Dear Cassey: Is it healthy to use anger and revenge as motivation to workout?

Dear Cassey,
While exercising and eating healthy genuinely bring me a lot of happiness and joy, I find that sometimes my motivations aren’t always positive. Most of the time I’m thinking about my health and how good it makes me feel – but sometimes I find thoughts of anger and revenge help to push me farther than normal.
Just imagining the look on my cheating ex’s face when he realizes what he missed out on can get me to finish an extra half mile on the treadmill!
Is it unhealthy to think this way or is it just a normal thing everyone experiences?
Raging Runner
light match fire motivation

Dear Raging Runner,

I’d be lying to you if I said I’ve never done this.

In my opinion, it’s normal! I mean, to really dig deep and get in the zone, you have to find motivation somewhere! For some people it’s music with a killer beat, for others it’s competition, and for some of us, it’s taking out our anger on the treadmill.

If what you’re angry about still bothers you, it’s probably giving you extra (negative) energy anyways. Gotta burn that off somewhere, right?! Might as well be productive about it 🙂

Working out is therapeutic for that reason. It’s an outlet and stress reliever like NO OTHER. So when you’re using those thoughts of revenge or anger as motivation to push harder, you’re also releasing those feelings. And all of us need to do that every now and again. ESPECIALLY if you’ve been through something like a bad breakup. That stuff seriously weighs you down otherwise.

Now…OBVIOUSLY I wouldn’t recommend digging up those negative feelings every time you workout. Constantly being in that state of mind isn’t great for your mental health. I think it would be really easy to become dependent on that anger, which can be very emotionally draining.

Here’s my two cents: your workout is a great place to unload heavy feelings. Definitely use your feelings if it pushes you during a workout… but only if you still come out feeling great and positive in the end. DON’T use feelings to cover up bigger issues in your life. And NEVER EVER dig up those feelings if they turn into negative self-talk (what did I do wrong, etc.) Nope. None of that.

You could also try putting a more positive twist on these feelings. Like, instead of “just wait until he sees what he’s missing,” think “ummm who knew I could be so STRONG” or “WHOA I came out of this happier and more motivated than ever.” Seeing the way a bad situation actually changed your life for the better is some of the best motivation out there. Use it.

Thank you for this question! I hope this helps. It really is something I think most of us have done, and now I’ll be paying more attention to what I use the most to fire up that extra motivation.

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.

15 thoughts on “Dear Cassey: Is it healthy to use anger and revenge as motivation to workout?”

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  1. Pau says:

    Dear Cassey,

    A lot of people ask “how do I lose weight?” or “how do I get slimmer?” But for me, my main concern is HOW DO I GAIN WEIGHT? I’m 4’11 (coz my Asian genes, i think hehe) and I weigh between 42kgs to 48kgs since last year. I’ve become active since the start of the lockdown, although before that, I manage to squeeze in some yoga when my schedule permits it (i have an 8am to 5pm job). I started doing your workouts last March (which I love, btw!!) until now. At first I followed your monthly calendar every single day and i enjoyed it so much! I love the results! But now I reduced my workouts to 3 times a week because a lot of people have been telling me that I lost too much weight. The funny thing is, when I was working out everyday, I weighed 47kgs. And now that I do my workouts 3 times a week, I weigh around 43kgs. I was expecting to gain weight since I move less and maintained my balanced diet (i eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. I also have my afternoon snacks which are most of the time sinful haha). So what am I supposed to do? What are the things that I have to consider to gain (and maintain) a healthy weight?

    1. MELODY says:

      If you were feeling great, it doesn’t matter what other people say. External validation is for the birds and muscle weighs more than fat. So, you can be heavier on the scale while looking better IRL. I’d say, go back to doing what you love as long as it was truly making you happy. Ignore other people who are probably just jealous of how good you were looking and feeling; they clearly have their OWN work to do. Be happy!

  2. Jenna says:

    Dear Cassey,

    How do you go about monitoring what you eat without counting calories? I’m very physically fit, but larger than I’d like to be. I never really struggled with my weight until 4 years ago when I started law school. Stress absolutely played a factor. I lost a lot hair and my period cycle changed as well. Now that I am down, my period has finally regulated, and my hair is coming back to life! However, I’m still heavier than i’d like to be. I only need to lose around 10 lbs, but the problem is, most exercises don’t challenge me. I know the change needs to come from food, but counting calories is not realistic for me because it is kind of a trigger that gets me into an unhealthy mindset. What is another way I can monitor my food? Thank you.

