I think I can say that I started my health journey about 2.5 years ago, January 2010. That month I dropped my former concept of “healthy eating,” ditched the “diet foods” and focused whole-heartily on a diet rich in whole, unprocessed, refined sugar-free, and mostly-vegetarian foods. I also started running. A lot.
Taking a break from the seemingly constant flow of travel and touristing we’ve been doing lately, I felt the need to talk about health and fitness for a quick moment.
It took me till October 2011 to realize that running alone was not a well-rounded approach to fitness, at least not for my body personally. In other words, I needed to put my fears aside and pick up some weights.
And I can say with absolute confidence that since January 2012 I have put in a solid effort on the fitness front. I have worked out anywhere from 3-5 times a week, doing a mix of running, weights, cardio classes, and yoga. I really feel as if I have given my fitness my best, and I can say truthfully that it is now a part of my routine, of my life.
I’ve learned a lot since 2010. Probably one of the most important lessons has been understanding and accepting the evolution of my health journey. In other words, it takes a while to figure out exactly what diet and fitness routine is right for your body. But really that is a whole other post entirely.
What sparked this post today was the simple fact that I am skipping my workout.
It’s supposed to be my third day of Crossfit. It’s also my first solid week back at the gym after vacation. And I only have a little over a half day at work today.
But last night, not only did I have a hard time falling asleep, I actually woke up with a start in the middle of the night filled with worry. You see my family is coming in tomorrow, and I’m going to Charlottesville next week. And although I know they don’t care what we do or what we eat, ( let’s be real here, we haven’t seen each other since April so standing in a parking lot chatting and hugging would probably suffice at this point) being the person I am, I want to show them the best time possible. Which requires a little prep work.
So when I woke up last night, all of my “to do’s” running through my head. My schedule planted itself in front of my eyes with every little minute filled up. And when I woke up this morning, hopeful that the late-night worry sesh would have subsided, I realized it hadn’t, and that something was going to have to give.
Seeing as work was not an option, and regardless of whether I put them off, my errands and cleaning tasks have to be done before the fam gets here tomorrow afternoon.
That leaves my workout.
This is where the tangent that I started out with comes into play. There was a time where it was all too easy to skip a workout. Then to skip another. And before I knew it, a month had passed and I was completely out of the workout routine, and getting back into it required an act of God.
However, I’ve come a long way since those days. And some days workouts have to be skipped.
I think somewhere in my head I’ve established a set of criteria for a justified skipping of a workout, and really there are only two big ones.
My Valid Reasons To Skip A Workout
1. Stress – When my day gets so full of responsibilities and tasks that it ultimately sends me to my stressing point (this means something different to everyone – for me it means losing sleep, inability to focus at work or during other important events or tasks, feeling like I am at an emotional breaking point, etc…), and skipping a workout will negate that stress. –> Skip
Reasoning: I’ve learned to look at the big picture when it comes to health. I trust myself to not let one skipped workout turn into a month without seeing the gym. It’s all about balance, and if giving up my gym session will free up enough time to make the rest of my to do list manageable, it’s worth it to my mental health. There’s no reason to lose sleep and stress all day over a workout in my opinion. Especially when working out should be a STRESS RELIEVER not a stress producer in the first place!
2. Health – If I have been sick or am otherwise not physically at least 85%, and I know that even if I go to the gym I will not be able or willing to push myself to the extent in which I will benefit from the workout –> Skip
Reasoning: When I work out, I strive to push myself as hard as possible (obviously within reason and safely). To me it’s not worth my (sometimes very precious) time to give a workout a half-assed effort. What is the point of even going if you aren’t going to work hard enough to make a difference? I want to leave knowing I gave it my best. If I have been sick and my energy levels are too far down to work hard, or if the previous days’ workouts have left me so sore it’s not feasible to workout properly or effectively, I will let my body rest another day sot hat when I do workout again I am refreshed and ready.
I think the key in general is to truthfully assess why you are trying to skip. Are your reasons excuses hidden by convincing rationale, or are they legitimate obstacles/setbacks?
Then create a plan or timeline for getting back to your workouts.
And most importantly, follow the plan, work to build up a trust (in this case another word for discipline) within yourself.
And lastly, give yourself a break. One missed workout, just like one run-in with a triple tiered chocolate fudge cake won’t ruin all of your efforts. There is always the next day and the next meal to start over.