The question: If I’m exhausted, is it healthy to still hit the gym, or should I skip it?
The expert: Robert Reames, CSCS, *D, CN, CPT/CES, Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute trainer
The answer: Generally speaking, skip it—and use the time you would have put toward a workout to rest, says Reames.
“The number one component of a solid exercise program is rest and recovery,” he explains. If you’re straight-up beat, you’re not going to get a good workout anyway. Instead of having a meh workout today and tomorrow, spend the time you allotted for today’s gym trip in bed, then head into tomorrow’s workout totally refreshed. You’ll end up getting a more effective workout and feeling better both mentally and physically, says Reames.
Not sure what really qualifies as feeling wiped versus just, well, a bit lazy? Your threshold is specific to you, Reames says, so take a sec and really try to check in with yourself. For example, if your normal exercise routine feels rough and impaired, that’s a sign that you should sit this one out, he says. A second tool, besides your gut: a heart-rate monitor. “The heart rate is like the base indicator of your energy level and how efficiently your body is working,” says Reames. So if your heart rate is higher than usual during your regular workout, that could be a sign of fatigue.
OK, now what if you’re pooped, but you really, really, really want to hit the gym anyway, and you think you can handle it? Reames suggests modifying your exercise. Go for a shorter or less intense version of what you typically do, or try a yoga or stretching class.