BREAK FREE from Workout Guilt.

“I blew it; I was doing so well. Oh well, I might as well enjoy this weekend and start over on Monday.”

“I feel awful when I miss a workout. Even if I’m sick, I feel like I’m being lazy and that missing one workout is going to turn me into a fat, lazy slob. I know it’s ridiculous, but it’s how I feel.”

“I just don’t have the motivation or will power to start over and be successful. I quit. Maybe this summer will be a better time to get back into it.”

“I feel so guilty when I miss a workout. The next chance I get to sweat im so anxious about getting back into shape I tend to overdo it. Then I’m too sore to workout again for a few days. I know it’s a bad cycle but I cant seem to break it. But at least I’m doing some workouts!”

Workout Guilt. You want to go but you don’t. You schedule it but you break your “appointment”. Or you overtrain because you can’t handle the thought of getting “out of shape”. You beat yourself up for not following through or not working hard enough to get the results you want. In the end you wind up doing more harm than good because no one does well when they’re beaten down, stressed out, and tired. It’s a self-defeating and energy-sucking pattern that leaves you feeling exhausted.

If the above sounds familiar, you are not alone. Most of us struggle with workout guilt and have the desire to overcome it. Our bodies NEED rest and we deserve to take a day off the gym without feeling like we are slacking off.

Wallowing in workout guilt isn’t working, its time to move past it  and move forward with your life. Heres my “snap out of it” strategy to help you  break free from workout guilt, make peace with yourself, and accomplish your wellness goals. Use the below tips to leave the pity party and work towards longevity. I believe you CAN develop an attitude that helps you enjoy a healthy relationship to exercise and guilt-free workouts for life!

Caroline’s Tips to Help You BREAK FREE from Workout Guilt.

Set Realistic Health Goals. 

I fully support making goals that challenge you to grow. But if your goals are unrealistic you are setting yourself up for failure. Create goals that challenge you but follow a S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timed) plan. Under-promise and over-deliver with your accomplishments towards wellness. Be realistic and you will successfully reach your goals without a guilt trip.

Make an ACTION Plan.

Create a clear vision of your S.M.A.R.T goals and develop an action plan to accomplish them. Having a plan for the week (or month) removes the pressure of feeling clueless and it gives you a solid strategy for success when it comes to your health. Prepare a realistic workout program and map out your schedule for yourself. Ask for help from a personal trainer if you are not sure how to create an exercise program that’s tailored to meet your needs.

PACE yourself

Often workout guilt or anxiety over “getting out of shape” can create a binge and purge relationship to exercise. Its either too much or too little; leaving you out of shape, injured, or frustrated. Over-training or under-training is self-destructive; it will never get you the results and health you want. Moderation is the key in establishing a lifelong healthy relationship to exercise. Be sure your action plan practices moderation and balance to avoid burnout or injury.

Drop the “all or nothing” mindset.

This mentality sets you up to feel guilty eventually and is why so many people struggle to succeed. Expecting to stick to a structured eating and exercise plan for an extended period of time without ever deviating is unrealistic. Things happen and life can get in the way – through illness, other obligations, exhaustion, different opportunities, etc – it is impossible for someone to NEVER miss a workout. Remember it doesn’t matter if you fall down, it is if you pick yourself up that counts. It’s not all or nothing, get back at it and don’t beat yourself up.

Shift your thinking. 

Remember it’s about wellness for life, NOT fitness for one day. Shift your thinking and see exercise as a way to alleviate stress, empower yourself, and fuel your life with health. It’s not about looking good in skinny jeans. It’s about having the health to enjoy your life. Choose to look at real HEART of exercise: wellness. This mindset always trumps any guilt trip.

Forgive. Learn. MOVE ON. 

Regret can follow you like a dark cloud that overshadows every other aspect of your life. When you feel ashamed or guilty about your past behavior or performance, the negative feelings will act like BRAKES in your forward motion.  CHOOSE to put it all behind you.Take the lessons of what happened and apply them to develop a fresh and open attitude on future action. You have control. Forgive yourself, take a deep breath, and MOVE onward.

Move on Mantra.

If workout guilt still lingers, here is a workout mantra you can use to pick yourself UP and move on with your life. Read, re-read, print it on a sticky note, or say it out loud to yourself. Repeat as much as you need to get your head and heart in the right place:

“I forgive myself for the mistakes I made. I’m not perfect – no one is – and I’m committed to learning and getting better. The past experience is my wise teacher, and I will apply the lessons well. I love myself enough to forgive and move forward. Letting GO is worth it when health and happiness are the end result.”

Track Your Progress.

Keeping track of your progress will help motivate you and provide a plan to come back to when you “fall of the wagon”. Record your daily workouts including exercises, duration, weight, sets, and reps. Write notes about intensity levels, what you need to work on, how you felt, etc. Use a free online journal like the daily plate or get tech savvy and track your output with NIKE’s FUEL BAND (how cool is that one?!). Tracking your progress will not only show you your stats but provide you with a record of your achievements. Look back and reflect on all of your accomplishments when you feel you’ve “messed up”. Recognize how far you have come  and pick up where you left off.

Bottom Line? Stop putting yourself down. Just stop. Do the best you can and prove to yourself you can do it.

Practice the skills above and teach yourself how not to feel guilty about exercise.  Listen to your body and support yourself towards your goals with a realistic action plan tailored to your needs. Remember that you’re exercising to improve your life and you want to keep progressing to improve your overall health.  Be consistent, realistic, and make time for daily movement. Always stay positive and make your ultimate goal one of WELLNESS. Every training day is different. The important part is showing up, doing your best, and committing to a healthy, happy life.

Whats your top strategy when feeling workout guilty? Leave a comment below with your tip on not giving in to workout guilt. Have a GREAT week and cant wait to see you for another workout soon. Till then, keep shining 🙂


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