Confession. I took ALL of last week off from working out. I honestly could not tell you the last time I did that. I’ve taken one or two days off here or there if I was sick or tired, but never an entire week.
I could give you excuses, like the fact that I had a few back-to-back 14-hour work days, but the truth of the matter is, I just didn’t want to.
I felt really guilty about it at first, but then I thought – no, you know what – I work out 6 days a week almost every single week. I eat pretty darn healthy 90% of the time and I just signed up for the Dopey Challenge for crying out loud. I deserve a little workout break and thought I’d share some tips for how to tell when it’s time to lay off for a bit.
1. You need to rest physically
When you’re pushing pushing pushing, it’s good to give your body a rest every now and then. Give your muscles a few days to just recover. This will be especially helpful if you’ve reached a plateau. Your body may be used to the workouts you’re doing and stop responding. Taking a little break can help your muscles “reset” and start reacting to your workouts again.
2. You need to rest mentally
Sometimes you’re ready and rearing to go to the gym and get your sweat on and sometimes… not so much. A little lack in motivation every now and then is normal, but if you find that you dread your workouts more than usual, it may be time for a break. Lately, every morning when my alarm went off, I just DID NOT want to go. So I didn’t. I took a few days to sleep in and after work I went home and just relaxed. It was mentally refreshing to not have to force myself into motivation.
3. You need a motivation boost
Speaking of motivation, taking a break may be just what you need to get it. I’m in between fitness goals right now, so I needed to take some time away to refocus. After a week off, I was dying to get in a sweat sesh. I guess absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? My first workout back was AWESOME but more on that tomorrow.
4. You’re becoming obsessed
Working out is addictive. The endorphins leave you feeling great – not to mention you have more energy and feel (and probably look) better than when you weren’t working out. This is all great! However, if you start bailing on the rest of life to get in your workout, it may be time for a break. I’m talking about ditching a work meeting to go to the gym, bailing on a friend’s birthday because you need to go for a run, getting only two hours of sleep so you can workout, or when all you can think about day in and day out is what workout you’re going to do next and when you’ll start seeing results and how you can maybe squeeze in a two-a-day to get to your goal faster. This is when you need to stop, take a breather, re-access the role working out plays in your life, and come back at it with a fresh perspective.
5. You need a change
If you’ve been doing the same sort of routine day after day, week after week, it may be time for a break from the norm. Take a few days to rest up and research new moves, workouts, or classes. Then jump back in with some new stuff to try! Your body and your mind will appreciate the break from monotony.
After my week off, I’m back at it full force. I’m feeling re-energized and re-motivated to get in shape. Just in time for summer!
Have you ever taken a workout break?
What’s the longest break you ever took?
How do you re-motivate yourself when you’re just not feeling it?