Quit Working Out

5 Reasons To STOP Working Out

If not working out stresses you out in an unhealthy way, then doing just that may be what you need to do.

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I can rattle off a never-ending list of benefits that exercising can have on one's mental health, well-being, and physical health. I love working out. It is a hobby that I wish I could do more seriously, rather than going on the treadmill and doing push-ups when I can. (One reason I can't wait to graduate so I can actually put in the time and serious effort in the gym, rather than doing bull-shit workouts when I have the energy.)

However, having an unhealthy obsession and expectations for yourself in terms of working out is not good. I know because in the past that has been me. I have been paranoid, terrified, depressed, anxious, and irritable, because of the expectations I had of myself on working out. I failed to accept and acknowledge just how busy I am as a working, full-time college student.

I made the list for the people that's world begins and ends with exercising. I understand that exercising is some people's passion. Their free time is dedicated to the gym and they are more than happy with that. That's okay.

This is for the people that don't necessarily enjoy working out but prioritize it anyways because they fear the consequences of not doing so.

There are several variables to being a healthy individual, and working out is just one of them, not the only one.

This is geared more towards people who have exercise-addiction tendencies. Even though exercising is healthy–the addictive behaviors, thoughts, and attitudes of the exercise addiction are not healthy. And just like any addiction, a withdrawal, evaluation, and acceptance need to take place to be truly healthy.


1. If you completely fear NOT working out.

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Warnings:

If you have the mindset that your world will end if you don't workout–that's unhealthy.

I know end of the world is pretty dramatic, but I'm being serious.

If you believe that if you miss a few workouts that all of your progress, stamina, muscle tone or growth, or that you will gain a significant amount of weight if you don't get a workout in, that is unhealthy.

Reasons why a hiatus could do you good:

If you are consistent in the gym, muscle growth and progress has been done. Yes, consistency is key. But if you miss a workout or two– or even weeks– all of that progress will not suddenly disappear.

The 80/20 rule is real. (Progress is made and maintained 80% diet and 20% exercise– hence the expression, "abs are made in the kitchen.")

If you take a small break from the gym, but still maintain a smart and healthy diet based off your activity levels and goals, your progress will not disappear.

Why I think this helps?

I think this helps because if you are too busy, mentally exhausted, don't have access, or simply just don't want to workout, your body will not change the drastic ways your mind may trick you to believe.

Your resting metabolism is your friend as long as you are aware of its abilities and limitations.

I workout maybe 3-4 times a week. In the past, that would have terrified me. I was once a girl that had a weights class 3x/week in school, was always participating in a sport everyday after school, and still would go to workout at a gym before bed. I was obsessed. Now that I am in college, I've had to learn how to adjust my workouts and diet to the lifestyle I am now living. There were mishaps and bad decisions, but I have finally figured it out.

I follow a Vegan diet (and consume alcohol and caffeine) but my body has not significantly changed the way I used to believe it would.

2. You skip class, work, or other professional engagements to work out.

Warning:

If you find yourself so insistent on working out that you consistently fail to follow through on your responsibilities and obligations–chances are you have an unhealthy obsession.

There is a difference between skipping a boring lecture once and awhile to play a pick-up game of basketball with your friends (something my dad did in college), and consistently skipping classes so you can have time to get a workout in.

Reasons a hiatus would do you good:

Skipping class, falling behind in work, professional repercussions of not meeting your expectations and completing your responsibilities are STRESSFUL.

If you already feel the stress of needing to working out so desperately that you neglect your responsibilities, the stress will only get worse if those consequences are added in.

Do yourself a favor and take a step back. Evaluate your goals. Rearrange your schedule so you can make time for all of things you want to accomplish–personally and professionally.

3. You find yourself becoming antisocial and pulling away from your friends or family.

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I get it. Not everyone's scene is going out, partying, or being social. Some people truly do prefer the bars at the gym rather than bars downtown. That's fine.

