Should I Exercise Today?

There is so much information circulating about fitness that I think it's easy to get overwhelmed. How long to work out; whether to do cardio before or after strength training; whether to eat before or after; how much weight to lift; how many repetitions to do; is it worth exercising if I (can only do 10-minutes, didn't get enough sleep, can't give it 100% effort, etc.)--these are all questions we get a lot. But really, the overarching question being asked is what makes for a good or a bad workout? What's the litmus test? When is it okay to skip it because it isn't going to be good enough?

Here's my take: the only bad workout is the one that doesn't happen. If you show-up and give it what you've got that day, with respect to time or intensity or whatever, then that was a good workout. Period. 

There are several reasons why we exercise, right? We want to get stronger and more flexible. We want to improve our balance and our endurance. We want to sleep better, live longer and feel amazing. Those are all great benefits that come from moving your body.

But it's also about establishing habits--about making exercise a part of your day, just like brushing your teeth or eating breakfast. And just like brushing your teeth or eating breakfast, sometimes you can devote a lot of time and effort to it and sometimes you can't. But, in each case, doing something is better than doing nothing. 

Completing a 10-minute workout because that's all your body can handle today, or because that's all the time you've got, is a win. And even if it seems like a small win, all of those small wins add up to big wins over time. This is true for every aspect of a workout, by the way. Whether we're talking about number of repetitions, the weight of the dumbbells you're lifting, or opting for the beginner version of an exercise over the advanced one--doing what you can do today builds on what you did yesterday, and what you can do tomorrow builds on what you did today. And so on.

Small steps. Big change.

We are way too hard on ourselves, friends. So, be proud of whatever you did today to be healthier, even if it wasn't what you would have liked to have done in an ideal world. Celebrate what you can do rather than lamenting what you didn't.