  3. Dana says:

    Dear Cassey, I am not talking to you as a fitness instructor but as a designer. I have been working out with you since I was 16 and now I am a medical student. What I love above your designs is that they are not only Pretty and unique, but also very comfortable,But I am a Muslim and I wear Hijab, so I can only workout at home. You know how much different it feels to work out outdoor in nature, it’s another level of joy! And you are here to help people find joy in fitness. I believe that everyone has the right to work out anywhere no matter what they need to wear. Now I am not a designer to tell what you need to make, and I know that it is hard to make clothes that covers your head and most of your body, but I know that you are so creative and can work this out! If you’re not sure whether many people will be interested and buy , I can assure you that you have A LOT OF muslim followers. You can also ask people to vote before making your decision! Of course it is not the right time for that because we are quarantined, but this will not last forever, and I hope my problem doesn’t as well. Funny thing to conclude, whenever you say: ” flex your foot to the ceiling or the sky” I say : “well, it’s always the ceiling”😂!

  4. Jolande says:

    Dear Cassey , i’m dutch so my writhing isn’t perfect But I have a question
    I’ve been a big kid .. not really fat.. just big .. as a teenager I Became smaller and i was really happy with my body
    Now afther two kids I feel like that big kid again.. like , not sexy -at All-
    But im so exhausted all the time!
    How do you work out when youre exhausted?
    I have broken nights because of my 4 months old boy.. and during the day i feel like my head is going to explode because of my ALLWAYS talking 2,5 years old daugher..
    I really love to work out.. i just dont have the energy for everything thats comes with it .. like taking a shower afther .. or making time
    Im also addicted to sugar and Coffee to keep going all day..

    Im only 27 years old and i want to love my body again .. where do i start ?

    You are amazing !! ( and youre videos are the only work outs i can actully commit to 😉 )

    Thank you so much For youre monthly calendars! <3


  5. Jumille Anne Gamis says:

    Dear Cassey,

    Is it okay not to workout during my monthly period?


    Workout newbie

  6. Gillian says:

    Hi Casey
    I’ve just started to follow you and I’m enjoying your beginning Pilates very much. I do all sorts of work outs and now with lock down have been finding other exceriese like yours . I did have a go with a video once but didn’t carry on and at one stage I did do Callanetics,which is similar to Pilates I think with small movements. Your beginners work out video is fab and will keep doing that until I get my core correct. As with the other excersices you do. I’ve always found the art of making sure my back is flat on the floor with no arch very hard. Classes haven’t always got tome to show you correctly,so,this is great. It doesn’t take long in the morning to do either.
    Thank you
    From u.k.

  7. miya says:

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  8. Cheryl Chin says:


  9. Julie A. says:

    I think we’ve all been there and done that. I even “rage-clean,” haha. But honestly, being cheated on has very little to do with YOU and EVERYTHING to do with the cheater. You could look like Marilyn Monroe and still experience bad feelings or be treated poorly by a partner. You do for you. No one else. In my opinion, should you find that you’re solely motivated with negative energy it will really drain you: body, mind, soul. Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally; there’s always cognitive behavioral therapy as well (not that I’m saying you need it because I’m not qualified to determine that need, but you get my point). xoxo

  10. Mistralka says:

    Sometimes when I’m angry about something I get so much negative energy that I start working out just to burn that energy off. At the end I’m too tired to focus on my anger and my body feels well and full of endorphins. And then even though I’m not too happy that anger was the thing that motivated me, at least I got rid of it by doing something good for myself. So I changed the negative energy into positive 🙂

  11. Michelle Grietzer says:

    💓This Thank U Cassey

  12. Pipa says:

    Thank you so much for talking about this, Cassie. I also went through a bad breakup some months ago and I started to work out, fueled by the need to release those feelings. As I saw my body changing and saw how stronger I became, those negative feelings subsided and I started to feel more confident with myself and started to work out because I genuinely enjoy it and I feel like I’ve done something good for myself. Thank you for all the work and heart you put into this, Cassie! Your words and workouts really help me to be the best version of myself!

  13. I definitely think it’s a good motivator to GET YOUR FEELINGS OUT! I fell in love with running because it gave me the euphoria of proving my enemies wrong! Now I keep st it because I genuinely love it ^^


  14. Laura says:

    Hi Cassey, I’ve been working out for about 6 months now and have noticed that my glutes are uneven. I’m guessing my left glutes are weaker or not as easily activated as my right. I would like to make them even, as I’m sure it has negative effects on my posture and form. How would you suggest to fix or remedy this? Any advice or recommendations? Thank you!