If we asked everyone reading this article to raise their hand if they’ve skipped the gym this week, chances are hands would go up across the globe. We’re all guilty of skipping a workout (or two), but when does playing hooky snowball into losing motivation altogether?
Starting a Vicious Cycle
In addition to the obvious physical benefits, exercise can have a major mental impact as well. Exercise has been shown to help those struggling with depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. When someone who works out regularly skips several workouts, it’s not just the body that will feel it – the mind will, too.
Skipping the gym after establishing a schedule can increase stress levels, lower self-esteem, and cause feelings of embarrassment, guilt, and depression. Even worse, we risk dwelling on the skipped workout, which can make us feel even worse.
Skipping the gym can ultimately lead to a new routine: stagnation. After enough time, both the body and mind can become used to inactivity.
Are Breaks of Any Kind Okay?
Of course, taking a break from the gym every now and then is absolutely okay. That’s precisely the reason endurance athletes in swimming, cycling, running, and other sports incorporate downtime into their training schedules. Overtraining can actually be more detrimental than undertraining, as it can lead to injury or burnout.
Unplanned breaks, on the other hand, can completely throw your fitness goals – and your motivation – off track. Try your best to consciously plan your breaks after a period of hard training, but attempt to reduce your activity, not to go cold turkey altogether.
So, You Can Skip This Many Times…
Did you skip ahead just to get to this section? We feel you. Realistically, the key is to never skip more than two workouts in a row if you don’t want to lose your gym motivation.
After two weeks, your muscle fibers will start to lose mass and your attitude can shift dramatically. This can make getting back in the gym harder both mentally and physically.
While it goes without saying that rest days are super important, you need to be interspersing them with actual workouts. Take at least one rest day a week to give your body the time it needs to recover. If you use an alternating schedule of rest-workout-rest, try to avoid giving yourself two rest days in a row.
A Word from GR8NESS
We get it, sometimes you need a break. That’s okay. But, excuses like “not having enough time” or “the gym is boring” are not going to cut it. Check out the instances when it’s more than okay to skip the gym:
- You’re injured – Exercising injured will only prolong your injury. Heal up.
- Lack of sleep – Lack of sleep impairs your judgment and lowers immunity.
- You had an active day – If you’ve been playing sports or running around with the kids, don’t feel guilty about skipping your gym session.
- You’re sick – Keep your germs at home and rest.