Dear Cassey: If I don’t work out, I feel panicked and stressed.

Dear Cassey,

I started working out a couple of months ago and I absolutely love it and enjoy it however I’m starting to feel pressure to work out every day. There’s a constant voice in my head telling me that if I don’t work out, I’ll gain back all the weight I’ve lost and all my hard work would have been for nothing. As restrictions are loosening I’m getting busier and busier and finding it harder to find time to work out, but if I don’t work out I start feeling stressed and panicked. Please give me some advice on how to control my fear.

Thank you,

Feeling The Pressure

weekly planner workout rest day

Dear Feeling the Pressure,

There is such a fine line between committing to a healthy habit like working out and letting that habit rule your life. It’s easy to cross, and I’ve been there! I used to have days where I would literally sit in the gym parking lot just dreading my workout, but knowing I would feel so guilty if I didn’t go in. The workouts that brought me joy had turned into more of a punishment. Sound familiar?

The good news is, you can turn it back around!

I think when we get really serious about something like working out, it can be really easy to feel pressured to work out every day. Especially if you’re starting to see results, you can feel guilty for not adhering to a schedule.

At the same time, our world turned completely upside down this year. We’ve held on to any kind of routine and outlet that we can. For you, that might have turned into working out. And like you said, as things are loosening up, we’re having to let go of our “new” routines that have been keeping us afloat all year.

So, just like adjusting earlier this year was probably a little uncomfortable, we have to adjust again.

That means giving yourself permission to REST.

Not only are you getting busier with other things, but your body needs time to recoup from workouts. Instead of feeling pressured to workout every day, build some rest days into your plan. Because they should be part of the plan anyway! Your body can’t fully recover and your muscles can’t repair and grow without rest. You won’t see progress without rest.

I know it’s easier said than done. If I have days when I’m not moving in some way, I kind of go crazy. It makes me feel pressured to work out sometimes too, but I’ve learned to use my energy for other things! Rest days can also be productive if you feel up to it! Try something like walking, yoga, cleaning your house, etc. that will still get your blood pumping a little without the intensity of a workout. But if your body is asking for total rest, give it some rest. I promise it will not reverse your hard work or slow any momentum you have going.

I guess I’m just saying it’s all in your mindset. Work on changing your self-talk and move away from the guilty thoughts about missing a workout. Instead, recognize that you’re doing good things for your body by resting. Or, you’re doing good things for your mental health by being productive in other ways that you haven’t been able to tackle most of this year!

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, I’m taking questions via text at 510-692-4556. Currently this only works for US and Canada. If you’re outside of those countries, you can leave a question below.

30 thoughts on “Dear Cassey: If I don’t work out, I feel panicked and stressed.”

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  1. Nada says:

    Hello Casy I’m Nada ( means dew in Arabic); from Jordan.
    I’ve started working out since Covid but not regularly, now I’m kind of committed especially with the calendars! It makes things easier. Despite I’m in the March calendar and we are in summer 😅
    The problem is when I miss days of not working out I feel that I ruined what I’ve accomplished, and I tend to eat more 🥴, any tips for that?
    Also when I go back to the exercises I go back to the days that I missed, is that correct?
    Also are there videos for daily routines, that it’s a must for a healthy body & posture that I can add to the regular calendar?

  2. Asmaa says:

    Dear Cassey, Help! I love working out and eating but my problem is that I have an injury. I have a herniated disc in my lower back that makes it a bit difficult to workout or even feel motivated to workout. I hate feeling weak like this and I want to keep going on my fitness journey but I have no idea how to stay motivated and push through. Do you have any tips?

  3. Erica says:

    Hey Cassey!
    Iv been following you for years. I started using Blogilates, cleaned up my diet (using many of your recipes) and lost 20lbs! I did gain some of the weight back due to getting pregnant and was no longer able to do the workouts, however after i gave birth i got right back to it! The weight this time is a little more stubborn, I’m also breastfeeding so I’m not restricting myself when i get hungry. I still feel fantastic by using your program and eating clean. If you have any advice on some stubborn post pregnancy weight I would appreciate so much.

    1. Marie says:

      Hi Erica! I’m not any sort of doctor – so take this with a grain of salt – but I wouldn’t worry about the amount of weight you’re gaining since you have given birth. (Most people who are pregnant require more weight to be gotten since you’re eating and nourishing for two!) Also, since you are still breastfeeding and giving food and nutrients to your baby, I would reccommend not worrying too much about it. You’ll need to eat more otherwise since you’re breatsfeeding (I’m glad you aren’t restricting yourself!) When you’re done breastfeeding, I think you’ll be able to get back on track (even if it might take a little while!) and continuing on with your journey! I would reccommend getting some more professional advice from your doctor if your up to it or getting information from a trusted website. By the way, congratulations with your baby and the lost weight!

