It’s Okay To Skip A Workout…Sometimes

After putting Bubs to sleep in his crib last night after a great long weekend here in Brisbane, I did what I always do before the beginning of a new week: make lists for dinners, required groceries, weekly to-dos, and a workout schedule. I went to sleep an hour later feeling motivated and looking forward to a productive week ahead.

Fast forward maaaaybe an hour, and the circus began. After a weekend of playing with other babies (and sticking their toys in his month, as any 7 month old will do), Thomas caught his first official cold, which kept me going back and forth to his room all night. When he finally settled into a deep sleep around 7am, I figured I would try to catch a few ZZZs myself, as I was feeling slightly delirious after the night-long escapade. Cue relentless drilling and hammering: my neighbour decided to start his renovations bright and early.

Let’s just say the week that seemed so promising last evening was not off to the best start.




I am sure you’ve seen motivational photos like this floating around on social media outlets or Pinterest. Typically they give me a little reality check and the nudge I need to get my butt in gear. However, sometimes I just want to say to whoever created that little piece of inspiration, “You have NO idea how I feel right now. Take your motivational slogan and shove it.”  Today was one of those days. Actually, it was also one of those days that I wish I had my parents or in-laws nearby to help out. I couldn’t take Thomas and his leaky nose to the gym day care; he was hacking like crazy. I really, reeeeally wanted to workout today. I wasn’t making excuses. I simply couldn’t. Yeah, I was disappointed, but such is life.

There are certainly times when your excuses don’t cut it…

I’m too tired.

I’m too sore.

I don’t have enough time.

I’m not in the mood.

It’s raining.

I’m too busy with my kids.

I don’t ‘fit in’ at the gym.

I don’t feel well.

I can’t afford it. 


I’ll gladly argue any of these excuses with anyone!!! When I miss a planned workout due to “being too tired” or “not having enough time”, I usually feel guilty. This is because I know those excuses really aren’t acceptable (to me). Whenever I find myself making these kinds of excuses to skip a workout, that’s when I know I just need to suck it up and remember that sometimes the hardest part of a is actually getting there.





However, I want to acknowledge that although many unwarranted excuses exist, there are also times when missing a planned workout is totally acceptable- in my opinion, that is.

1. Your child is legitimately sick. Bonus marks if you have no one to call to babysit. Babies and children need you, particularly when they are unwell, and sometimes this means cancelling any/all previous plans.

2.You are legitimately sick. I know that some people workout even when they are ill. I say whatever makes you feel better, do it, as long as you aren’t making others sick around you. Personally, when I am actually sick with a bad head cold, flu, or stomach ache, the last thing I want to do is exercise. I’m not training for the Olympics. I exercise to maintain my fitness level and be physically and mentally healthy. So if I’m sick, I don’t hesitate to trade my running shoes for PJs.

3. Injuries. After years of playing competitive soccer, I have first hand experience in pushing myself and playing through injuries. Knee, ankle, achilles, hamstring…the list goes on. Never once did I feel better afterwards. It was dumb, and I know I would have recovered much more quickly had I sat out for a week. Instead, I pushed my luck, and usually ended up battling through a specific injury for the rest of the season. I know better now. But remember: Being “very sore” is not the same thing as being injured. I feel like I am always sore, mostly due to mixing up workouts, lifting heavier weights, doing more repetitions, etc. Or maybe I’m just getting old 😉

4. Rest Is Required. I haven’t faced this one in quite awhile, probably before becoming pregnant with Thomas. However, the year before I had him, I went to the gym every morning before work, ran on the weekends and some evenings, played recreational volleyball, and squeezed in hot yoga whenever I could. Sometimes it was overkill, and my fatigue was truly legitimate. Your muscles can’t grow and recover properly when you workout too often. Sometimes rest is the optimal choice.

