Playing Hooky

Posted: March 10, 2011 at 8:58 am

I skipped my workout on Tuesday. I couldn’t bring the kids to the child care in the morning because M was (and still is) sick. Then, as the day wore on I found myself increasingly tired and decreasingly motivated. I battled back and forth with whether or not to go. I thought of all the usual things that get me out the door when I lack motivation:

  • The popular “I never regret a workout” mantra. <—I know Julie loves that one!
  • Telling myself I can take it easier because something is better than nothing.
  • Putting on my workout clothes to get in the workout mood.
  • Thinking about the energy at the gym and how it may help my tired, sour mood.
  • Questioning if there was a physical need to rest and determining there was none.
  • Remembering that my progress pictures/measurements are this weekend.

No matter what I told myself, however, the thought of heading to the gym almost made me cry. In that moment, I knew I needed to skip out for the day. 99% of the time I look forward to the gym. 99% of the time it doesn’t take much to get me out the door or down in the basement for a workout. So those days I feel myself hating the thought of the gym, I tend to know something is going on and I shouldn’t push it. A growth spurt and two harder days at mommy work had me hitting rock bottom. I had very little energy and just wanted to relax.

So, I watched The Bachelor instead and hit the gym again right away Wednesday morning feeling refreshed and ready to kick butt. We always hear tips to increase motivation to get in that workout, but I want to say sometimes its okay to play hooky too. Just be sure its not every workout. ;) 

Question of the Day – When do you know you need to skip a workout? How hard is it for you to skip?

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58 Comments to “Playing Hooky”
  1. Mandy says:

    I know I need to skip a workout when my body feels exhausted and no matter what I do I can’t mentally get myself in the mood for it. It’s not usually a problem but when I feel these things I listen to my body and take a rest day 🙂

    Hope M is feeling better soon!!!

  2. Angela says:

    I know I need to take a rest day when, like you, I just really don’t want to go to the gym. I’m the type that REALLY looks forward to my workouts about 85% of the time, but for those other 15%, I know that my body just needs a break. When I do take a rest, the workouts the days after feel so much better than if I just try to push through.

  3. If I feel really crappy, I’m definitely able to skip a workout. I do feel a twinge of guilt, but I just remind myself that overall, I exercise very regularly and skipping one day because my body is asking me to will probably make me healthier, not less healthy!

  4. Yep, sounds like a major rest day to me. When I can’t even stand the thought of picking up a weight, heck, putting on my workout clothes, then I know it’s time for a break!

  5. Kristina says:

    When I skip I’m going back and forth in my head on the pros and cons and trying to convince myself it will be better in the end…but I find when I skip, i’m also more likely to snack my face off!
    I’ve been working on a lot with intuition, don’t feel like working out-eating a salad, etc-then dont….

  6. I think you needed the rest! I work out first thing every morning, so unless I am sick, I don’t skip it. If I need a lighter workout, I just do something fun and a little easier. I hope M feels better later today!

  7. Unfortunately it’s too easy for me to skip a workout. This is one of the main reasons I read your blog. I’m hoping your enthusiasm for the gym will rub off of me!

  8. Okay I crack myself up. That should read rub off ON me. 🙂

  9. LindseyAnn says:

    Yeah, I think if you had all of those things going on, you definitely needed the mental health day, and that’s OK!
    I usually plan a midweek day to either rest or crosstrain. I just know by midweek I’ll need the option, and often if I know it’s there I’m more motivated on the other days. Besides, rest is training, too!

    • Tina says:

      I always take Sundays as complete rest days, but definitely agree its good for the body to rest extra if needed. I think Tuesday was more for my mental health than anything. LOL

  10. Lauren says:

    I’ll skip a workout if I feel exhausted, sick, or very sore. I tend to be too hard on myself for having too many rest days in a week, but if I’ve been working hard other days, then I need that rest day.

  11. before i signed up for races, i found myself justifying why it was ok to skip multiple workouts a week. now, when i feel myself dragging, i think of my triathlon and how i will only be hurting myself in the long run. plus, i go right from work, which makes it a million times easier than if i went home first!

  12. Like you, I know I need to skip a workout when I just can’t stomach the idea of doing it. That’s a sure sign that my body is saying NOT TODAY!

