How To Overcome Gym Guilt

We’ve all been there. It’s Friday and you’re exhausted from working all week. On Monday you told yourself you’d go to the gym every day this week. But you just can’t make yourself go.

Cue that awful feeling of guilt and shame because you’re not sticking to ‘the plan’ and ‘everyone else is going to the gym except me’.

Next thing you know you’re half way through a packet of biscuits and you’re feeling worse than ever.

Well take comfort in the fact that I know that situation intimately. And so do a lot of people.


So what is gym guilt and why do we feel it?

Gym guilt or skipping the gym guilt, more accurately, is the feeling that you have done something bad by skipping the gym or skipping that workout. It occurs when you are convinced that one gym session could be the make or break in your weight loss or exercise regime. It occurs when you compare yourself to others and it occurs when you’re in the middle of a diet or quick weight loss effort.

There are other reasons you may feel guilty for skipping the gym (leave your reasons below), but today I’m focussing on how to overcome that guilt.


How to overcome gym guilt

The first thing we need to do is change our mindset around weight loss and exercise.

Important point number 1:

It’s a gradual lifestyle change and not a quick fix.

If you’re convinced you are a terrible person for skipping a workout or putting up weight you know that your mindset needs to change. Because you are not a terrible person. You are a person capable of making your own choices and if you choose to skip a workout then that’s your own decision. Own it. And begin to think about the reasons for why you decided to skip that workout. Maybe you were genuinely tired, upset or maybe you were sick and just didn’t feel up to going. That’s ok!

What to do next:

Don’t throw in the towel just yet! Just because you missed on workout does not mean you should eat all around you. Balance is key in a lifestyle change like this. If you missed a workout chances are your body will be more capable of deciding how hungry you are. Listen to your body. Practice mindful eating and try to think about how your body is feeling in the act of eating.  Stop when you are no longer hungry. Eat slowly and put down your knife and fork in between bites.

Your body is clever. It can figure out ways to trick you into thinking it’s more hungry than it is. That’s why you shouldn’t skip a meal to compensate for the lack of a workout. Your body will hold on to what you fed it before as fat cells and you will not be able to lose weight healthily. Our body can make you think that you need to keep eating more and more to compensate for this lack of food and you will end up bingeing. And then the guilt really kicks in!


So important point number 2 is:

Eat mindfully and listen to your body.


Important point number 3:

Plan your meals so you don’t feel hungry in between meals and keep track of what you’re eating.

Why? Because in a lifestyle change you need to practice new ways to stay healthy even if you go off track.

We all have those weekends where it’s a special occasion, a family barbeque or meal. You panic because it’s not part of your plan and you end up overeating and feeling guilty.

So plan for slip ups! Plan to eat mindfully and balance it out by going for a walk or choosing not to overindulge the next day!

If you go off plan it is not the end of the world. Oh my god, it’s not like you’re a demon you’re just a person who went with the flow!

And that’s healthy too. Think of it this way. A normal healthy person stays on track 80% of the time and allows themselves 20% or so to overindulge a little, skip a workout and live their life!

If you skip a workout and overindulge in the same day so what?? It’s a lifestyle change.. people make mistakes and do things they didn’t plan to do all the time! If you live your life completely by the book how boring would that be.


Colour up your life by going with the flow and choosing to be a little silly now and then.


Important point number 4:

Lastly, look at your long term goals! Practice thinking about the long term instead of thinking about the quick fix and your lifestyle change will become natural to you.

What do you want in life? Do you want to be that person who loses weight in 3 weeks and then puts it back on? Or do you want to be that person who is healthy inside and out. A person who forgives themselves and allows themselves to f**k up now and then but knows how to be healthy and chooses to eat what nourishes them and workout in order to make their body stronger!
I hope this post helps you to be kinder to yourself and to overcome that gym guilt.

Let me know below if this helps you.


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20 thoughts on “How To Overcome Gym Guilt

  1. I’ve defo been feeling this of late. I just got engaged and came back from the holiday of a life time and can’t seem to get positive or motivate myself for exercise. I had a small breakdown yesterday and lots of tears later forced me back to the gym today and I feel so much better already!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love this as I used to suffer from ‘gym guilt’ a lot and then would use the one bad meal/one skipped workout as an excuse to not go to the gym for the rest of the week and eat everything in sight! I really want to focus on my exercise and healthy eating again so this post has definitely helped thanks for sharing!

    Jess //

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Although I am not a gym goer, I’ve recently got out of the habit of running, and dealing with the guilt because of it so this was an interesting post to read. This week I’m going to try and get back into it, running smaller distances are the start, and then getting back into my usual distances!

    Ellyn xx | Life Of A Beauty Nerd

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I am definitely going to have to reread this everyday! My motivation is lacking lately… but I would suggest taking a martial arts class. It’s a good workout and they are usually more fun!
    Thank you for the inspiration!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I had horrible gym guilt Thursday last week. It took a lot for me to really realize why I had to skip the gym. I really was tired and overworked and skipping the gym was beneficial for my performance. I’m glad I took that unscheduled rest day.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I really like that you make changing your mindset first and foremost. Mindset is really important, to me it’s more important that diet and exercise combined. If your not in it mentally, then nothing else really matter. Great post!

    As a Trainer/Health coach a big reason I find that people skip out on the gym is that they don’t know what to do and don’t want to go on the treadmill for the 28th day this month. I find that many clients only need guidance and something different, fun, and new to do for a workout that they don’t have to think about.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m so feeling this type of guilt at the moment and the worst thing is that I can’t sugarcoat it to myself as it looks like I have gained a few pounds.and it’s summertime so I feel even more miserable…You are right about it being a long-term process and that’s even harder for me since I have put other life goals in priority.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I completely understand. And sometimes life gets in the way. I’ve done the same thing. It’s about regaining that balance. Which is not always easy. But you need to put your own body first – it’s important for all of us. But that doesn’t mean weight loss. That just means minding yourself. So practice self care first and treat yourself in other ways than with food.

      Liked by 1 person

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