Exercise is a big part of my life, and I love fitting it into my daily routine. But life can be crazy sometimes, and life with a toddler is almost always super-crazy. Despite my best intentions, I’ve found myself skipping workouts left, right and centre over the last months. Instagram will tell you that this OMG so terrible (#nevermissamonday, #sorenotsorry, #noexcuses, blah blah). However, I’ve had enough time now (in which I should have been working out…) to reflect on how skipping workouts affects me, and I’m going to argue that what I’ve learnt is not all bad…
1. I didn’t gain any weight
The ultimate proof: working out is not about weight, nor should it be. Skipping workouts has not caused any weight gain for me. Missing a few
days weeks in my exercise regime hasn’t undone all my hard work. I’ve lost a little bit of strength, sure, but give me a week and a barbell and I’ll be back where I was in no time. But my progress most definitely hasn’t been ‘ruined’ because I didn’t stick to my plan religiously.
2. My mood was affected
This wasn’t a huge change, but I noticed that I felt more positive and was more resilient to stress and frustration on workout days than on their non-workout counterparts. This was an interesting observation, and as a result I now make an extra effort to get at least a short workout in when I know that I have a big day ahead.
3. It’s only a small part of a healthy lifestyle, but it can be a major driver
If we took all the elements and efforts that make up our healthy (or healthier) lifestyles, fitness and workouts are only one bullet point on a very big long list. There are SO many other things that are equally important: nutrition, sleep, self-care, rest, mindfulness… the list goes on and on and on. If the only item on the list that I neglect is fitness for a little while, I feel little to no negative effects at all. At the same time, working out seems to be a major driver in my quest for a healthy lifestyle. If I start skipping workouts, I somehow start skipping everything else as well. A few days without my mindfulness exercises here, a couple of unconsidered meal choices there, topped with a late night or two, and boom, the whole cardhouse collapses. So now, I make sure that whenever I skip my workout, I pay extra attention to all the other elements of my healthy lifestyle. I’ll still have my protein shake in the morning, I’ll still make sure I get to bed on time, etc. I find that focusing on these things also helps me get back into the workout groove quicker!
4. Short workouts are my jam
Lauren Gleisberg has been all about 30-minute workouts lately, and utilising these has been a huge game-changer for me. I recently quit my gym membership (I’ll post about that soon if it’s of interest – let me know) and have been working out at home. This means I have to get my arse out of bed really bloody early, and I have an absolute maximum of one hour to to yoga and get in a weight-based/cardio workout. Keeping it short and sweet has made this completely achievable. If I plan anything longer, I end up feeling overwhelmed, which leads to missing more workouts.
Skipping workouts hasn’t been a catastrophe for me at all, I haven’t lost any of the progress I’ve made over the last four years or so, and I don’t feel bad about it. Instead, it’s given me an opportunity to reflect on WHY I work out in the first place – because it makes me feel fantastic and sets me up for the day. Now, let’s see if I can stick to me schedule next week ;).