It’s no secret I love to workout. I love running and I love yoga but for many years I’ve struggled with workout guilt. Maybe it’s a product of being a collegiate athlete, and always getting my workouts in. When I was skiing I knew that a missed workout could be the difference between being national champion and not even getting on the podium. I’d get my workout in on days it was pouring and I’d rather stay inside, I’d get it in when I didn’t feel up to it or felt too stressed with school to really get a workout in. I was dedicated and determined to accomplish my athletic goals.
After college, when I started working I struggled to come to peace with workouts. I’d get up at 5am everyday to get to the gym and always make time for it. But on the days I desperately wanted to skip my workout (in favor of fun things with friends, or some quality down time) I’d feel such guilt. I’d convince myself it was ok with a million excuses, call my Mom and make her tell me it was ok and finally after bugging everyone around me I’d skip the workout. Unhealthy to say the least.
When I was working at my old job I’d workout as a way to relieve stress, and feel better. Missing workouts wasn’t really on the top of my list but since I commuted over an hour each way a missed workout was often reality. Over time I began to feel better about skipping workouts and I’d stop bugging my Mom for validation that it was ok. I’d find flexibility in my workouts and would aim for 5 workouts per week, not everyday and was comfortable having to rearrange my workout schedule as the week went on.
Lately though as I’ve adjusted to my new job, I’ve come to feel such peace with my workouts and have finally felt I don’t need a workout each day. Somedays I plan for a run but it just doesn’t happen. Others I don’t plan for it but find myself up early and heading out for a run or finding my way on to the mat. Other times work is just crazy and filled with meetings and rather than stress myself out adding a workout in, I just make it a rest day.
Let me tell you, this new approach is so freeing! It feels like a huge relief, it’s crazy to think something I love so much stressed me out to such a level. The other side of this is that I feel like my workouts are more satisfying and of better quality. I listen to my body more instead of just pushing through, I feel happier post workout because I really wanted to get one in and I put more effort in to each workout.
Call it contentment with life, or peace with myself but I’m loving it. Maybe, I’ll gain a pound or two from a few less runs but I’ll just call it my happy weight. The point is, I’m out running and on the mat practicing yoga these days because it makes me happy and it’s where I want to be. Some mornings I’m curled in bed for an extra hour getting snuggle time. And some days I’m giving myself permission to stress less and relax more by skipping a workouts.
The funniest part of this is that the number of workouts I get in per week is not much different from when I’d plan them and stress out over missing them. I still get in 5 or 6 workouts just on my own time, when it’s not stressful and exactly what I want to be doing. It’s so freeing and so much healthier.