We need to learn how to rest without guilt. Busyness and a need for instant gratification can leave us feeling burned out. But worthwhile efforts, like exercise, take time and allowing our bodies to rest is part of the process. Learn how fitness and healthy habits are a lifestyle, and how resting not quitting will get you to your goals.
Injuries, sickness, or other commitments used to constantly derail me from my fitness journey.
If I tweaked my knee I didn’t just rest until it was healed, I quit. If I got sick and missed a few workouts, I would keep finding excuses to not go back. I had never really been consistent with my workout routine, and so if I got tired or I had to skip a workout (or two or three) I would let it completely derail my progress.
I let negative self talk take me away from my goals.
Then I read a quote by Banksy, “If you get tired, learn to rest and not to quit.”
Learning to take things slow, that not every workout has to leave me breathless has been hard.
There’s an entire fitness culture that says go hard or go home. That if you don’t feel like you’re going to be sick you aren’t working hard enough. That your muscles should be shaking by the end of each workout.
We’ve been conditioned by coaches, particularly ones we see on TV and in workout videos, that you need to put everything on the line in each and every workout. And that is a hard cycle, a hard culture, to break free from. Overexercising isn’t going to get us to our goal any faster. In fact, if you’re like me, it will probably just leave you burned out and wanting to quit.
Learn How to Rest Not Quit
We all want instant gratification. But worthwhile efforts, like exercise, don’t happen overnight. Instead of quitting when we don’t get sculpted abs in 15 days, we need to learn to give our body more time. More time to work, and more time to rest.
We wear busyness like a badge of honor. Most of us are guilty of over-scheduling our days. We pride ourselves on needing fewer and fewer hours of sleep. While we may be filling our time with worthwhile endeavors, what happens to a lot of us is that we end up fatigued and exhausted. In the end, we aren’t able to work at our best. In order to give our best efforts, we need to let our bodies rest.
Learning how to rest and not to quit probably sounds oversimplified. Just change your mindset is easier said than done. That’s why I depend on a support group. Exercise is easier when you do it with other people. For me that doesn’t mean literally working out in a group, but for you it might. My accountability group are friends who I can share my journey with. I can pop into our group chat and share about the workout I did that day. (Don’t have friends that exercise? Tag me on Instagram and I’ll be your accountability partner!)
It’s Okay to Modify or Pivot
Another way to avoid quitting is to take a modification or pivot your goal. If I’m struggling to maintain my running pace I can drop down to a jog or a brisk walk, if I’m struggling to get through a set of push-ups I can do them on my knees, or if the dumbbell I grabbed is too heavy I can go down to a lower weight. Give yourself permission to do what feels right for your body each day, without comparing yourself to the day before. The key is to keep moving forward with my progress.
Finding a fitness program that have me permission to rest, that encouraged me to get enough sleep, to hydrate properly, and to get enough to fuel my body has made an enormous difference in being consistent with exercise.
Now, I don’t feel like I have to workout. My mindset is that I get to work out. I get to move my body.
Finally, don’t forget to prioritize your sleep. Sleep is a critical component for exercise because it’s when your body repairs itself from the work you did that day. Getting enough rest can be a challenge at first. Sometimes it means saying no to an activity or not watching another episode of your favorite show so you can get into bed on time. But prioritizing sleep will give your body the rest it needs so you can show up refreshed and ready to take on whatever comes next.
How do you prioritize rest?