  13. Allie says:

    It is nice to hear you aren’t afraid to skip a work out. Glad you put your children first in your life and how you feel 🙂 Such a good role model!!!!

  14. It is hard for me to miss my long runs on the long weekend, only because I start to worry that I won’t be ready for the marathon. The short runs in the middle of the week? It is too easy for me to skip them. I took a whole week off and I feel a surge of energy to get back to it.

  15. Emily says:

    Sounds like you did the right thing. It’s tough for me to skip a workout but if my body is really feeling fatigued, I know I’m better off resting.

  16. Good for you for taking a well-deserved (& needed) break. I know it’s OK to skip a workout if my muscles are really sore or I just don’t feel like it ~ that doesn’t happen often, so I give myself a break now and again. I would say if the thought brought you to tears, you are definitely deserving a day off! Hope you are feeling better today 🙂

  17. I take rest days based on how I feel or how much I have going on. I actually schedule 7 days a week of workouts and then literally “pick” a rest day or two each week on the fly. That way I have room for life to get in the way. I will say though, because I’m so used to being working out, I sometimes feel like I’m being lazy on rest days and feel guilty – but my husband does a good job of reminding me that it’s a “rest day” and not something to feel guilty about!

  18. Good for you for listening to yourself. I know I need a break the same way you do – when even thinking about going to the gym makes me want to burst into tears and put my pajamas on instead. I always go to the gym the next day and kick butt!

  19. I think it’s great that you knew you needed to rest and you did. Listening to your body is a wonderful thing. I know that I need a rest when thinking about going to the gym makes me feel gross. Truthfully, it’s easy to skip a workout but it’s even worse when I don’t end up going and realize that I should’ve gone to the gym.

  20. I had a moment of wanting to skip a workout last week… a long run with lots of intervals. I was stressed and just didn’t want to run it. I ended up getting out and just running, a complete zone-out, slow w/o any intervals. I felt great afterwards so I think sometimes a “break” from the schedule can also just be a different workout than what’s planned. That said, I never underestimate an extra rest day now & then! btw, love the mantra!

    • Tina says:

      Yea. Usually I can at least feel up to something, even if its not the same as I planned. Even that didn’t work on me Tuesday. I love that technique for other times though for sure!

  21. awesome!!! it’s definitely ok to skip a workout sometimes. the most important thing is listening to your body!

  22. Kat says:

    when my alarm goes off and my first thought is one of dread and “all I want is more sleep!” I know it’s time for a day off… usually, I’m up before the alarm, ready to go 🙂

  23. Kara says:

    I skip for the same reasons as you. If I just dread it, then I don’t do it. It’s supposed to be fun (well, not painful)!

    I’d rather get a great workout the next day than force myself to do a sub-par workout two days in a row.

  24. Dorry says:

    Every once in a while, I just know that I need to skip a workout. It’s usually when I have other things I need to get done and realize I’ll rush through the workout thinking about what I should be doing instead. And then there are times when I just want to sit on the couch with Billy. 🙂

  25. I know I need to when the thought of working out makes me feel exhausted!

  26. jassy says:

    the body knows what it wants…when we feel exhausted just thinking about working out, maybe rest is needed even for a while to recharge 🙂

  27. It’s still hard for me to take a rest day, but I know I need it when, after two cups of coffee, a good breakfast and plenty of rest, I’m STILL feeling sluggish. I’ve learned that allowing myself to take a break from the gym does wonders for me, both physically and mentally. Post-rest workouts are the best!

  28. Julie says:

    If I want to skip out I usually know that it’s for real and if I do go it will probably be a worthless w/o. HOWEVER, there are those times when you think you’re not up for it and it ends up being the best workout ever….like my swim the other day. I just had to get myself going and the rest fell into place.

  29. Good for you for knowing when it’s just not happening at the gym. I’ve been dealing with a lot of that as of late…

    However, I do like the “better than nothing” mentality mentioned above in the mantras. Even a walk makes me feel a little better- I got moving and was still able to clear my head. 🙂

  30. I hate having to skip a swim. I just worry about how it is going to affect me mentally to not have that stress relief. Yesterday we were on a road trip and it was bugging me all day that I couldn’t swim, but towards the end, I started thinking two things that help me a lot: 1) I think about how awesome my swim is going to feel the next day and how much more energy I will have (and for me, how my pain won’t be so high because I rested)…and 2) I think about how in 3 weeks (or even after my next workout), I won’t even remember that one agonizing day.

