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Should I Workout When I Don't Feel My Best?

Many fitness enthusiasts wonder if working out is helpful or harmful when you’re feeling under the weather? However, the answer isn't always clear-cut. There are some circumstances where giving your body a rest is more important than sticking to your health and fitness goals and sticking to your scheduled workout.

There will be times when you want to workout while on your health and fitness journey, but your body doesn’t agree. As a personal trainer, we always recommend listening to your body because sometimes, exercising can actually have the opposite effect of what it should do, and it can make you feel worse instead of better.


It’s not always an easy decision whether you should stick with a sweat session or take the day off. So here are some common scenarios and what is recommended for each circumstance:

  • You barely got any sleep last night:

Sleep should always take priority over hitting the gym because it's an important aspect of your health and fitness goals. Sleep deprivation can affect your focus and concentration, which will leave you open to sloppy mistakes. So instead of working out, stay in bed a little longer or go to bed earlier.

  • You’re super stressed out:

Exercise is known to be one of the best stress relievers. It can take your mind off your worries, and the endorphins released from exercising will help lower stress. Incorporating a walk or 30 minutes on the elliptical in your gym training session can be a great stress reliever; repetitive movement helps to soothe your brain.

  • Your feeling the onset of a cold:

As long as you don’t have a fever and you feel up to exercising, then opt to sweat it out. Make sure to keep your workout intensity light to moderate and stay hydrated. Also, make sure to keep other people in mind if you’re going to the gym, wash your hands, and sanitize the machines after use. As always, if you've seen a doctor, be sure to follow their recommendations above all else.

You're feeling feverish or coughing:

If you have a fever, meaning a body temperature of 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, or you’re coughing, it's better to sit this gym session out until you’re feeling better. Otherwise, you could put your immune system into overdrive, which isn’t a good thing.

  • You’re sore from the previous day's workout:

Muscle soreness from the previous day's workout shouldn’t prevent you from hitting the gym. Moving the next day can be good for you; however, consider doing a familiar activity, less intense activity, or an activity that uses different muscles.

  • You're feeling it in your back:

Are you dealing with a muscular issue or a nerve issue? It’s hard to tell until you start moving around, so start with some low-impact activity like walking to see how you feel. Does it hurt more or less as you warm up? Or does your back continue to hurt? If it hurts or gets worse, then give yourself another day to recover. If it persists, then definitely consult a doctor.

Being committed to your health and fitness journey also requires you to pay attention to the signals your body is giving you. Training hard and staying the course is great, but it won’t do you any good in the long run if you don’t properly take care of your body when it needs it most.


If you ever find yourself questioning whether you should keep your scheduled personal trainer gym session with us, just give us a call. SRQ Health and Fitness always wants you to take care of yourself so if you're feeling under the weather let your personal trainer know and we will work with you to keep you on track with your health and fitness goals.

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