The other day I read a great post on T-rex to Tigress about trying not to feel guilty about skipping a workout.
While yes, we do want to create a routine and stick to it….while yes, we don’t want to constantly let ourselves off the hook and make up excuses to miss our workouts….We do also have to recognize that sometimes life is going to get in the way and that sometimes WE HAVE TO CUT OURSELVES SOME SLACK!
Sometimes our routine gets interrupted. Sometimes our body just gets worn out. Sometimes our mind gets completely fried.
Sometimes we just need a day off even if we’d made other plans.
And if our body or mind really needs the day off, there is no reason to feel guilty. The day off will help us recover and become re-energized to take on all the upcoming challenges.
That recovery day will actually help us reach our goals more quickly if we need it.
Nothing bad is going to happen to our progress, to our results, to our health or even our routine if we make an educated decision to take a day off.
HOWEVER, there are times when we aren’t able to make it to the gym because life interferes that we can still get in a workout – that we still really want to get in a good workout.
So if you decide that life has interfered yet you still really really WANT and NEED to get in a workout (and it wouldn’t be better for your body and mind to take the day off), here are a couple of great ways to get in a quick workout WITHOUT going to the gym.
1. GO FOR A WALK! – Even if your body and mind or worn down, a walk is a great option! Walks are a great form of active recovery and they give your mind a chance to relax and de-stress. Go for a short walk around your neighborhood or even meet up with some friends for a chat session!
2. DO A WORKOUT AT HOME – While it may not be what you originally had planned or even as tough as what you planned to do, IT IS STILL A WORKOUT. Doing anything is generally better than nothing if you can’t make it to the gym because of time or energy. Doing something keeps you in the routine of working out. And usually once you get moving, you end up working pretty hard! Keep a few go-to home workouts around to make it even easier to stay on track!
3. SET A TIMER FOR 15 MINUTES – Short on time so you can’t go to the gym? Short on the motivation to really put in a long, hard workout? Then simply do a short intense workout at home! At least once if not twice a week, my workouts are no longer than 15 minutes…and even though they are short, they are far from easy. Sometimes I find it is easier though to motivate myself to workout when I know it will be over quickly. Pick 3-4 moves and put them into a circuit. Do as many rounds as possible until the timer runs out! Heck, sometimes you can even just put a timer on for 5 minutes as choose one exercise and do it without stopping the entire time. Like 5 minutes of burpees. Or 5 minutes of bear crawls. It may only be 5 minutes, but if you do not rest and try to move as quickly as possible the entire time, you will be exhausted!
4. GO PLAY! – Working out doesn’t have to mean going for a long run or going to the gym and lifting weights. Working out can be playing with your kids at the playground or stand up paddling or surfing or hiking or any FUN ACTIVITY where you are moving. So next time your friend really needs to meet up to chat and you feel like you just can’t ditch her, don’t just go to dinner to talk! Take your conversation on the road and be active. Getting moving could be good for you both and may help you both de-stress! No it isn’t your planned workout, but simply moving will make you feel better and is good for your health!
5. DO YOGA…OR PILATES – While both yoga and pilates are tough workouts, they can also be good for recovery. I have a Yoga workout I can easily do at home on days when my body needs a break but I still want to move. Plus if you are stressed or tired, it can be easier to motivate yourself to do a workout that you know won’t completely slaughter you and that you don’t have to travel anywhere to do. You may even find that going to the gym to do a Pilates or Yoga class makes it easier to push yourself to go to the gym on a day when you wouldn’t for a more intense workout.
What all the tips above basically show is that something is better than nothing, especially if we are trying to keep ourselves on a routine to create new healthy habits.
Life is going to get in the way sometimes, but the best thing we can do is not stress or feel guilty when that happens.
Heck, sometimes you even just need the day off.
But whatever happens, it is best not to stress. And if you really do want that workout…Well…Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
How do you handle life getting in the way of your routine?
P.S. Thought it was interesting to read T-Rex to Tigress’s post since most of my writing about life getting in the way has been about diet. But life most definitely can get in the way of working out too!
Here is also a great post by 43Fitness about life getting in the way (AKA TRAVEL/VACATION) and how she handles it. Thought she had some great rules!
For awhile now, I’ve been telling myself that I need to start up yoga again.
Yoga makes me feel so good…after it is over.
In a way, it’s like foam rolling and stretching…even warming up and cooling down…people either love it or skip it because they don’t see an immediate benefit, like sweat pouring off of them and their heart beating hard.
You may not be gasping for air or have that feeling that you were just “destroyed” by a workout, but if you want something that will help your lifts and make you both mentally and physically stronger, yoga is it!
Very quickly though, I will note that there is a big difference from a yoga that is simply stretching and one that does force you to hold more strengthening poses that may cause a bit of muscle shake-age. Both have their place and can be very beneficial, BUT there is a difference between what you will get out of each.
The yoga that I prefer is one that, yes does have stretching, but more importantly creates a bit of muscles shake-age. (AND also to note…I’m not necessarily talking about one specific “type” of yoga. Sometimes people can take the same class and get very different things out of it based on how low they choose to go in their warrior pose….)
