What would you do if you stopped working out?

“What would you do if you stopped working out?”

Literally, what would you do (with your time).

This very question came to mind the other night.  Sort of popped into my head randomly — or maybe it popped into mind because I was having one of those “I’m too busy, life is going too fast” moments. Between work, commuting upwards of 3+ hours a day, working out, and my husband’s work/school schedule, I’m finding our time together has been fewer and farther between during the week than it used to be.

And for the most part? I’m ok with it. The time we spend together during the week — it’s quality time. We make the most of even two hours together on a Tuesday night (hello delicious glass of wine with dinner while catching up on our days!). Sure, the number of hours I spend at work and commuting to/from work is a giant time suck in my day. But it’s my job, it pays the bills. And sure, Scott has school once per week and bowling once per week — that’s his time and I’d never infringe on that. And yes, a large portion of my time before/after work is spent working out.  But that’s my “me” time…I don’t know what I’d do or where I’d be without it. I protect that time rather fiercely.

So the fact that this question — “What would you do if you stopped working out?” — came to mind the other night really made me stop and think.

What would I do if I stopped working out?

…um, I’m not sure. I think I’d be bored. No, I know I would be. And I’d most certainly not be as happy and joyful — working out brings me such a happy, natural high, and like I said, it’s my “me” time that I cherish so, so, so much. It has shaped who I am today — a happy, confident, strong, fierce friend, sister, daughter and wife.

So yeah, there are some days and weeks where I feel like “life” gets in the way of “life” (if that makes sense), but honestly? I wouldn’t change my life for the world. It’s who I am. It’s shaped me. It’s shaped my relationship with  my husband. We center ourselves very much around living a fit, active, healthy and balanced life together. And I’m damn proud of that fact.
…It’s who I am. It’s who we are.

So to the question: “What would you do if you stopped working out?”

My answer: I wouldn’t.  

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39 thoughts on “What would you do if you stopped working out?

  1. well i have been there and kinda am. I have had to dramatically reduce my workouts. I spend a lot more time with my niece and nephews playing with them, walking the dog, and well…..resting. It ain’t easy, thats for sure. But gotta do whatcha gotta do sometimes. I love your passion for it and I am right there with you. Never give up on that passion!

  2. It’s crazy to me to think if I didn’t work out – if I never started. I would have never dropped all that weight, be a lot less healthier, never had the courage to run half marathons or met so many inspiring fitness types. So yeah, not working out isn’t an option!

    • Amen sista!! You are proof positive that healthy balanced eating and exercise is the “magic potion” towards a a healthier “you.” Your weight loss story still stuns me. You are so beautiful and strong and fit and happy. I love to see how this experience has totally transformed you. You are one of a kind my dear.

    • I honestly don’t know how I’d fill my “free” time — working out is a passion of mine, a “hobby” even. But it’s also so sacred to me as an integral part of who I am that I really think I’d feel a little bit lost without it – not in an obsessive or unhealthy way, just sort of like there was a piece of “me” missing, if that makes sense.

  3. If I HAD TO stop working out, I know I would still be active. Take the dogs for longer walks, go on more family bike rides, and/or hike in the woods. I’d spend more time in the kitchen and maybe actually clean the house (ok, maybe not this one!). 🙂

    • Right…I think there’s a MAJOR difference between HAVING to stop working out (due to illness, injury, etc.) vs. willingly giving up working out “just because.” Sure, I’d have more “free time” for other stuff – but would that “other stuff” fulfill me as much as working out does?

  4. Oh I definitely would not give up my time with sweat, either. D has always been understanding of the hours dedicated to the run, because his hours on the bike are usually longer 😉 and, well, we met at a running group – so yeah, he gets it.

    If I HAD to stop working out, I’d probably use that time to read more. I feel like there are never enough hours in the day to read up on news, read a book, finish crosswords (love!), etc.

    • I love that D supports and embraces this part of “you” as much as Scott appreciates that side of “me” as well. It is so important in a relationship to be on the same page with one another’s passions, hopes, dreams.

      Agree with you though — have to vs. want to give it up are very different things. I’d surely read more, maybe go out to eat more (for better or worse??), but I also think I’d end up with mindless time spent on the computer or in front of the tv, rather sedentary, and so not who I like to think I am, you know?

  5. Tough question…because of course, sometimes there is a valid reason to HAVE to stop working out, or to tone it down a few notches. So, I think I would also still be active, as much as I could, if that were the case. I think it is such an ingrained thing, to be active, that’s it’s hard to think about NOT being active. Even this morning, when I found the gym was closed, I have all this time right now and at first, felt like it was wasted time but I’ve gotten stuff done around the house and caught up on blogs…so, still quality, right??

    • Right – a big difference, as so many of you have pointed out! I agree — being active is totally ingrained in “me” that without it, I’d feel a little bit lonely (for lack of a better word).

  6. I had to completely stop working out when I was diagnosed with Glycogen Storage Disease. It killed me. What I have learned from the experience (you know I am working out again and happy as can be!) is that it’s also good to have perspective and not to allow yourself to become dependent on exercise for happiness and self worth. Sure, it can give you those things but you can’t lose sight.
    I was so certain that who I was depended on exercise and my ego began to believe I was only worthy of self love because of how hard I worked and how fit I was. So, when I had to totally give it up, it sent me in a downward spiral of depression. I started eating like crap, went on anti-d’s and gained 25 pounds. I think you know all this. Point is, there are tons of outlets that can make you happy and occupy your free time. But don’t let anything define you besides YOU!

