Should you panic over skipping a workout or two?

You’ve missed out on going to the gym for the second time this week, and you’re starting to feel a little panicked about what will happen to your fitness levels. Even though panicking won’t really help you out here, you may be right to have a little concern.

Maybe you were stuck at work or you caught a head cold from the kids. Whatever your reason, you can’t undo the fact that you just couldn’t make it to the gym for a few days. The good news is that if you’ve only missed a day or two, you won’t likely noticed much difference in your fitness ability. But, missing much more than that could be a bigger issue.

There are a lot of variables in figuring out how quickly you might get out of shape if you slacked off in your regular workout routine. You would need to consider your age, height and weight as well as how long you’ve been exercising regularly, the type of workout you do and your overall fitness levels. In fact, you’d have to factor in so much data that it’s pretty near impossible to come up with an exact formula.

Instead of trying to figure out how quickly you’ll get out of shape, it might be more important to figure out what’s keeping you out of the gym in the first place. If it really was due to work or a short-term illness, then there’s probably no cause for concern. But if you seem to be having a mini crisis that keeps you out of the gym at least a few times a week, there may be something else going on.

Feeling guilty

It’s impossible to be in two places at once, and if you have family at home, maybe you’re feeling guilty over spending an hour at the gym every evening instead of being at home. If so, try talking to your spouse or even your kids if they’re old enough. Ask them if anyone has concerns about the time you spend working out, and make sure they understand how important it is for your physical and mental health. There’s no better way to teach your kids about the importance of staying fit and healthy than by being a good example, and you may be surprised to find out they’re actually supportive of your fitness goals.

Crunched for time?

Maybe you really are just having trouble fitting everything in. Instead of skipping the gym altogether, try a different workout on days you feel crunched for time. Instead of an hour-long yoga class, you could go for a 20-minute swim or get in a few miles on the treadmill. While you may not burn as many calories, you will burn off your stress from the day. Another alternative would be to add a short high-intensity workout to your weekly schedule. At least you’ll know that’s one day you’ll be in and out of the gym in less time, and you’ll still have the benefit of a great workout.

No matter what your reason was for skipping a workout or two, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just accept that it happens to even the most dedicated people now and then, and make sure you have a plan for getting back to the gym as soon as possible.

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