While both can be great for recovery and mobility and flexibility work, ones that force you to hold a low and strong warrior pose for a decent amount of time are going to create more strength both mentally and physically.
I believe that one of the best ways to create more mental strength (and physical for that matter) is to force yourself to do something longer than your mind tells you that you want to do it. Our minds will give up way before our bodies have to.
Do one more squat than you want to…One more push up…Run that extra sprint…
All those things push you just a little beyond what you want to do.
But personally, I don’t think any are quite as good at developing mental strength as forcing yourself to hold an isometric pose while your muscles start to shake just a bit.
Pushing yourself to hold that Crescent pose even when your leg is shaking is an incredibly difficult thing. You don’t get to move…AT ALL.
At least when you are doing that extra sprint or extra squat, you are moving. For some reason, getting to move makes pushing yourself to do an extra rep just a wee bit easier. It’s like because you are moving you can feel yourself getting closer to the end so you can hold out through that extra rep or so.
Whereas it is WAY easier to give up when you are simply holding a move while being super uncomfortable and just waiting for the time to pass. It is hard to keep calm while your legs or arms are shaking and your mind is screaming at you “GIVE UP!” and you aren’t allowed to move.
Continuing to hold Warrior I as your legs shake until that teacher (or timer) tells you to stop can be incredibly challenging. You just want to stand up so bad as your leg muscles burn.
And the best part is…your instructor is probably also telling you at the same time that your mind wants to give up, “Just relax and breathe.”
Just relax and breath….
As your legs or arms are shaking, as your mind is telling you to give up, just RELAX and BREATHE.
And the reason the instructor is telling you this?
Because your mind will give up before your body has to.
Your mind will start screaming at you all sorts of negative thoughts. It will make you tighten and clench muscles that don’t even need to be clenched. It will force your breath to become more shallow, labored and even “panicked.”
But if you just focus on deep calming breaths and keep your mind on trying to relax the muscles, you may just manage to beat your mind and successfully hold the pose longer than you ever thought possible.
If you want to reach your full potential, if you want to lift more or run faster, you’ve got to not only strengthen your body, but also your mind.
You’ve got to be able to be RELAXED UNDER TENSION.
So the next time you consider skipping yoga because it isn’t that hard a workout, think about what your body and mind really need.
My guess is that most of us out there aren’t getting enough mobility and flexibility work let alone ever really focused on working on our mental strength during our workouts….Physical strength yes…maybe even “pushing ourselves” but truly focused on relaxing under tension? I DON’T THINK SO!
So try adding in yoga once a week. It may just be what your body and mind need to take your performance (and even your health!) to the next level!
Tonight I’m teaching my first ever yoga class. Ok…It’s spinning then a half hour of yoga, but still…I have to teach yoga.
I’ve done yoga on my own. I’ve taken classes. But never did I EVER think I would teach yoga.
I like yoga. I think it is great for you.
But I also hate yoga. I do not find it relaxing in the least to hold any of the warrior poses. How can it be relaxing to hold a low lunge for like 30 seconds!?!
Uhm it isn’t!!!! Although I think most people don’t stay super low in their warrior poses….Am I wrong?
I think that I’m missing the “Zen” gene…just like I’m missing the “running” gene.
In both cases though, I do the exercises that I hate because I know they are good for me. Although I do try to skip them as often as possible.
I mean yoga especially is great for you – it makes you more flexible and helps you develop overall functional strength.
And yes, running to is good for you. Especially sprints!
I know these two things that I hate are good for me. AND I DO THEM BOTH (Just as little as possible to actually be able to say I do them!)
There are going to be exercises out there that you hate doing, but you can’t just not do things that are good for you!
Yeah sometimes eating healthy sucks. But you do it.
Yeah you love running and would rather run than ever do weights, but weights are good for you!
You can’t just skip things that are good for you!
You may not innately like weights just like I don’t like running or doing yoga. BUT you can develop a LOVE for them because you know they are good for you! You should do them because they are good for you!
And I bet you will grow to love/hate the exercises you avoid now as much as I have.
Try it! What exercises do you avoid even though you know they are good for you?
Happy Birthday Candy! In celebration, Candy and I will be spinning and doing yoga today. Yoga…uhm…
I haven’t done yoga in a while. And I should be doing it more often…like almost once a week.
While I don’t think yoga should be the only workout that you ever do, it does have some great benefits!
Here are some benefits:
1. Improved flexibility.
2. Improved strength – Holding warrior one (aka a low lunge) or doing a chataranga (not sure if that is worded correctly but it is essentially a push up) isn’t easy! How could holding a lunge or doing a push up not make you stronger?
3. Improved posture – Stronger and more flexible muscles = better posture.
4. Improved lung capacity – Yoga focuses on deep breathing which can help you relax and increase your lung capacity.
5. Improved mental state – Yoga will help you relax. It will also teach you to relax while holding uncomfortable positions. This is, in my opinion, the second biggest benefit besides improved flexibility. I’ve found that most of my clients give up mentally before their bodies actually have to. Yoga teaches you to be mentally stronger. It can really help you push through those last painful reps during a weight workout.
Ok so enough about the benefits of yoga. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEAST JR.!!!