Why it’s Healthy to Give Yourself Breaks From the Gym

Last week I didn’t go to the gym. Once upon a time I’d have beaten myself up for not being ‘committed’ enough.

The ironic thing is, this would only make me more unproductive. It’s easy to adopt a very ‘all or nothing’ perspective when it comes to health and fitness. You have a week off, obsess over it and ultimately end up even further away from those gym doors as a result. Before you know it, a week becomes two and the rest is history.

Sound familiar?

I honestly think this mindset I once had is 90% of the reason I tried and failed to make exercise a habit so many times.

Nowadays, I believe that a more relaxed approach works so much better, and actually gets me in the gym a lot more than being super-strict with myself.

The week before last, I forced myself into the gym on – I think – Friday, and had a really bad session. I felt weak, hot, sweaty and just generally rubbish and left early. Instead of getting annoyed with myself, I decided to just listen to my body and be gentle on myself.

So I gave myself a week off not only the gym, but also tracking my food, and it really was so lovely. Even more than the break itself, it was just so freeing to not constantly be second guessing myself and stressing about the decision.

Sometimes our bodies just want a bit of a break, and it’s perfectly ok to listen to that. Sometimes our bodies want a break because we’ve been doing too much and they’re tired. Sometimes they just want a break for no apparent reason. Don’t overanalyse the why – the human body is a wonderful and complex thing. Just know that it’s totally ok to listen to what yours is telling you.

Yesterday and today I’ve been back in the gym feeling strong, refreshed and ready to get back to it.

I truly think the key to making fitness a regular part of your life is to stop the over-analysing. Go do some exercise when you want to, give yourself a break when you want to and enjoy it! Sometimes having a nap, eating your favourite food or practicing some self-care can be just as healthy as going to the gym.

So, if you’re toying with the idea of not going to the gym today, take this as a sign! Put your feet up, relax and trust that soon enough you’ll be feeling motivated and ready to get back to it again!

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