A one way ticket on a guilt trip? No, thank you!!!

by Khushboo on July 26, 2010

This post is a complete contradiction to a majority of my previous posts, which stress the importance of regular exercise.  However I think addressing exercise guilt is just as important. Sometimes our bodies need rest and we should enjoy days away from the gym without feeling like we are slacking off. 

I am definitely someone who has frequently experienced exercise guilt before, but I have come to realise that it’s a waste of an emotion (because apparently there’s a limit on the number of emotions we can feel ;)).  Take Saturday for example-especially after indulging the night before I had planned to do this, this, and this at the gym.  But to be honest, my body felt exhausted.  Even the mere thought of a 20-minute walk on zero incline exhausted me.  Initially I was fighting a mental battle but then realised hang on, “I’ve run thrice already this week and done 1 session of yoga…I exercise regularly..does skipping one session really matter in the big picture?” NOPE!  So instead I settled on some light yoga at home and that was it. 

I am really glad I didn’t give in to the exercise guilt and push myself past its limits.  This morning, I felt 100 times more energised for my workout than I have in a long time.  I even woke up before my alarm went off at 6.45 am (who am I??).  Ultimately, skipping Saturday’s workout made a world of difference.  I could feel my running improve and ran further than I have in weeks!  Coincidence? I think not!

So the next time exercise guilt kicks in, here are some ways to shrug it off:

  • Usually a day off can make your next workout both stronger and more powerful
  • Rotate your workouts around your life, not vice versa.  There are important things in life like your friends, family, job, etc and sometimes they require your time and attention more than the gym.
  • If the idea of a day off seems so terrible, engage in some light activity like walking or yoga
  • Rest and recovery is just as important as the workout itself
  • Listen to your body- you’ll run (!) to the bathroom when your body demands you to so why not rest when your body tells you to?
  • One less workout is not going to make you gain weight.  One pound is equal to 3,500 calories.  Unless you’re a professional (which I doubt any of you are…if I’m wrong, I’m flattered you’re reading :)), it’s unlikely you are expending that amount per workout.  Hence taking a day off from the gym doesn’t equate to instant weight gain.

The bottom line is, just be honest with yourself .  You know when an ‘excuse’ is valid and when it purely is just an excuse.  Once you do decide to skip your workout for the day, don’t dwell on it.  Just move on and look forward to feeling rejuvenated for the next one!

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