So I didn’t workout for a week… And guess what? My body didn’t change.
Some of you may read this and think, “Yeah – big deal.” While others read this and can’t remember the last time they truly took a break from exercise… Of course this is all relative. But I’m speaking to those that may need that gentle reminder that it truly is okay to take a break from exercise…
Also read this: Good for her, not for me.
A few weeks ago we were on my family’s annual camping vacation. I didn’t workout at all. Sure I got some “movement” in – like walking from campsite to campsite, paddle boarding and going on a quick bike ride. But no planned exercise or workouts.
I went into this vacation knowing I likely wasn’t going to get in a good workout – and I was more than okay with it. Honestly, I didn’t even think about it much.
But that’s because my mindset around working out has drastically changed. From feeling like I *have* to workout on vacation or I’ll “get fat” to being more than okay with the body I’m in and knowing the rest from exercise will be good for me – both mentally and physically.
side note: I realize “get fat” isn’t a great statement but at that time, that is how I felt. And that is because of diet culture, the stigma with weight gain and the “health at every size” and “body positivity movement” not really being a thing back then.
Three or four years ago I would have likely forced myself to go on multiple bike rides, and probably would have brought a pair of dumbbells to make sure I exercised – because I was afraid if I missed a week of working out my body would change and I would lose all of the so-called “progress” I had made. (And whatever progress I made wasn’t enough, btw.)
Of course if you want to exercise on vacation, by all means. But what is your why? Are you exercising because you’re moving intuitively? Or because you’re scared your body will change in a way you believe to be negative?
There are still some vacations I feel like getting a workout in. But that is because I WANT to move. And I now know what it feels like to move intuitively, and don’t “freak out” for missing multiple days of workouts in a row. My body isn’t going to change overnight – or even in a week – unless I am just going HAM on all sorts of shit I don’t normally eat. And that’s where balance and moderation come into play as well. Just because I am on vacation for a week doesn’t mean I want to pig out and eat crap. I know how that makes me feel and when I want to indulge, I do – but I do it in a way that feels intuitive and not because I restrict myself from those foods all of the time.
What I am getting at is I know what it feels like to be addicted to exercise, or be Type-A and obsessive about your workouts. But really it doesn’t have to be like that.
Signs you could need a break from exercise
You don’t WANT to exercise. And what I mean by this is you’ve been working out for weeks and weeks with little breaks and when it comes time to your workout, you’re not feeling it. There is a difference between needing a break and being unmotivated or “lazy” for lack of a better word. I know that when I take a break from my exercise routine, I feel that much more motivated and full of energy for my next workout.
You have anxiety around missing a workout. If the idea of missing a workout in your weekly routine stresses you out and you think all sorts of bad thoughts on what will happen if you do miss a workout, you might need to just breathe and take a break.
You’re sore often or dealing with an injury. There is such thing as TOO much exercise. And if you’re pushing yourself through those workouts while injured, you’re really not doing yourself any favors. Your body NEEDS rest to heal and recover. You’ll regret pushing yourself too far when you get to the point where you physically can’t workout, when you would have been better off just taking a week here and there.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical practioner. I am just speaking from my own experience. I share these posts because I know reading someone else’s story can help you recognize your own struggles and change for the better.
So next time you feel anxious around missing a workout, dig deeper. Is it really such a bad thing?
What are you thinking will happen if you miss your workout? It takes WORK to work on yourself, but it is so worth it when it comes to living your best, happiest life.