Fit Flagellation: Why Feeling Guilty Over Missed Workouts Is Ruining Your Results

You've missed a workout. You planned to do it, but you woke up late. Or got called into work early. Or your usually rough-and-tumble kid is home with flu, sucky and needs you within spitting distance at all times. Or, maybe, you just don't damn well feel like it. Not today, at least, and there doesn't seem to be a reason why, which makes the ensuing guilt over your missed workout worse.

The guilt: that's worse for you than actually missing the workout. Missed workouts are going to happen  — that's part of life — but what doesn't have to be part of life is the fit flagellation that comes with not being able to slide into beast mode every single day of your life. Working out is supposed to be something you enjoy, and when it's not  — when it becomes something that feels more like a punishment — it's not going to be an activity you're going to want to stick with long-term. And your long-term relationship with fitness needs to be nurtured. Sure, short-term goals are important to keep us focussed and accountable, but the long-term is where the real results happen. The visible lean gains. The reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The improved hormonal balance. The fat loss. These take time  — time you won't give yourself if you're constantly berating yourself over a missed workout. You’ll be more likely to give up entirely.

Guilt: Motivator and Menace

Guilt has a place. Feeling it can let us know when we've done something wrong. From a societal standpoint, it can help us be better people. However, in a world awash with Insta-Fit Queens and Kings perpetuating what seems to be an effortless love affair with working out, it's easy to let this emotion run a bit too rampant. If you're feeling guilty because you NEVER work out, okay, your guilt in this context can be a powerful motivator to help you be a healthier, happier person. But, if you usually workout and have just had a bad day or week  — or hell — even weeks, then it may be time to back the hell off yourself and show yourself some TLC and understanding. You want to get back in the gains game, to be sure, but you want to get back in the game willingly, even enthusiastically, most of the time (cause let’s face it, even the most dedicated of us has days we just don’t want to work out.)

If you’ve been unmotivated for awhile, however, consider why.

Is it because you’re tired and need a rest day? Then take it! Banish any feelings of guilt with the knowledge you’ll come back to your next workout with renewed strength and focus, ready to crush your sweat ‘sesh. Also be aware that over-exercising can lead to feelings of anxiety, so if you’re feeling super guilty and irritated, you may need that rest day more than you think.

Are you not working out because you don’t have time? Fair enough  — we’re all busy, and some days, there actually won’t be time, especially when last-minute emergencies pop up that need attention. This said, you may also need to revisit your idea of how much time you need to get a good workout. As little as 12 minutes of HIIT a day has been shown to significantly reduce fat, build muscle, improve brain and cardiovascular health and enhance focus. And when you train with Sweatflix from home, you don’t need to drive to a gym, or even get dressed. Workout in your gitch. Workout in your pjs. Just stop whatever you’re doing, and workout. If you’re new to Sweatflix, you don’t even have to feel guilty about spending money, since you can get your first 30 days for free.

Are you not working out because you’re bored? If you’re doing the same workout or type of workout all the time, you will be! And your motivation will fly out the window. Variety is key. Again, lean on Sweatflix. We have thousands of workouts including combat, rep-based, timed, strength, cardio, plyometrics, yoga and more. Boredom is not an option. Also, battle boredom by picking up new equipment. New toys can breathe new life into your workouts, making them more fun, more challenging and as a result, yielding more gains.

Are you not working out because you’re depressed or stressed? You probably already know that exercise has been shown to help make you happier and less stressed, but knowing this and actually gathering the motivation to act on it are two different things. We get it. A few months ago, we published the story of one of the members of our #FitFam, Lesley, who shared her fit journey with us. Part of the journey involved the tragic death of her daughter. Understandably, finding the motivation to workout was a struggle.

“Along came September 15, 2018 when my life changed forever. My oldest daughter (only 22), took her life. I felt lost and alone. I reached out to Jo Bolger, my first time ever communicating with anyone from the BodyRock community. She has helped me in so many ways and I am so grateful. It is so amazing that this community can connect you with people that help heal your soul. When I told her I couldn’t work out anymore because it made me cry, she said, “Cry the whole time, scream if you have to.” So that’s what I did.”

You can read the whole story here, and join our community here. Lesley’s example is an extreme one, and not everyone will deal with this heartbreaking situation the same way, but the point is this: your workouts are supposed to be the safe space you come to when life is kicking the shit outta you. They aren’t supposed to be the source of the shit. Whether you workout or take a break, don’t let your fitness become a punishment. Your workouts are reward for the gift of a body, breath and life.

If it doesn’t feel this way, then it’s time to rethink the way you think about your fitness, and why you workout. You’re reading this, and that’s a good start.

We want to know: do you experience fit flagellation? What, if anything, do you do about it? Tell us in the comments.


Muchas gracias. ?Como puedo iniciar sesion?

dktjgexzjn July 27, 2020

I’m so looking forward to this and the commthat comes with BodyRock. I had a mess up hand surgery and it sidelined my police Officer job. I’m doing better bc of my own therapy but I’ve always been in great shape & have let myself go bc I was so depressed. Then I found BodyRock and I’m feeling better everyday. Thank you so much & if at some point I can return to work I owe it to my hard work and you and your awesome support team and equipment.

Susan Lowe June 22, 2019

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