Have you been working out for a while and you’re not seeing results? Are your workouts not working for you? There is a good chance that one or more of these bad habits that you are incorporating into your daily exercise regime is sabotaging your workout.
With just a few minor tweaks, you can send your fitness level soaring and reap the many benefits that your exercise program has to offer. After all, you’re not going to maximize the benefits of exercise without going through an effective workout.
Not eating enough: It’s important to fuel your workouts and get the proper nutrients in before and after your workout. It’s like expecting a car to run with no fuel. If you don’t give your body enough food to eat, it simply doesn’t perform as well. In addition, when we don’t fuel our bodies properly, our energy sources turn to muscle protein which exactly the opposite of what you want. An effective workout starts before you even get to the gym.
Range of motion: Most common when lifting weights, it is important to pick an amount of weight that you can get all the reps in with full range of motion. This ensures that the load on the muscle is longer which increases strength and size over time. The more muscle you can build, the more your body burns when resting. Trying to lift a heavier amount of weight than you’re able to not only can cause injury, but the muscles are not working at their fullest potential, and you can’t have an effective workout when this happens.
Not taking rest days: While it’s important to get your daily dose of exercise, the magic happens when we feed and rest our muscles. Rest days are when muscles perform necessary repairs, foster growth and replenish glycogen (a stored form of carbohydrates and your muscles’ main fuel source for energy production).Because glycogen is depleted after an effective workout, rest is needed for it to be built back up in order to foster muscle growth.
Training too long: More isn’t always better when it comes to exercise. Overtraining, or spending more than an hour in the gym drops Cortisol (a stress hormone) levels. It also fosters adrenal fatigue and overall performance. Your body is therefore likely to break down muscle for energy as well, which in turn will wipe out all of the positive effects of your workout. Spend less time in the gym and make the most of your workouts.
You are stretching before your workout: While stretching isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can be if you’re doing it before your workout. Static stretching (holding particular positions until you feel the stretch in your muscles) before lifting weights can actually make you feel weaker or slower during your workout. Focus on dynamic moves or go for a slow jog or walk for your warm up and save the stretching until after your workout.
Your intensity may not be intense enough: You constantly need to challenge your body. If you are doing the same classes day in and day out, spinning on the same bike for weeks at a time or lifting the same amount of weight for months, it’s time to switch things up. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and you will see the changes in your body follow suit.
An Effective Workout Can Also Be Fun
There are other ideas to consider if you’re focused on enjoying an effective workout when you hit the gym, the park or wherever you exercise, and one of them is that it can and should be fun. For too many people, exercise eventually becomes just another box to check on any given day. It’s good that people are active, but simply going through the motions does not lead to an effective workout.
Consider the things that you like to do and incorporate them into your exercise routine. For instance, if you love tennis, find a group that plays a couple of times per week and join. Actively participating in sports can be an incredibly effective workout, and doing something you love will only add to the benefits of an overall exercise effort.
You should also think about working some variety into your more “routine” exercise sessions. Not only, as mentioned above, will doing so help your muscles activate, but this approach will also activate your mind. Ineffective training programs often involve those where we can simply drift off into daydreams and not even pay attention to what we’re doing. We need to remain engaged and focused on what’s happening so we can feel the effects of an effective workout both physically and mentally when we’re finished.
If your exercise program isn’t working for you consider heading over to Sloane’s Squad where you will find daily video guided workouts at home or in the gym and so much more.