Do you feel like you work out harder and more consistently than anyone that you know, but aren’t getting the results you are looking for? Let’s hit pause and take a closer look to figure this out. After all, we should know by now:
Would you rather go to the dentists than exercise? First all of, movement and activity is a game changer. You must get it out of your head right now that in order to be successful you must run a marathon, sign up at the gym, workout 7 days a week, and completely hate every moment of it. That just isn’t the truth. For your workouts to work in your favor, you must be open to trying some activities that you love to do and that you actually look forward to doing. Right now it may be as simple as getting out for an evening walk in the Spring-like weather. I know many people who absolutely hate to run, but they force themselves to do it. The result of doing things you dread is simple: you won’t do them. Eventually your hatred will win and the couch will call. If you find something you love doing, you will not only do it, you will look forward to doing it, and you will do it at 100% effort every time. So first, do you like the exercises you are choosing to do?
Are you always aching or hurting? I am not talking about that awesome muscles soreness you feel 24-48 hours after a killer workout. (What is delayed onset muscle soreness?) I am talking about constant and chronic painful knees, hips, backs and more. Even if you love the endorphins a HIIT workout brings, if your knees hurt for days afterward, it may be time to take out the high impact piece and modify these workouts. Just because you can still jump in the air, doesn’t mean you always should. Also, you may think about changing your routine. If you are always injured you may be over-training. By giving your body enough time in between workouts to fully recover, your symptoms may ease up too. So what if you can no longer go for a run every day? Change it up with some cross training and yoga. Think of your weekly routine in a balanced and holistic way. If you are feeling depressed, grumpy, or are having trouble sleeping, these could be signs that you are over-training and need to change things.Do you feel like you work harder than anyone you know, but are not seeing the results you are after? Then perhaps you have plateaued. When we train regularly, our muscles, cardio/respiratory system, and nervous adapt to the stress we put on them. It is vital that you are always changing things up. A great way to change things up is with duration, frequency, intensity, or all of the above, just not all at once!
Do you always feel tired or fatigued? Working out should give you energy. Tiredness could mean that you are not recovering long enough. This over-training can result in hormonal imbalances and disrupt sleep immensely. I went through this myself not long ago. Not only is it frustrating, it is incredibly unhealthy. I love the idea of having a rest day worked into your week, and you may even consider taking it a step further by really changing up your routine in preps for amping it up for a set time, and then take it back down again. Recovery is key to achieve results. It may seem counter-intuitive, but more is not always better!
After a solid night of sleeping, you should wake up feeling refreshed, if you are not feeling refreshed, you may need to adjust. Giving up sleep to exercise is not the way to go. If you set your alarm for 4:30 in the morning and become groggy for the rest of the day after your sweat session, you may spend the day fighting off food cravings, irritability, and you are not doing your body any good. It’s best to go to bed earlier if you need to work out in the mornings, or space some activity in throughout the day. My favorite way to do this is with The All Day Challenge!
If your workouts are feeling easy, they may not be working for you. If you aren’t feeling challenged, add some variety. Strength training, a new class, adding weights or hills, and HIIT are great. Don’t be afraid to focus on strength one week, and endurance the next. Variety is HUGE is reaching your goals!
We all have our favorite workouts and favorite exercise moves, but what if those are all you do? I love when the buff guys from the weight room come to one of my HIIT classes. Using a ton of functional training, agility, and flexibility the muscle men often struggle more than anyone…and that is SO good for them! Training your muscle groups differently is important. For example, do a squat, but then add a one-legged squat and maybe a box jump!This happens and it is so frustrating! Are you gaining weight? (When weight gain is NOT your goal?) Hormones play a huge role! Maybe you are eating more to cover the intense sessions you are doing to stabilize your blood sugar. Maybe you are not eating enough and your body is protecting itself. Maybe you reward yourself after your morning spin session and simply sit all day because of the killer workout you put in. The best advice is to move throughout the day and watch your calorie intake, ensuring you are eating the proper amount for the activities you are doing. Here is some science from one of my favorite and trusted blogs if you are itching to learn more about this!
Exercise is an important piece of the wellness pie. But stop and examine if what you are doing is really best for YOU!