  4. Lisa says:

    Dear Cassey,
    I’ve been working really hard the last 4 months to get into shape and get back the body i had before lockdown. Now that we’re heading into another small lockdown in the UK, gyms are closing and i’m worrying i’ll put it all back on.
    I’m trying to look into building an at home workout routine that doesn’t leave me bored and fed up but it seems harder to motivate yourself to work out at home knowing the sofa is just in the next room.
    What can i do to build a fun, hard routine that’s really going to put me through my paces while keeping me motivated?
    And what tips do you have to stay motivated?
    Thank you,

  5. Selina says:

    Dear Cassey,

    I really hope you can help me! I had a laparoscopic appendectomy last week and have been told no exercise except walking for 2 weeks, and no lifting weights or abdominal exercise for SIX WEEKS!!! But everything seems to need core engagement from my abs! I work out every day and I love it, I have been following your calendars every month since starting lockdown in March and I’ve been working so hard on my strength and fitness for the past 18 months. I feel miserable not being able to exercise at all, I’m really struggling. As well as affecting my mood I’m also feeling really anxious about loosing the strength and muscle that I’ve worked so hard to build. Can you help!!?? What kind of exercises and workouts could I start doing? And how can I try to minimize loosing strength and muscle? Please help! I know my health is important and I need to let my body recover from surgery, but exercise is important too – it can’t be good to do nothing for six week! Thank you! xx

    1. blogilates says:

      Hi Selina!! My sis actually had the same surgery last year! Be patient with yourself. Your body needs to heal itself after a surgery and pushing it during this time isn’t the best. I would say that walking is great to start with and trust, the 6 weeks comes faster than you think. Your body knows what it is doing. You may feel comfortable adding back in yoga, stretching, or light movement sooner than 6 weeks, but really take it easy. You won’t lose all the hard work you put in. It’ll probably take a week or 2 (after the 6 weeks) to feel like “normal” again. And don’t think of it as “doing nothing” for 6 weeks – your body is HEALING! You got this!!!! <3

  6. Prathvi says:

    Hi Cassey
    I am a teenager and I am 16 and last year I have lost 10 kgs from 75 to 65 , but this year due to this pandemic and lockdown situation I have gained some weight, I try my level best to eat Homecooked and healthy food everyday and try to workout at least 30min , but I see myself bigger I have fat on my thighs.
    Please help 🙏
    Love from India

  7. JasminMerkel says:

    I’ve been there. I have been struggling with Orthorexia for about 3 years now so this is something I definitely recognize. For me, it helped to fill out a calendar with rest days every other day at first. That way it kind of tricked my brain into thinking I was following a plan with workouts everyday since I planned it. Eventually, I did not need it anymore and I just asked myself “do I want to workout?” before every workout. I hope the person who wrote this can find the help they want here, stay healthy and safe <3

  8. Vaniqua says:

    I enjoyed reading your response regarding rest and knowing your body’s needs. I have a tough time with rest days as I question whether I truly need rest or if I’m just making excuses and feeling lazy. The toughest part is with the monthly calendars of workouts. I love them, but I feel like I have to do every day in its entirety and if I miss out then I’m not getting the full experience. I’m working on making peace with the fact that my workouts may be imperfect.

  9. Catalina says:

    I have been and I think I am still struggling with this. I started working out in the quarantine and then I felt so guilty when I didn’t have time to do my workout. I would do it late night even though I was so tiered I could barely walk just to get it checked. It was not ok. I am still not at ease with my problem, but I started giving myself some breaks if I am just to tired one day, saying I will just do more the next day. I guess I am still on my journey to find my balance in life, so for everyone there in the same point, you are not alone. I guess it’s just hard to find your better self in the end.

  10. sibani says:

    Well I have the same issue…I get pressurized when I miss a workout even though I workout thrice a day….like seriously it’s just tiring ….my mind says that I can skip one workout …but then idk how I just find myself working out anyways….anyways….am trying my best to get out of that mindset

  11. Rebecca says:

    Thank you for this I’ve been struggling with this as well.

  12. Belle says:

    Hi Cassy, I’m 27 years old, I started working out again during quarantine (was originally a martial artist, never actually noticed my body as how it looks or if there is something i don’t like, i was just obsessed with being strong and deffending myself when i need to. And i stopped because i had to deal with uni and work at the same time and i gained a lot of weight, I was +70 kg before quarantine. I was encouraging my fiancee to workout because we were kinda bored, thus I joined as well. When it came to dieting I didn’t restrict at all, he had more a healthy style than me so i was just getting into his habit, stopped sugars and binging and eating pasta and bread everyday gradually, while staying full all the time eating whole grain, veggies and a lot of yummy stuff that I actually used to hate. And i started noticing amazing changes, as well as noticing what i hate but never noticed or cared about, like belly fat. And I got addicted to working out and searching about how to do this and that, how to cook, how to lose fat, how to lose belly fat, and i know already that we can’t spot reducing fat. Now I’m down 12kg, I didn’t kill myself or starve myself to be honest, it was all smooth and i enjoyed the journey and still enjoying it, I also lost a loot of belly fat (still have the stubborn lower belly fat though) and i lost too much fat from my boobs which sucks 😅. But this month I got concerned about my period, i had it just for one day when it’s supposed to be 7 days, that confused me as hell that I don’t know if i actually had it or missed it. Then when I searched they were saying that you may lose your period if you lose too much weight and that stressed me out more! I didn’t restrict or starve and i feel better than anytime in my life. Do you have any idea what’s happening because i seriously don’t ☹.

