there is a popular said in the fitness community that you never regret a workout. and while that usually It may be true, there are just some days that your mind doesn’t care and urges you to avoid it anyway.
This is not only perfectly normal; it is totally acceptable. The notion that you should force yourself to do hard workouts creates an unsustainable and poor relationship with exercise.
I’ve personally been a victim of it: many days, I’ve been consumed with guilt or shame because I didn’t commit to a workout I originally planned to do, or didn’t perform as well as I thought I would.
Despite what you see on Instagram, fitness professionals often feel the same way. So how do you honor this feeling and navigate it when it happens?
Read on for some of her best tips on how to stick to a routine while staying kind to your body and mind.
Sometimes they just don’t work.
“I take days off and I give myself permission to take those days,” said Kenny Santucci, a trainer from New York City and founder of Strong New York and The Strength Club.
Recovery is vital in any fitness routine. For Santucci, some recovery days may include him trying to “walk, ride a bike or do something that keeps me moving a little bit,” he said, noting that movement always gets him out of a mental jam.
For other people, recovery may mean taking a complete break, and that’s okay. It’s about listening to your body and not pushing yourself to the point where you end up hating exercise.
“Just like when you wake up feeling rested after a good night’s sleep, a rest day will give your body an equal chance to face your next workout with energy and enthusiasm,” Jess Spelke, a fitness trainer in Denver, told The Associated Press. HuffPost.
They recognize that their fitness level may change.
What you may have conquered yesterday may not be the same today. By the same token, your ability to exercise in your 30s will certainly be different in another decade.
Don’t be hard on yourself because an “older” version of you might have.
“Your physical form is going to change. The way you take care of your body is going to change from when you’re in your 20s to when you’re 80,” Kendall Toole, a Peloton instructor and mental health advocate, told HuffPost in May. “You will always have to take care of your fitness, but the way you move your body will change. The things your body can do will change.”
They remind themselves that fitness isn’t just about one workout.
Your mind is as important as your body. Sometimes it may be better to prioritize that.
“We live in unprecedented times and therefore our stress requires a different amount of bandwidth. My fitness has evolved into a very holistic state that encompasses training, sleep, therapy, meditation, journaling and reading to relax,” said Kate Lemere, Head Instructor at Barry’s Chicago. “It’s not just about training. It’s about your peace of mind and quality of life.”
They commit to doing just a few minutes.
Your workout doesn’t need to be long for you to reap the benefits.
“I do 20 minutes of cycling, running or strength training. It only takes 20 minutes to reboot and get me feeling good,” Tunde Oyeneyin, a Peloton instructor and author of “Speak,” told HuffPost in an interview last year.
Finding an enjoyable way to move your body for a short period of time, also known as a workout snack, can be just as effective.
“It’s not just about training. It’s about your peace of mind and quality of life.”
– Kate Lemere, Head Instructor at Barry’s Chicago
They put on an outfit that makes them feel good.
There is something transformative about a really good set of exercises. Oyeneyin said his clothes also give her a little boost.
“I force myself to put on my training clothes,” he said. “Putting on my clothes is the first step for me, it signals my whole body that it’s time to go.”
They play good music before they start.
“I’m definitely known for having a personal dance party before a workout,” Peloton instructor Hannah Corbin told HuffPost in a March interview.
Putting on some tunes that not only get you up but get you dancing can put you in a good frame of mind and help you wind down before you work out.
They are not pressured to perform at their best.
You’re not going to hit a personal best every workout, especially on days when you’re not mentally there. It’s okay. Just keep it simple.
“If I’m doing a bench press, for example, I start on the bench with just the bar and then slowly start to increase the intensity with weights,” Santucci said. “I can’t give 100% every day, so the days I don’t feel good, I’ll take it a little easier.”
They stretch or find a smooth way to move their body.
Corbin said she always prioritizes stretching and foam rolling, noting that it consistently makes her feel good every day. “I often use a foam roller and activate my glutes to feel really strong and grounded instead of feeling sore and like I’m dragging my feet,” she said.
Gentle stretches, like figure fours or hip stretches, are great for giving your body some fluidity if you don’t feel like doing a sweat session.
They find a fun way to move that is more like a game.
Fitness feels easier when it’s an activity you don’t hate. For Noah Neiman, co-founder of Rumble Boxing and Rumble Training in New York, that means hitting a bag.
“If I only have a few minutes to train, my option is to jump rope and box,” Neiman told HuffPost in a 2021 interview. “I believe in therapeutic [power] from so much wrestling training…knuckle therapy, I call it.”
Spend some time discovering fun workouts that don’t seem like, well, work for you. That could mean dancing around your living room to great music, hula hopping, or doing a themed spin class. Finding joy in exercise is essential.
Finally, they focus on their future selves.
“Do you remember learning about inertia in high school science? Stay with me here. I think about it all the time. The act of continuing in a state of rest, or uniform straight motion until impacted by an opposing force,” Lemere said.
“If I don’t feel like going to the gym and skipping a day instead of executing a planned training session, I’m breaking my momentum,” he continued. “The act of resetting is often more challenging than the training itself. On the days when I don’t really feel it, I don’t put pressure on myself to have the best workout, I encourage myself to move for the sake of consistency, so that the next workout will be that much easier.”