Though, it is unhealthy when you are so focused on working out that you completely isolate yourself from your loved ones.

Have goals, work towards your goals, crush them. But don't compromise special time with your loved ones just so you can workout.

Warnings:

You begin to turn down opportunities to be with your loved ones because you fear missing a workout. You become irritated and short-tempered when they ask you to skip a workout.

You lose interest in seeing your loved ones. The only place you want to be is the gym or doing some type of workout.

Why a hiatus could be good for you:

Some peoples' passion is working out and physical fitness. That's great. For those people that is their priority, maybe their friends' priorities are that too.

But for the people that like to be social and would regularly want to be with their loved ones, if you find yourself suddenly changing and puling away from them because of your desire to workout–that can become an unhealthy obsession.

Taking a small break can allow you to spend time with your loved ones. It can help you realize that your life does not have to revolve around working out–and neither does your worth.

4. If you notice yourself beginning to obsess over your body.

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Warnings:

There is a difference between taking progress pictures to use as a reference and completely fascinating on them, zooming in on every flaw.

There is also a difference between checking yourself out in the mirror, and standing in front of it for long periods of time, again, fixating on every detail of your body.

Why a hiatus could be good for you:

This is an extension on point number one.

I just want to emphasize that your body's progress will not disappear after a few missed workouts.

Everyone's body is different and maintains progress differently, but if you need to give your mind and body a break, take it. Your body will not deflate and become a noodle.

I think this is important if you are exercise-obsessed because it can allow you to realize that listening to your body is important. If you need a break, but you fear of what your body will turn into if you do, you need to take that break.

5. If working out creates more anxiety, rather than reducing it.

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Working out can be viewed as a stress reliever. Need to blow off some steam? Go for a run or hit the racks.

However, I know from personal experience, working out can create or worsen anxiety.

For me, sometimes the thought of working out can create such a pit in my stomach and make me feel like my throat is being swollen shut. (I haven't unpacked why this is.)

What I do know is that when I feel this sudden rush thinking about working out, I don't go and workout. I do something that I know will calm me down. Often it is binge-watching a show or reading. Sometimes being lazy is what helps me.

I think this is because I have the mindset that I am never doing enough. This feeling can come up in school, work, extracurriculars, and working out...

"I'm dead after 30 minutes of running? 30 minutes isn't enough–I should be doing at least 40 minutes, I ran cross country for goodness sake."

Sometimes skipping a workout allows me to work on my mental clarity and realizing that just surviving is enough.

Popular Right Now

PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.

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It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.

Why?

Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

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If You've Ever Ran A Half-Marathon Then You've Probably Had These 18 Thoughts

There's so many thoughts during a half-marathon.

Loui
Loui
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Two weeks ago I ran my first ever half marathon. I've never run a race in my life before and I'm not really a runner so it was an interesting experience. Over the course of my training, I actually learned to enjoy running and I can say that I actually like it now.

This half marathon was really challenging but really rewarding. These are all the things that I was thinking about (there was probably a lot more, too) during those 13.1 miles.

1. "This is really easy but all these people are running way too fast."

2. "This is so much easier than a training run."

3. "Wow I already ran three miles."

4. "I need water."

5. *Casually sings Neon Moon by Brooks and Dunn

6. "I'm getting really hungry. I hope there's muffins at the end."

7. "Dang, this is easy. I feel like I could run for forever."

8. "Okay, so we went six miles so 13 minus six is seven. We have seven miles to go." 

9. "The sun is so hot."

10. "I could use some more water."

11. "Would my group judge me if I walked at mile eight?"

12. "Why am I running again?"

13. "I'm on mile 10 so in 10 minutes I'll be on mile 11. This will totally go by fast."

14. "I'm still on mile 10."

15. "I'm still... on... mile.... 10... now mile 11."

16. "This is the longest run of my life."

17. "Oh great, now my calf is cramping." 

18. *When the run is over* "Man, I feel like I could do another one!"

Loui
Loui

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