How to Handle Exercise Guilt

Three Ingredients = Fantastic Lunch

Noodle Bowl

  1. Carba Nada egg fettuccine pasta
  2. Ragú marinara meat sauce (My favorite since I was a little girl… Did you know it’s all natural??)
  3. Steamed broccoli


As you can see, my favorite noodle bowl has returned in full force.

Pre-Lunch Yoga

Since I awoke at 5:30 this morning and skipped my usual workout, I arrived to work very early. This allowed me to check a bunch of things off my to-do list before lunch, and still have time to skirt out of the office for a quick lunchtime yoga class at my gym.

I knew the instructor teaching today’s class typically teaches beginner and light yoga classes, so I figured attending her class would give me the stretching my body has been craving without putting me through an intense workout.

Since I left the gym because my body felt too tired this morning, I didn’t want to put my body through anything too strenuous today. I want to rock my 8-mile run tomorrow and a day off from strength training and cardio is just what the doctor ordered!

I high-tailed it to the gym and did a quick-change in the dressing room.


Today’s yoga class was perfect.

Usually I like a more challenging yoga class that makes me sweat, but today’s class was light, easy and sweat-free. The instructor lead us through simple poses that gave my body a much-needed stretch.

I felt ten times better afterward!

How to Handle Exercise Guilt

As it turns out, I’m not the only one who struggles with exercise guilt. It sounds like a lot of you guys also grapple with this emotion and have the desire to overcome it. Our bodies need rest and we should enjoy days away from the gym without feeling like we are slacking off.

After reading through your comments (Seriously, I love you guys), I’ve complied a little list of tips on how to handle the emotions associated with exercise guilt (or basically how to justify why we shouldn’t feel guilty in the first place):

  • Taking a day off often makes your next workout a stronger and more powerful one.
  • Rest days give our muscles time to recover and help prevent injury.
  • Our life should be our priority. Sometimes family members, friends or our job require our time and attention more than the gym.
  • If you struggle with doing no activity at all, do something light such as going for a long walk with your dog, thoroughly cleaning your apartment or taking an easy yoga class.
  • Your body knows when it’s had too much. Listen to it. If the thought of running for five minutes or doing one set of bicep curls exhausts you, that may be your body telling you it’s time for a break.
  • If weight gain is your concern, understand that 3,500 calories equal one pound. Your workout likely burns nowhere near that amount, so taking a day off from the gym doesn’t equate instant weight gain.

So tell me… How many days are you taking OFF from the gym this week?

Well That’s Never Happened Before…

This morning I woke up and changed into my workout clothes.

Before we walked to the gym, I tried to convince Ryan to take the day off  and instead take Sadie on a long walk with me. He said he knew he wouldn’t workout this weekend (we’re heading to my parents’ house for Father’s Day), so I hung my head and followed him to the gym.

My body felt tired. I decided not to take my usual 5:45 a.m. BodyPump class. Instead, I hopped on a stationary bike for 10 minutes before finding Ryan to tell him I was heading home.

I’ve never left the gym after only 10 minutes. Usually if I can get myself dressed and get myself there, a workout will occur. Not today.

But you know what? That’s okay.

My body felt tired and I wanted to give it a break so I have adequate energy for my eight-mile run tomorrow.

I am considering taking a yoga class on my lunch break, but if that doesn’t happen, that’s a-okay.


When Ryan was done with his workout, he joined me on a 20-minute walk with Sadie before breakfast.

Last night I prepped a pumpkin yogurt bowl to enjoy this morning and knowing that a delicious breakfast was waiting for me when I got home made me want to walk a little faster. 

My breakfast bowl contained:

  • 1 c. Chobani plain yogurt
  • 1/4 c. Old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 c. Canned pumpkin
  • Large squirt of honey
  • Pumpkin pie spice


Pumpkin Pie Spice

Since I prepped this last night, the oats had time to soak in the yogurt and pumpkin mixture and took on a soft, pillowy texture that added some extra pizzaz to an otherwise smooth and creamy concoction.

Pumpkin Yogurt Bowl

Sprinkled with Spice

Cold and tasty on a hot and muggy day!

Side Note

While sitting in our backyard typing this post, I’ve been attacked by five mosquitos. Leave me alone you bloodsuckers!

Questions of the Day

  • Do you ever skip a workout you have planned? How do you feel about it?

To be honest, exercise guilt is something I personally struggle with. I love working out and don’t feel bad about taking a day or two off on the weekend, but taking a day off during the week makes me feel a little anxious… like I’m not doing something I should be.

I’m trying to abandon this mentality, as demonstrated by my actions this morning. If my body wants (and needs!) a rest, I should honor that without feeling guilty. It’s not like one missed workout will negate all of my fitness and healthy living efforts… in fact, it might even do the opposite.

  • Do you struggle with exercise guilt?