activity programme. Without it, our bodies structures, tendons, ligaments, muscles simply never stop getting worked. This places us at an increased risk of injuries and overuse, not only that but it's mentally fatiguing to just keep going, especially if you have a taxing job. 

That would be my second point, we are ALL so individual. Our lifestyles are so different. Three people could workout in the gym 6 times a week. Person A has a desk job, bent over their computer all day the only movement they have is to the bathroom or their lunch break. Person B could hold a very active job with lots of heavy lifting, manual labour and not sat down for a single second. Person C could be doing nightshifts, very mixed up pattern with a mix of sitting and being on their feet. This changes how much energy, sleep, nutrition and everything that subjectively surrounds a persons single workout, how well they perform and how much motivation they have. 

Thich then leads me to stress, that fits in quiet nicely. Stress can have such a impact on the body, mentally, physiologically and anatomically. Which can seriously lead us to feeling absolutely deflated. What do you do at this point? Rest or train. I feel like this is slightly down to individual and opinion. My first go to is - Rest. I've been in a place where my outlet was the stress was exercise and while I thought it worked, it didn't. Especially if you are already overtraining or working. Let's use lifting weights as an example, when you lift weight, your muscles are being placed under a certain amount of stress. The fibres within a muscle are being broken down. So, already your body is in some form of stress, whether it's good or bad. If you are already stressed, from work, life, whatever it may be. I would always advise opting for a more relaxed style of exercise such as yoga or a long relaxing walk. Something that allows your body to calm, rejuvenate and relax. We could flip this and relate it to person A, B and C above, let' pretend they are all weekly gym goers who enjoy lifting weights. Person A may benefit from a moderate weight workout, after being stressed and sat at the their desk all day, the movement could be seen as a great stress reliever mentally. Physically they are going to benefit from the lack of movement they have already had that day by getting their joints and muscles working and activated. Person B finishes, they are mentally worn out and physically tired, a heavy weight workout may not be the best answer for them, They may benefit from a stretch session a good sleep and then attacking their weight session the following morning after adequate sleep and fuelled up nutritionally. 

Guilt and exercise are just two things I believe shouldn't go hand in hand. If it isn't a already planned in rest day, and you are wondering whether you actually want to do the workout you have set. If you are feeling tired, deflated, stressed. Any of the things above. Here are a few questions you could ask yourself. 

  • Have you already done multiple workouts that week? What was the intensity? 
  • Did you get a good amount of and good quality sleep last night?
  • Have you eaten enough today or the day before? 
  • Is it a certain time in your cycle? (for women)
  • Am I currently anxious or stressed about anything in life? 
  • Is there any alternative low intensity form of exercise I could do? 
  • Am I feeling physically poorly?

These questions help you establish whether you are physically able to do a full, blown ass workout or whether you should adapt or whether you should simply just rest. 


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