DespiteÂ all those popular fitspo memes that show upÂ in yourÂ social media feedsâthinkÂ #NoExcuses, #NoDaysOff, #RestLaterâthe truthÂ is, there are some really good excuses to take a day off and rest every now and again.Â Whether you're feeling physicallyÂ fried or just mentally frazzled, sometimes it's totally O.K. to stay home.Â Here is a checklist of five trainer-approvedÂ reasonsÂ to skip a workout. (You're welcome.)
You feel under the weather
Listen to your body. If you thinkÂ you can handle a little activity, go for it. A light sweat sessionÂ might even energize you. But if you're running a fever or generally feel like crap, there's no sense in putting more stress on your body. You're better off resting and recuperating. (And if you think you might be contagious, you should definitelyÂ stay homeÂ to spare your fellow gym members.)
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No matter how carefully you try avoidÂ it, if you're working out regularly,Â you're bound toÂ get hurtÂ eventually. Regardless of the injury's severity, you should always prioritize healingÂ over more exercise. But that doesn't mean you need to avoid working out altogether. Just make sure you don't aggravate your ailment. For example, if your shoulder is giving you trouble, focus on your legs or absÂ until you've healed. IfÂ the pain persists or an injury getsÂ worse with exercise, stick with one fail-safe strategy: rest!
You were tossing and turning all night, and before you know it,Â your alarm is blaring.Â Do you toughen up and hustle to the gym? Or stay in bed and try toÂ logÂ a little more sleep?Â In this scenario,Â Iâd advise you to doÂ the latter. SleepÂ should be your topÂ priority.Â Choosing a groggy workout over gettingÂ enoughÂ shut-eye couldÂ do your body more harm than good. Not only does your snooze timeÂ affect the quality of your exercise, but it also impacts your brain function, appetite, mood, andÂ overall physical health.Â Try to get to bed as early as possible the night before an A.M. workout.
You're superÂ sore
If yourÂ body is achingÂ from head to toe, you're probably in need of aÂ recovery day. When you work out (and especially when you strength train)Â your muscles literally break downâwhich meansÂ you need to allow your body time to repair and replace the damaged muscle fibers. If you don't, you could actually sufferÂ muscle loss. So take my advice and give yourself a break. Go for a light walk around your neighborhood instead.
Before youÂ get too excited, yourÂ busy schedule is not a "Get out of gymÂ free" card. But it may mean you should consider a different approach to exercise.Â For example, if youâre running short on time, and a trip to the gym is simplyÂ out of the question, get your sweat onÂ at home. Tabata is one of the bestÂ ways to sneak in a quick (and effective) workout. After all, it only takes four minutes! Start by picking any moveÂ you can do at home. My personal favorites: squats, push-ups, burpees, squat jumps, or sit ups. Next,Â grab a stopwatch or look upÂ an online tabata timer. Start the clock and doÂ 20 seconds of exerciseÂ followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat these intervals for a total of four minutes.Â If you have a little moreÂ toÂ spare, pick a second moveÂ andÂ repeat.
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Jennifer CohenÂ is a leading fitness authority, TV personality, entrepreneur and best-selling author of the new book,Â Strong is the New Skinny. With her signature, straight-talking approach to wellness, Jennifer was the featured trainer on The CWâsÂ Shedding for the Wedding, mentoring the contestantsâ to lose hundreds of pounds before their big day, and she appears regularly on NBCâsÂ TodayÂ Show,Â Extra, The DoctorsÂ andÂ Good Morning America. Connect with Jennifer onÂ Facebook,Â Twitter,Â G+Â and onÂ Pinterest.