3 Reasons To Skip Your Workout

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It may seem strange to write a post about skipping workouts on a health and fitness blog, but if you’ve been around for a while, you know this isn’t a traditional fitness blog.

We take a different approach around here.

As many of you know, I coach women through my 6 week online Pilates and nutrition programs throughout the year. During those 6 weeks we do Pilates workouts from home, follow healthy meal plans and share stories and tips through email and our private Facebook group.

I’m not exaggerating when I say I believe The Balanced Life community is the best community on the internet.

The women who are drawn to this site are women who are sick and tired of fad diets, starting & stopping exercise programs and beating themselves up in the process. So the community that forms is one that is supportive, authentic, encouraging and unique.

I was so proud of the current PBP ladies last week when I saw that we were all congratulating a participant for skipping her workout.


Congratulating her for SKIPPING her workout? Yes.  100% yes.

This particularly woman had shared that one of her goals is to break her habit of using exercise as punishment. So after an indulgent date night with her husband she was tempted to go for a run because she felt like she HAD to.

But in light of changing her relationship with exercise, she decided to skip it. She made healthy, nourishing decisions the next day, did Pilates, and went about her business. She did go for a run a few days later, but it was a run that was NOT motivated by guilt and shame.

And so we cheered her on and I have never been more proud of the work I get to do.

It got me thinking about how contrary to popular belief, there are times when skipping workouts can actually help us get closer to our goals.

3 Reasons To Skip Your Workout

1. When it’s motivated by guilt.

As I just mentioned, exercising out of guilt and shame is a vicious cycle that rarely leads to success. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, GUILT DOES NOT WORK as a source of lasting motivation. And even if it did (which it doesn’t) it would be a miserable path to take.

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So if you’re stuck in a cycle of using exercise as punishment (like I used to do) then it may be helpful for you to start skipping workouts when you’re heading out the door simply because you “ate too much” or had dessert the night before. Try replacing it with something else (like drinking extra water, repeating positive affirmations, etc) and head out for your workout when it is no longer associated with punishment or guilt.

2. When your body is craving sleep.

Sometimes, you just need to sleep. And while you won’t find motivational Pinterest pins saying “skip your workout, just sleep,” sleep is just as important as exercise.  A 20 minute power nap may be just what your body needs.

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There is a fine line between feeling lazy and sluggish and being legitimately exhausted. It’s true that more often than not a workout can be energizing. But if you know you’ve been lacking the sleep department, and your body is begging for sleep, I encourage you to listen. You can always exercise tomorrow.

3. When your child/spouse/friend needs you.

Before I had a baby I was consistently faced with the post-work dilemma: happy hour or exercise (I kind of miss those days). It was always a balancing act. If I said yes to happy hour every time I would never get my workouts in. So I made the tough decision to say no to happy hour 70% of the time and yes to exercise more often than not.

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But there are times when relationships need extra attention. Perhaps you’re a mom and you travel a lot for work. You may need to skip a workout to have un-scheduled playtime with your kids. Or perhaps your best friend is going through a hard time and really needs your presence. Forget the workout, love your friend.

It’s good and important to prioritize your health, but it’s also important to listen to your body, nurture your relationships and give yourself grace.

I’d love to hear what you think. Are there other reasons you’d feel good about skipping your workout for?



  1. lisa 7 years ago

    I agree with all 3. You might want to slow down or stop if injury occurs, depending on severity. You don’t want to make the injury worse or last longer because you didn’t take time off.

    • Robin Long 7 years ago

      Yes, yes, yes. Definitely agree. Thanks Lisa! 🙂

  2. Jessica 7 years ago

    I feel like this post was aimed at me, because I struggle with this a lot. While I live a very healthy and fitness focused life style, my family does not, and it has been creating a barrier in many of my relationships. I need help finding the balance between being involved with family (which typically centers around food and alcohol) and living my healthy life style. I make myself feel guilty every time I indulge, even in one glass of wine, and I spend like 30 minutes browsing menus online before even going out to eat at a restaraunt, which I only do like once a month. Balance is exactly what I need to learn!

    • Robin Long 7 years ago

      This can be so hard Jessica. I’ve had times in my life where I’ve been in a similar situation. It can be hard to say no to people to take care of yourself. And it can also be hard to let yourself relax and enjoy life. Life is short and truthfully – when you are living in a balanced way, you will no longer have to worry about being so strict. Every day is a new day and some days will be more indulgent than others. Remember to keep your eyes on the big picture – do the best you can but give yourself grace. xo

  3. Gretchen Becker 7 years ago

    The expense of a gym membership and Pilates (Reformer) classes are starting to become an issue. I’d like to find a way to do my own workouts, which requires discipline and motivation and is something I’m not great at which is one of the reasons the classes are good for me. I know this is a bit off topic but any suggestions would be welcomed. Thanks.

    • Robin Long 7 years ago

      Hi Gretchen, sounds like my Pilates Body Program would be a perfect fit for you. 🙂 Click the tab on the top of the page titled ‘The Pilates Body’. xo

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