    I am so thrilled to have my outlet back. Having it taken from me really taught me how to love myself though.

    So, in answer to your question: It would suck balls.

    • I love your perspective. Every time I hear from you, I’m totally blown away by what you’ve gone through and what you’ve gained from that experience, as hard as it was on you. It’s amazing the perspective you can bring to a conversation like this one — because what you do point out, is that fitness can become a detriment, if approached in an unhealthy way. There’s a huge difference between fitness for passion and health, and fitness for fear of gaining weight, of losing control, etc.

      I’m so glad you have your outlet back, and can approach it with a new mindset, a “love myself” mindset at that.

  7. Honestly, I really cannot recall a time when I didn’t workout in some way, shape or form. I took gymnastics up until age 10, danced until about 6 years ago, started weight lifting, running, step aerobics, kickboxing and everything else after that b/c I was so used to doing something.

    But what if I were injured or seriously ill and couldn’t workout??? I don’t know what I would do. I think it would be very difficult to overcome mentally b/c I do look for that endorphin rush, that satisfaction and sense of accomplishment from working out.

    However, sometimes I wish I could force myself into 2 rest days a week. When I do have a rest day and actually enjoy it, I have SO much extra time LOL. It’s amazing what more I can actually get done without feeling rushed.

    • Right — I can’t really remember a time like that either, it’s been so long and is so a part of who I am.

      I will say, having two rest days in a week can be an amazing and beautiful thing. I do it fairly routinely now and have a newfound appreciation for it. I think you’d find you love it too if you can wrap your mind around 2 rest days well enough 🙂

  8. What an interesting reflection–I have many clients who could benefit from asking themselves this…just because it makes you evaluate what role and value working out has in your life.
    If I didn’t work out, I’d be really worried about my physical and mental well-being…I can’t picture it happening, even if I was injured and couldn’t go all out, I’d still do as much as I could…

  9. Hmmm…well, I can’t imagine not working out. But if I had to give it up there are a few things I would definitely do…idle time would kill me:
    1. Take my dog for a walk every morning
    2. Take a cooking class & make more mid-week meals at home
    3. Increase my involvement in community service & go to church more regularly.
    4. Get a little bit more sleep

    • Such a thoughtful response my dear — I love the community and church involvement, that’s one I think we could all get ourselves to focus on more…but it’s one of those “if only I had more time…” items that falls so far down on the list sometimes.

  10. I wouldn’t either, but like your sister said above, sometimes there is a good reason when you have to stop or at least take it easy for awhile (injury, having a baby, etc.).

    Even on my rest days I feel like I should have a whole lot of extra time, but it doesn’t usually work out that way. If I was forced to stop and had some extra time I would use it to catch up on sleep and hang out with my hubby and son! 🙂

    • Totally agree – sometimes there *is* very very very good reason to have to nix it. Sometimes those reasons are hard to swallow (like injury). But then, if I sit back and remember that I’m lucky to be able to stay active at all, and it slaps me back to reality — and reminds me to be thankful for what I do have (which is a lot, in my book!).

  11. LOVE THIS! Can you be my life coach? What a beautiful way of looking at the craziness of life. That’s a fantastic way of looking at the flip side.

    If I stopped working out, I would gain some serious lbs and be miserable about not getting out and moving around. Truth.

  12. I’ve gone through times when I didn’t work out often or regularly…and the funny thing is that I felt just as busy as I do now. I think when you eliminate something from your life, something else just kind of fills in that space. Like right now, for instance, I’m not taking any classes…but I still feel insanely busy because I’m doing other things to fill that time.
    I’ve found though that when I don’t workout I’m not as naturally happy as when I do workout. So why stop?!

  13. Last October I had to stop working out for 7 weeks. it was sooo hard at first but then I accepted it and enjoyed my extra time. but after 7 weeks ugh i was itching to get back at it!

    • So so so hard to deal with injury. But it DOES teach you the valuable lesson of honoring and cherishing your body — and being grateful that you are able to stay fit and active the majority of the time (unless injured).

  14. I just took a 2 week break from working out (due mainly to no time), and it was nice at the beginning, but I was getting really bored—so ran today! So I probably wouldn’t either…unless 2 weeks counts! haha. Then, I would do more homework. 🙂

  15. Pingback: Just move. | EatDrinkBreatheSweat

  16. I think I’d last for about 3 days. I can’t imagine what it would be like not to workout. Actually I can and those were some of the unhappiest years of my life.

    • Right — and sometimes there’s a good reason to stop working out for a few days, a few weeks, etc. But if there’s not? I’m with you — I’d not be very happy, and I’d just feel so much less like me, which I’d rather avoid at all costs 😉

  17. I wouldn’t, ever! Buuuut, I would…nest a lot more. I love my apartment, spend far too little time in it. I would read, sew, cook,and watch bad TV! Spend more time on facebook and twitter. Maybe even work longer hours. These are all things I don’t have a ton of time for, and don’t really prioritize, because I work out pretty much 4-5 days a week right after work. My weekends have become sacred. I’ll do barre on an occassional weekend morning, but the rest of the weekend is saved for (fit) fun.

  18. I love your answer. After working 7 days and moving during the month of October, my workout calendar was pretty bare. I literally dropped everything else to get runs in when I felt like I would murder someone if I didn’t.

    I need my workouts in my life, that much I know.

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