5. When Exercise Becomes Solely About Body Image. I remember a time a few years ago when I would feel guilty about not working out because if I didn’t, I might “get fat.” I knew that this was a problem, and I started cutting back on my workouts. I didn’t want exercise to become a negative entity in my life; something that causes you anxiety over your body image is clearly destructive. I found when I became less structured about my workouts, I started to (a) enjoy them more and (b) see them for the psychological benefits instead. Surely anyone who exercises cares about their body image and looking fit. I think a little vanity is completely normal in this sense. However, when missing a workout makes you worry you’re not going to fit into your pants tomorrow, then it’s probably time to reassess things.

6. I’ve Been ‘Actively’ Busy. Being too busy for exercise is the best excuse out there. Yet, sometimes when I’ve been moving/lifting things/cleaning/walking all day or night, I feel it is enough to negate a previously planned workout. No sense in overdoing it.

Watching Mum do the laundry. A sick day at home in pyjamas!

Watching Mum do the laundry. A sick day at home in pyjamas!

And on that note, I am off to slumberland. Or at least, a broken version of 30 minute catnaps while checking on my little buddy. I have a planned bootcamp in the morning, and luckily Thomas can join me in his stroller and watch from arm’s length. No excuses tomorrow. I already know I’m going to be tired, but it’s nothing a little fresh air, sunshine, and awesome music can’t fix.

What are your biggest reasons for skipping a workout? 


10 Thoughts on “It’s Okay To Skip A Workout…Sometimes

  1. Sorry to hear the little one is sick! I can’t imagine how exhausting that must be for you. I think that totally warrants a few days off from exercising.

    Like you, I think exercise can become unhealthy if you push yourself too hard or continue on with it with your body needs rest. You’re likely to get sick if you do too much. Sometimes sleep is the better option.

    Speaking of which, I hope you were able to get some good rest! :)

  2. Sometimes work just tires me out and I’ll hear that inner voice saying, ahhh just go home today. This happened today! But I find that inner motivation and went- and I’ll tell ya, I’ve never regretted a workout! I remind myself of that mantra often. The only time that I do really skip is when I’m sick (and sadly I work with children so this is often) or if I’m actively busy, like you mentioned. Great post!

    • Kelly @ Femme Fitale on October 11, 2013 at 1:05 pm said:

      Yeah, you definitely never regret it, do you!? Some days it’s harder than others to muster up the motivation, but it feels much better once you are done :)

  3. Those “motivational” pictures are sometimes a bit annoying. There was a whole blog post about it by someone recently and it made sense NOT to listen to most of those pictures, because many weren’t healthy images of athleticism. Regardless, I hope your adorable little baby feels better and that mama gets some sleep :)

  4. I loved reading this today Kelly! I’ve been having a hard time “fitting it all in” between working and going to school full-time. Most days I manage to fit in exercise, but some days something has got to go. I have realized that sometimes it’s better for me to get 7-8 hours of sleep instead of 5 hours just to fit in a run! When I need sleep, I skip! Hope your little one feels better :)

  5. no one knows the meaning of exhaustion like a parent. for real. when you have a sick child who is up all night coughing, even if they’re not calling for you, YOU ARE UP NO MATTER WHAT. my daughter is sick and although she’s no longer a wee one, she was coughing in her sleep ALL NIGHT which meant that we were up all night because can you really soundly sleep as a parent when your child is sick? THE ANSWER IS NO. so no workout for me. instead, she was home from school and we cuddled and watched tv all day. a good reason to skip a workout if you ask me :)

    and we all feel the guilt of skipping a workout … but that just shows that we’re living a healthy lifestyle because it’s part of our daily routine and when we don’t do things that we normally do, things feel off. rest days are important. i’m currently trying to adjust to a lower-impact workout schedule because of my left knee which is a bummer but like you said, injuries NEED REST.

    glad i found your blog.

    Vodka and Soda

    • Kelly @ Femme Fitale on November 5, 2013 at 9:35 pm said:

      Hi Kathy! Just catching up on this now. Thanks for your message! I’m also glad you can empathize with how I was feeling, and agree about the importance of rest days :)

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