I didn’t workout for half a year + thoughts on flexibility

So let’s talk about workouts. Or, more specifically, the lack of them on my part 😉.

I didn't workout for half a year-1

I’m going to be completely honest with you guys when I say that, prior to last Friday, it has been about 6 months since I did anything that could really constitute “working out”. Basically, I did lots of walking to and from class and weight lifted food into my mouth. Anddd the majority of that food was not home-cooked since I just did not have time to grocery shop or prepare meals. No treadmill, no dumbbells, and not too much action in the kitchen. Woops. Not exactly along the lines of a “good” healthy living blogger (<— what does that even really mean anyways), but necessary at the time because prioritizing mental health always comes before physical health for me.

Yes, there was a little more squish and a little less muscle, but for the most part, I wasn’t too fazed by it. And this, my friends, actually came as a surprise to me since I used to be allllll about fitness and health and being that girl who lifted all the weights and ran all the miles. I’m sure a lot of you guys know what I mean when I say this. It wasn’t my main identity by any means, but I certainly associated myself with an active lifestyle.

So anyways, I thought I’d share a few things I learned from not working out for half a year. Onwards!

Everything will be fine.

I didn’t gain 54302 pounds. I didn’t notice a huge change in my body. I didn’t instantly become depressed from the lack of endorphins.

You know what did happen? I had more time to take care of my mental health. To sleep and spend time with friends. I decreased my anxiety by taking off something on my to-do list and refused to guilt trip myself over it. I was happier and more balanced because of it.

It’ll be hard to get back into working out, but not as hard as you think. Last Friday marked my first official day back in the gym. I signed up for a membership the night before, and was there bright and early with Kyle. I was tentative and didn’t push myself too hard. My workout consisted of 10 minutes (of death) on the stairmaster, a little breathy ellipticalling, and an arm workout. By the end of it, I felt good. Tired, but good and happy to be back. I without a doubt lost some of my stamina and strength, but it’ll come back faster than I think. I feel excited and motivated.

I realized how insignificant a workout can be in the grand scheme of things. Don’t let the fear of missing a workout cause you to miss out on memories and life in general. It’s not worth it. I used to feel moderately guilty if I hadn’t made a trip to the gym in a few days. It would nag at me from the back of my mind and would lead to me pushing myself when I was already exhausted and way overworked. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important, but there are times when other things matter more. Way more!

I think it’s so important to be flexible. To be flexible with your relationships. To be flexible with your plans. To be flexible with your diet and fitness regime. Flexibility is key for my personal happiness because, as soon as I box myself in and set rigid limitations, I hinder my ability to grow and to adapt to different periods of my life. My last quarter of college was hard. Really hard. I was trying to balance being a full-time biology student, two growing businesses, and maintaining my social life. Add on the pressure of making my last few months in college “count” since the end of college often marks the end of your childhood life. It was scary and difficult and made me incredibly anxious because I wanted to do more more more, but was at my mental limits.

So I was flexible. I decided that school and my business and social life were more important to me at the time than maintaining a good eating and workout routine. And I dropped it. Almost cold turkey.

And everything was fine.

That’s not to say that I think healthy living isn’t important. Not in the slightest! For me, being active is something I want to always try to put on a last of things to prioritize, but sometimes life happens and it just isn’t feasible to be at the gym 7 days a week. And it’s okay!

I wanted to share this post because I know that it’s easy to get caught up in it all. The constant barrage of social media and the comparison trap make it difficult to find a healthy balance that works for you and for the current life situation you find yourself in. So, a little mid-week reminder to be kind to yourself never hurt!

Hope your week is going swell!

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  1. says

    I love this and I really thing taking that time off from working out can be SO beneficial. Definitely a great way to put your mental health first, and contrary to what ever person thinks your body remained the same- our bodies are so cool like that :) xoxo
  2. says

    I love this and I’m going to keep this in my head as my life gets busier and busier. I definitely prioritize working out, but this is an excellent reminder that I don’t always need to. You’re great! Thanks for sharing :)
  3. says

    Yes yes yes! During the last school year, I definitely put working out on the back burner and realized that while I definitely feel better when I work out, it isn’t something I need as much as time to finish my schoolwork, time with friends, and time to blog/tutor/do other things that I love. Healthy living is important, but sometimes trying to “live healthy” just adds more stress to your life and you just gotta go with the flow! :)
    Claire @ My Pink & Green Life recently posted…Travel: My grandpa’s cottage on Lake Huron, Forest, OntarioMy Profile
  4. says

    It’s good you were able to take the time off without stressing to much about it. It’s harder these days with social media as you mentioned. You’re constantly being bombarded with what everyone else is doing and you don’t want to miss out. It’s good to take a break and a step back every once in a while.
    Nikkola @Flimsy Lion recently posted…30 books to read before you turn 30My Profile
  5. says

    Love it! When I first joined the HLB community I felt the pressure to be working out 6-7 days a week, even though it wasn’t what came naturally to me. Now I’ve gone back to my “normal,” which is 3-5 days, sometimes intense, sometimes relaxed exercise. I think prioritizing mental health is so important and if scaling back on the gym leads to that then kudos to you, girl!
  6. says

