Many people dread working out. It's something they know they have to do for their health, or in order to maintain their bodyweight and shape. But it may not be something they actually enjoy.
If that's you, check out this article to see why it's important to actually like the way you workout, and how to find the way of working out you like.
But I'm pretty sure that many of you are the opposite. For you, working out is part of who you are, and if that was taken away from you, you wouldn't know what to do with yourself.
I know I'm that way…
I like to workout, and most of the time, really look forward doing it. And if I ever lose workout motivation, there are usually a few things that help to fix this and find it again.
But what if you love to exercise, but for one reason or another, can't do it?
I'm not talking about reasons like not having equipment or time to workout. Those are more excuses than reasons, because you can always do bodyweight workouts, and finding time is usually a matter of setting priorities right. It is possible to find 15-20 minutes if we really want it, and there's no need to workout any longer than that.
But I'm talking about times when we really can't workout because we're sick, injured, fatigued, burnt out…
When I Can't Do My Favorite Things…
I'm in this situation right now, where I can't workout the way I want and as much as I'd like. I have to cut back my much loved high intensity weight training and also running. I don't know for how long, but definitely for some weeks.
What I can do is walking, stretching and simple bodyweight exercises, but that's about it. No shoulder presses until my arms are shaky, and no pushing to see how many burpees I can squeeze into a minute, no hill sprints…
You get the point. I gotta take it easy.
What I Do Instead
At first, I was super bummed. Truth to be told, I still am, but there's nothing to do about it right now. I need some rest. Instead of constantly thinking about it, I've been trying to shift my mindset from thinking about all the things I can't do, to all the things I can do instead. That includes exercise, but also other things.
Actually, I don't have a whole lot more time in hand, as my workouts never used to take too long. So, when I'm talking about the things that I'm doing now as I'm not working out (as much), I'm not doing them all and every day–because that would end up taking more time than my up to 30 minute workouts used to. They're just things that I try to do either instead of workouts, or with the goal to find other things–other than working out–that make me happy. Hope this makes sense.
Here's what I do now, when I can't do high intensity workouts:
- Yoga. I love love love yoga, but I fall off the wagon every now and then. Here's the main reason: When I have time for just one workout, high intensity (body)weight training or yoga, I almost always choose the first one. Now as I can't do HIT training, I don't have to choose. About two months ago, I started doing yoga again once a week, but for the last two weeks, I've been going to my yoga studio three times a week.
- Walking. I've always loved walking, but let's face it, it takes time. There was a period when I really tracked my steps every day, so it was faster to hit my daily step goal by running that walking. Now as I can't really run, I walk, and I don't track anything, to save me from stress.
- Slower (body)weight training. I still do some sort of weight training, but it's very simple, and I'm taking a lot more breaks and rest between the reps. I'm still practicing things like pistol squats and I'm perfectly okay with some push ups, squats and other low-paced weight training.
Other than working out:
- Get more work done! I'm a personal and group fitness trainer, but that's just about 50% of what I do. The rest of the time is spent at my computer: doing translations and other linguistics jobs (that's what I spent 10 years studying…), working at 12 Minute Athlete, writing pieces for a fitness magazine in Estonia, and publishing little rants over here, in my own little Internet space. Working remotely is a lot of fun and gives me so much freedom, but at the same, I'm always behind the schedule. Having slightly more time for all this doesn't hurt.
- Read. My book list is growing, which I suppose is a good thing. But I love to be outside as much as possible, and it's sometimes hard for me to just lay on the couch and read. So, if the weather is nice, it's so much more fun to read outside.
- Decorate home. I really like beautiful, cozy homes with pretty lights, scented candles, and especially this time of the year, all the Christmas decorations… But I always seem too busy to decorate anything myself, because I'm honestly constantly running around. But at the same time, I know how calming and de-stressing making the home prettier can be, and how nice it is to enjoy it once everything is done. So, this Christmas, I actually took time and put up some lights and got a bunch of scented candles (our house smells like maple syrup now :)) to create a little bit more Christmas spirit!
Those are some of the things I've been doing now when I need to slow down my workout intensity and volume a bit. It's not easy, but it's not the end of the world (even if it seemed like that at first!). I can still keep moving, I'm just doing a little different exercise now. I'm also catching up on work and try to read a bit more.
Do you feel down when you can't workout? What do you do to feel better?