Dear Cassey: If I don’t work out, I feel panicked and stressed.

Dear Cassey,

I started working out a couple of months ago and I absolutely love it and enjoy it however I’m starting to feel pressure to work out every day. There’s a constant voice in my head telling me that if I don’t work out, I’ll gain back all the weight I’ve lost and all my hard work would have been for nothing. As restrictions are loosening I’m getting busier and busier and finding it harder to find time to work out, but if I don’t work out I start feeling stressed and panicked. Please give me some advice on how to control my fear.

Thank you,

Feeling The Pressure

weekly planner workout rest day

Dear Feeling the Pressure,

There is such a fine line between committing to a healthy habit like working out and letting that habit rule your life. It’s easy to cross, and I’ve been there! I used to have days where I would literally sit in the gym parking lot just dreading my workout, but knowing I would feel so guilty if I didn’t go in. The workouts that brought me joy had turned into more of a punishment. Sound familiar?

The good news is, you can turn it back around!

I think when we get really serious about something like working out, it can be really easy to feel pressured to work out every day. Especially if you’re starting to see results, you can feel guilty for not adhering to a schedule.

At the same time, our world turned completely upside down this year. We’ve held on to any kind of routine and outlet that we can. For you, that might have turned into working out. And like you said, as things are loosening up, we’re having to let go of our “new” routines that have been keeping us afloat all year.

So, just like adjusting earlier this year was probably a little uncomfortable, we have to adjust again.

That means giving yourself permission to REST.

Not only are you getting busier with other things, but your body needs time to recoup from workouts. Instead of feeling pressured to workout every day, build some rest days into your plan. Because they should be part of the plan anyway! Your body can’t fully recover and your muscles can’t repair and grow without rest. You won’t see progress without rest.

I know it’s easier said than done. If I have days when I’m not moving in some way, I kind of go crazy. It makes me feel pressured to work out sometimes too, but I’ve learned to use my energy for other things! Rest days can also be productive if you feel up to it! Try something like walking, yoga, cleaning your house, etc. that will still get your blood pumping a little without the intensity of a workout. But if your body is asking for total rest, give it some rest. I promise it will not reverse your hard work or slow any momentum you have going.

I guess I’m just saying it’s all in your mindset. Work on changing your self-talk and move away from the guilty thoughts about missing a workout. Instead, recognize that you’re doing good things for your body by resting. Or, you’re doing good things for your mental health by being productive in other ways that you haven’t been able to tackle most of this year!

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, I’m taking questions via text at 510-692-4556. Currently this only works for US and Canada. If you’re outside of those countries, you can leave a question below.

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