    I haven’t commented in FOREVER but I really loved this post! It spoke to me. My Internist actually suggested I take a break from heavy excercise, to still get out and move, but to focus on getting my adrenals working again. I think it’s really important to remember that healthy isn’t always going to the gym every day- it looks different for everyone, at different times of their life!
  7. says

    I really, really, really love this post, Christine! Skipping a workout used to seem scary to me because I was afraid I’d lose my self-discipline or something but learning flexibility has benefitted me so much more! Like you said having flexibility with eating, fitness, relationships, etc. is so freeing and makes life a whole lot easier. Sometimes, things have to be put on hold for a bit during a particularly hard or busy season but you can always jump back in whenever you’re ready. Thanks for writing this!
    Liv @ Healthy Liv recently posted…My Favorite Ways to take a Moment for MeMy Profile
  8. says

    “I realized how insignificant a workout can be in the grand scheme of things.” <— YES to this. In the grand scheme of life, missing one workout (or even two, or even ten) is not the end of the world. Life is not worth missing out on just for a workout. Love this post girl <3
    Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie recently posted…Healthy Post-Run Snack IdeasMy Profile
  9. says

    i love that you posted this, christine! and i’m so glad you found peace doing it. i think there are definitely mental benefits to taking a break.
    HOWEVER, everyone is different. For me, I could never take *that long* of a break from working out. I try and eat fairly healthy, but working out still helps my digestion problems, and definitely keeps me in shape. But mostly, I work out to feel good. *I* do need those endorphins. I get pretty depressed if I don’t have that *me* time. That said, I do take breaks. I don’t stress if I have to prioritize school first, but eventually, i do get back there quick. glad you were able to work through it though, and loved coming back!!
    masala girl recently posted…Dad’s GobiMy Profile
  10. says

    It’s so true that working out is such a little part, and being flexible is the best thing to do, because it makes life less obsessive and more enjoyable!
  11. says

    Wow! You hit the nail on the head. I’m always so scared what’s going to happen if I stop working out for more than a week but you really put it in perspective with this post.

    Do you mind sharing why you stopped working out in the first place? Totally fine if not, still love this post!

    • says

      Honestly, I used to be the same even after a few days of taking it easy! I stopped working out because I was going through a crazy busy time in my life. I was finishing up my last year of college as a pre-med major with a full course load, was running this blog and my wedding photography business full-time, and was trying to keep up with my friends! It was crazy and I was only getting about 6 hours a sleep a night and was constantly busy. I definitely overloaded myself and decided that I needed to let myself take a break from exercising since the thought of it was stressing me out more than anything!
  12. says

    So true. I’ve gotten caught up in the “must workout” mentality to the point where I was neglecting sleep to do it! NOT good! Such a great perspective!
    Laura recently posted…Pretzel BreadMy Profile
    • says

      Isn’t it crazy how sucked into being “healthy” we can get? Losing sleep in order to push your body could potentially do more damage than good, yet it’s so easy to fall into the mindset that more is better. <3
  13. says

    This is so exactly what I needed to read right now. I haven’t worked out in almost a month and I’ve gone through all the stages of feeling guilty then happy then guilty again.
    • says

      There is no reason why taking a break from working out should make you feel guilty! Sometimes we need to remember to be kind to ourselves :). Life happens and it’s so important to make mental health your #1 priority! <3
  14. says

    I absolutely LOVED LOVED LOVED reading this! While it hasn’t been 6 months, I have barely worked out this last month since I’ve been traveling and spending lots of time with friends and family. I also haven’t been eating my very best but similar to you, I actually didn’t see a crazy difference. I didn’t gain 1000 pounds and I got some quality time with the people I care about. Mental wellness is just as important as physical activity :)
  15. says

    i can relate so much with you on this. i completely stopped working out for almost 2 mths..there was just too much going on with other things. in the beginning it was kind of weird/hard not to go to my regular workout classes…but like you mentioned, didnt gain much. i did lose some stamina but it will all come back.
  16. says

    This is so important! A great reminder that balance looks different to everyone and we always can choose our priorities based on what works for US! Reminds me of the quote: “I can do anything, but I can’t do EVERYTHING.” Thanks for sharing this :)
  17. says

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I think we – our society and healthy living blogging community – need as many posts reminding us of this as much as we can get it. We need constant reminder that mental health IS health too and that sometimes actually going against what is understood to be “healthy” is actually what is the most healthy. I am stepping into a phase of no exercise, and although my intention IS to gain weight, I am sure I will be surprised that just because I’m not exercising doesn’t mean I will gain 10 pounds in a week. It will actually be harder than I think.
  18. says

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I loved this post. I struggled with exercise addiction about a year ago, and since completely quitting exercise for awhile and working on my recovery, I now see fitness in a totally different light. Flexibility is so important. And mental health will always come first for me from now on. I wish everyone could read this post!
  19. says

    Great post! I can totally relate to the nagging feeing of guilt when I haven’t made it to the gym as much as I had hoped. I’ve taken breaks like this, too, and it’s funny how not much changes! Although I do notice I feel better when I work out.
  20. says

    You aren’t alone girlfriend. After college I have been up and down on the whole working out roller coaster. It is what it is. This is life.