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How to Feel Better When You Skipped the Gym For a Week

July 21, 2019

Introducing How to Feel Better When:

You have healthy-living goals, and you work hard to keep up your good habits. You work out, you eat well, you try to get enough sleep. But even the most dedicated among us have stretches where life gets in the way and our healthy lifestyles fall off, or our usual approach to life’s challenges isn’t as optimal as we intended, or stuff just goes wrong. In this series, we ask experts in different disciplines for their recommendations for dealing with these hiccups and getting back on track.


Maybe you were on vacation, maybe you had a big deadline, a work trip, a sick child. Maybe you just couldn’t get yourself to the gym. It happens. Here’s solid expert advice for what to do now.

What a Personal Trainer Says, Denise Harris, NASM

First and foremost, you need to be patient and kind with yourself. Oftentimes, regardless of the reason why you haven’t worked out for a while, getting back into it people are like, “I gotta do this, I gotta do that…” and when it doesn’t happen we beat ourselves up about it.

  • Start with a type of workout that makes you feel good, as opposed to a hard-core workout — something that is perhaps fun to you (a dance class always gets me back on track).
  • Listen to your body — the body is pretty amazing and it will let you know, “Hey, we might not be ready for this right now.” Spending time stretching is also a good thing when getting back into your workout routine. Prep your body before whatever activity you are going to do and also at the end of your workout, a good cooldown may help reduce soreness.
  • Having a workout buddy is also sometimes a good way to get back into working out; having an accountability buddy is awesome.
  • Create a great playlist, something that will get you going, make you smile and feel happy.

What an Internal Medicine Doctor Says, Sonya Chawla, M.D.

My best advice is not to overcompensate when you go back to the gym, which could cause injury (and that will keep you out of the gym for another week or longer). Instead, make a conscious decision that the first workout after a break will be a gentle one, and one that will involve stretching. This may also make the first workout feel less daunting. Once you’ve made it through the first workout, you will be more encouraged (and limber) to push yourself a bit harder on the next one.

What a Clinical Psychologist Says, Michael Brustein

Assess the cause and use it as a learning opportunity to understand how to maintain a steady schedule. Sometimes people miss because they set goals too high and then feel overwhelmed by them. Assess if this happening to you. Then get back to it.

The best way to get over feeling bad about this is to take action. Everyone falls — the problem is not getting back up.

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