  31. It’s not hard for me to skip because, like you, 99% of the time I look forward to working out. So when I don’t, it’s far and few between and no big deal 🙂

  32. I feel the same way that you do–when I almost cry at the thought of a workout, it’s time for a rest. I like that system because it is REALLY easy to tell when I shouldn’t workout!

  33. Nicole, RD says:

    Good for you, listening to your body’s needs! I skip a workout occasionally and it’s usually due to fatigue, too. I just have to be careful to time manage appropriately so that those reasons stay at a minimum, or else I’d be skipping a lot!

  34. Heather says:

    Good for you for listening to your body and not forcing it!
    I skip when I’m feeling rundown and absolutely DREAD the thought of working out. Other than that I know I’ll just feel guilty at the end of the day so I just do it.

  35. It’s hard for me to skip unless I need a rest day physically, but I think my life is pretty non-stressful in the scheme of things! I do have days where I’m just not in the mood to exercise, but I feel like I’m just in a bad mood regardless, and I know that exercise always helps to cheer me up!

  36. I’m starting to figure out that when I am thinking “I don’t feel like going to the gym” it is either I am being lazy or I am truly burned out and my body and mind need a break (those are the days when I allow myself the break.)

  37. Kudos to you for listening to your body!

  38. erin says:

    I always try to convince myself too – for the reasons you listed. I know I usually feel better ONCE I am there.

    But Tuesday I went and ended up doing only half my workout. If I couldn’t get into the rhythm once I was there, I knew my workout wasn’t worth it and I would just go back the next day to do it right and feel better about it and myself.

    You’ll get your Mojo back. Sometimes you just need downtime, right?

  39. Tina says:

    My I can almost hear my body screaming at me, then I know I need a day off. Sometimes I will be so sore, that I will skip the gym and just do lots of stretching. While it is difficult to skip the gym when you have a good momentum going, I know I am way better off just listening to my body!

  40. I have two kids also…….so can relate!!!!

  41. I always know I need to skip a workout when I envision how I will feel afterward. For some reason, that helps me figure out if it’s a head-thing or a reality-thing. I always remember to balance challenge with my mom’s mantra: “Be good to yourself.” That resurfaces when I’m pushing too hard, and also when I need a kick in the butt to get me moving 🙂

    Wow, this site is beautiful! I love your layout.

  42. I totally agree! Skipping a workout makes me way more motivated and ready for the next one! 🙂

  43. Jen says:

    I skipped my workout this morning, no matter what I tried, I just was NOT feeling it!

  44. I never regret a workout but when I really need to skip…I never regret it either 😀 Sometimes we just need a break and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    It’s what you do more often than not that matters!

  45. Nicole says:

    I’m with ya, I took an extra day off this week when I was feeling particularly tired and was able to put so much more energy into my workout the following day!!

  46. jobo says:

    Man, this is such a hard one for me too! But when all of those things you list fail to motivate, then it is time to skip the gym! you feel way more refreshed the next time, right? That’s when I know too, or when my whole body is sore! Glad you listened to your body!

  47. I know I need to take a day off or a full rest period when I dread working out, I’m feeling exhausted, and the the thought of exercise makes me cringe. It doesn’t happen often, as I always fit in rest days each week, but when it does I listen! Rest is essential!

    • Tina says:

      Thats exactly how I feel. I always have one full rest day each week, so if another day happens where I really feel the need for it – I know I should take it.

  48. Nidia says:

    Good for resting…. I took a day off today becasue I also fit in rest days each week like Linsey…. sometimes I dont want to listen to my body and regret it later on……Im learning to read my body 🙂

  49. I know I need to skip a workout when my body is feeling horrible, like I am coming down with something or that I am actually sick….I will think to myself that it will be better for me to skip it and then push myself when its a time my body should really rest. And I know how hard it is when the baby keeps you up all night bc of cont feeding sessions. Hang in there mama!! you are doing so great!!!

  50. Stephanie says:

    As a busy mom…there aren’t too many times I beat myself up badly over a missed workout if the focus elsewhere was needed. 🙂

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