    1. Marie says:

      Hi Belle! If your period only happened for one day once instead of 7 days it might not be a really big problem – but if it continues happening I would definitely check in with a doctor or something. Your period can be a little wonky if you’re losing weight but I hope it’s not a big problem!

  13. Fetish says:

    I m still in high school and ‘have got a big test scheduled for December and February. Due to this my parents are like cut down your workout time (Which I know I should) but I just couldn’t
    I feel as if I would cut down my time I will again gain weight and again will get bullied in the school(even though I was never overweight).
    It was like I was stuck
    Thank you Cassey for this
    I will surely work on it

  14. SNEHA NAIK says:

    Can you shed some light on how I could possibly reduce my facial fat? My face looks puffy and I have a lot of facial fat on my cheeks. I workout for 40 minutes (which is either bodyweight/cardio) every single day and try as much as possible to eat clean, homemade food. Will two pieces of sweet that I ate through the day increase my facial fat? I feel very disappointed when I look at my pictures as I look very chubby but the rest of my body looks fit enough. What can I do?

  15. Daniella says:

    thank you Cassey for this. That’s something I definitely found myself in. Some days I was kinda tired and wanted to rest but didn’t because I thought that wouldn’t be a good idea. You know what? Taking rest days or days off is an amazing tool in order to understand how your body feels as you are resting. I don’t feel pressured and panicked anymore thanks to this tips.

  16. elmaried says:

    I was thinking this same thing the other day! Crazy how this popped up on your blog as it was in my mind all week. Thank you to who asked, and thank you for answering!

  17. Amber says:

    Thank you for that Cassey! This is something I’ve been struggling with a bit as well, particularly as I’m getting ready to start a new job that requires a lot of hard manual labour and as someone who is quite small in stature, I worry that I won’t have the muscle to keep up with my larger, stronger colleagues. If you’ve got the time I just wanted to ask about repetition in exercise–I have a habit of sticking to the same full-body workout regimen everyday for long periods of time. I adapt them eventually as I get stronger, swapping out one ab video for a more intense one and then eventually swapping out the arm video, etc. etc. but I generally stick to the same four videos everyday for a good few months at a time before switching anything out. Is it harmful or less productive to stick to this kind of routine, even if it covers the full body? (Sorry if this is something you’ve already covered in the past–I’m relatively new to the community and still working my way through everything. Thank you for all you do–I love you and your workouts! 🙂 )

  18. Sharon says:

    Thanks for the post Cassey! Rest is super important in every aspect of life. I personally think that regarding anyone who feels stressed and panicked at the thought of skipping a workout from time to time when life gets busy, they perhaps need to take a step back and ask themselves why they’re exercising, and reevaluate that “why.” Exercise should relieve stress and anxiety, not add it. But again, that’s just my personal opinion; my journey in my body is going to differ from someone living in a different body with a different lifestyle, so I can’t necessarily speak for them 🙂

    1. blogilates says:

      I agree, reevaluating the “why” is always a good thing to do!

  19. Nadia says:

    Been there done that! My advice is every time you feel guilty for not working out just repeat to yourself “I need a break, so I can get stronger”. In time you’ll stop feeling so bad and in the meantime just make a plan – you can do workout 4 times a week for about 30 minutes and streches the others. Plus some activities Cassey suggested. Really helped me.

    1. blogilates says:

      Love that mantra!!

  20. Natalie says:

    I would like a post about binge eating, weight gain in quarantine and struggle to lose it.

  21. Blogilates fan says:

    I find it hard to start and stick to working out, and staying on the straight and narrow when it comes to what I eat. I recently started a daniel fast as I was feeling that I needed to rejuvenate my mind body and soul. When I got to day 3 I had already lost track and I ate cake that i had baked for my family. Committing to a workout routine or a eating plan is very difficult for me and I always fail. Please help

  22. Irena says:

    Hi, how many calories should I burn in one workout? When I do cardio I usually burn around 300calories. But when I do arms I burn just about 150-200calories. I see results but I’m still curious. Thank you

  23. Irena says:

    Hi Cassey, how many calories should I burn in one workout? When I do cardio workouts I usually burn around 300calories. But when I do arms workouts it’s around 150-200calories. I see results but I’m still curious. Thank you

  24. Kahlen says:

    Dear Casey,

    I’m a high school student, and during quarantine I started working out with you and loved it ever since! But I realized I started gaining weight again once face-to-face school started because I tend to get really strong cravings when I got home from school. Even when I finish a well balanced meal, I cant resist
    myself from these cravings. And then I end up binging consciously even though I know I won’t feel good in the end.

  25. This would be a great opportunity for you to reignite your metabolism which has been adopted to all of that stimulus from exercise! That means, when you enter into exercise again, your body will be much more responsive 🙂 let me know if you have any other questions! I’ve been through this process many times.