3 Reasons to Take Days Off

I’ve made it to the gym twice this week. TWO times. If y’all know me, you know I’m normally there at least 5 days a week. But this past week, I just wasn’t feeling it.

And that's okay!

My boyfriend and I took a trip to Austin, Texas recently. It was a great little getaway from North Carolina, a fun spot to explore and is definitely an interesting city. 

Normally when I go on trips, I’ll drop into a gym that catches my interest (usually has the old school equipment), and will just train that 1 day and then be walking/hiking the remainder of the trip. But this trip was based around A’s training schedule so while he was aggressively hugging men (Jiu-Jitsu) 2x a day, I popped into Gold’s, LA Fitness, and Big Text gyms while there. 

Again, if you know me, you know I am a VERY routine based person. Texas totally threw me off of that routine, which is okay. It was filled with early mornings and late nights, but also filled with good food, great vanilla latte’s and breakfast tacos (thank you Patika) and a fun time seeing how A and I traveled together.

When we returned to NC, I took Sunday off like normal. Then I decided to give myself Monday too, go on a couple walks with Maisie and get back to the gym on Tuesday. Tuesday took a turn…got home after work and my lock was apartment lock was broken, so I had to wait around for the maintenance guys to fix it. At that point what little motivation I had was loss so again, no workout.

I managed to get in the gym on Wednesday for a quick WOD (see it here) and really the only reason I made it in was because A was there and I wanted to see him before he left to travel for the holiday.

I made it in on Friday, again for a quick WOD (see it below). During that 15 minute workout, my body was telling me NOPE. I was just tired, my body ached, and I felt winded. So I made the decision to take the rest of the weekend off and just focus on getting outside and taking Maisie on a couple long walks each day. 

I’ve always struggled mentally with taking time off from the gym. In the past, I’ve felt guilty or lazy for taking time off. And there’s really no reason for me to feel that way. It’s okay to take time off, we all need it for various reasons. 

In the time that I’ve been working out and training others, I’ve learned 3 things about taking time off from the gym.

  • Body feels achy / rundown
    • Working out is going to make you sore and your body feel tired. But there’s a difference between soreness and achiness. If you’re continually feeling achy, even after stretching / foam rolling / mobility work, it might be a sign to take a break. Your body isn’t able to recover to the extent that it needs to, and if you don’t let it, you’ll continue to feel shitty, have crappy workouts, and eventually injure yourself…forcing you to take time off. 
  • Other things take priority
    • There are more things to life than just working out. Our priorities will determine what and where our focus goes each day. Some days or weeks work, kids, travel, etc will take priority and you won’t be able to make it to the gym. That’s OKAY. Especially if you’re going to be more stressed out than usual. I know the gym is usually a stress relief for most, but working out IS a stress on the body and if you’re already under a lot of stress, a workout is just going to add to it…even more so when you’re trying to cram it into your schedule that’s already full.
  • Going through the motions / reaching burnout
    • Some days our hearts and minds just aren’t in it. But when you’re feeling that way for an entire week or a few, it may be time to take a break from the gym. Fitness is just as much mental as it is a physical activity. It requires attention and intention, some days we just don’t have it. If you’re starting to feel this way – lack of focus in the gym, not motivated to be there but feel obligated, it feels like a chore…consider taking 3 days to an entire week off.

We all need  break some times. Our minds and our bodies need a break because they are constantly functioning for us. 

Missing the gym for a few days isn’t going to hurt you. Really, your body will definitely thank you for it. 

One of the things I’ve learned when taking days off from lifting is to not just totally lounge. But rather get outside, go for walks, enjoy some sunshine and fresh air. Also doing some stretching and mobility work for 5-10 minutes each day. This is something I’ve started to add into my morning routine…some days it happens, some days it doesn’t. 

The gym is a form of self-care. Taking a day off from the gym is self-care too. Listen to your body and your brain – are you tired? are you stressed? unmotivated? body aching and feeling bloated? etc. If you are, make the choice to take care of yourself and skip the gym for a day!

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