I used to miss more workouts than I would ever care to admit, but what can I say?, it happened. The most important thing is that it doesn’t happen any longer, because I’ve learned to recognize the symptoms that lead to workout disaster.
In my experience, there are two types of situations that will cause you to miss a workout:
- Unplanned situations beyond our control
- What I like to call the “excuse zone“
The “excuse zone” is when you blame something else, so you don’t feel guilty for missing a workout. It usually goes something like this, “Oh man, I don’t feel like working out because…
- I’m just so tired
- I worked late
- I don’t have the time
- It’s just too hot
Unplanned situations beyond our control that cause us to miss a workout do happen, but I find this type of situation does not produce the same kind of mental effect, as the “excuse zone”. When this type of event occurs, we can more easily pick up with our next workout without any qualms.
On the other hand, when you fall into the “excuse zone” trap and your excuse wins, this is when problems begin to occur. You get in the wrong frame of mind overall. If this has happened to you, you are well aware of how soon enough, the evil “excuses” begin to win more and more until you are saying “Geez, I really need to start working out again”.
Those words are something I never want to hear you say. Missing a workout for whatever reason is NEVER the end all, be all. You just need to keep at it, even if you used one of the above excuses.
How to Avoid the “Excuse Zone”
1. Remember, the reason “why” you began to workout. Is your “why” still there? If your “why” is powerful enough, it will overcome any workout excuse you can think of. Try it the next time you want to skip a workout because of a rough day at work. If you feel your “why” is not strong enough to keep you going, reassess your reasons to make sure it will push you to work out when you’re just not feeling like it.
2. Just do your workout even if you feel too tired, too beat, or you just plain ol’ don’t feel like it. If you get 10 minutes into your workout and you’re still not feeling it, then your mind and body may need the rest. Simply take the rest of the day off.
3. Take a few minutes, close your eyes, and envision your workout. Then, mentally go through the workout in your mind. Make your mental vision as clear and detailed as possible right down to the color socks you’ll be wearing and how it feels to break that first sweat. This mental preparation will usually help get your mind in gear.
4. Stop making excuses! There is going to be a time when you just have to stop making excuses. What is more frustrating than someone who is underperforming at work, but then they continually make up excuses to the boss why this and that didn’t get done, and they get away with it?! If an excuse enters your mind, push it aside and just do your workout. You don’t want to be that person who uses excuses to make yourself feel better – own up to it if you skip a workout.
5. Make working out a part of your life, not just something you do. Plan it into your day to ensure you’re making time for it. For example, if you know you’re going to a function after work and you usually work out at night, then make sure you get up slightly earlier to fit that workout into your day. Yes, it’s not that pleasant when you’re not used to it, but you will thank yourself at the end of the day when you were able to keep on track.
What to Do if You Really Do Need a Break
Sometimes, you really do need a break from working out – it’s what your body and mind require. If your diet is right, you are getting enough sleep, and you still can’t break out of a workout funk, you may want to take a 1-2 week break from training to clear your head.
During the break is the perfect time to take a look at your life and reassess your goals. For example, take a look at how your diet could be improved or your lifestyle in general. Is there something extrinsic that might be preventing you from working out? The point here is to find out what’s bothering you and do something about it. Though you might not be working out during this time, you can continue to learn and improve.
Personally, I take a one week break every 60-90 days. I find this gives my body and mind a nice time off period, but it’s not a long enough time that I begin to lose progress. It also helps me re-energize.
Do you take breaks from working out or do you train year-round?