You don’t have a problem working out. In fact, you live for that 5 a.m. wake-up call! You’re consistent and you work hard. But, regardless of all the things you’re doing right, you’re still not seeing results a few months into your new routine at the fitness center. Is this you?
Even the most dedicated of us can experience discouragement when we’re trying hard but not seeing our effort pay off. Before throwing in your sweat towel, consider these four surprising ways you could be unknowingly sabotaging yourself. Does any of this ring true?
#1: You’re working out too much.
Do you regularly put in more than an hour at the gym, going from fitness classes to weights to cardio? Even though it seems like increasing the length of time you work out would accelerate your results, it can also burn you out. When your energy lags, so will the quality of your workouts and your results. Your form will also suffer, placing you at a higher risk for an overuse injury.
Try to limit your sessions to 45 or 55 minutes, since this is usually where you’ll see the benefits (and your energy levels) max out. Also, if you go hard one day, take it easier the next.
#2: You’re not getting enough recovery time.
Even if you’re putting in reasonable sessions at the fitness gym, do you allow yourself enough rest days? The number of rest (or at least easy) days your body needs depends on your current fitness level and the intensity of your training plan. If you start to feel yourself sore for several days in a row and feel exhausted all the time (not just immediately after your workout), it’s a good sign you’re not allowing your body enough time to recover.
Sufficient rest isn’t just crucial to feeling better, it’s crucial to your results. Our bodies adapt and change during our down time, not while we’re working out, so short-cutting rest can sabotage gains in cardiovascular endurance, strength, and agility.
#3: You’re not eating enough.
The whole point of your workouts is to lose fat and/or gain muscle, but your body needs enough fuel to make those changes. Dropping your calories too low in the effort to fast-track your weight loss goals will only slow your metabolism, cause your energy to lag during your workouts, and ultimately rob your body of the materials (like protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats) it needs to build muscle and burn fat.
If you’re not sure you’re eating enough, use an online calculator to plug in your weight, height, age, activity level and current workout program. Otherwise, ask a certified personal trainer or dietician for advice.
#4: You’re not getting enough sleep.
Just like rest, sleep is crucial to seeing results from your workouts. Sleep is the only time our bodies produce key hormones that help us build muscle and burn fat. Make sure you’re getting 7 to 8 hours of rest a night or fitting in an afternoon nap when your body needs it. In other words, if it’s a matter of getting another hour of rejuvenating sleep or watching late-night television, you know which you should be choosing.
Don’t Sabotage Yourself!
Just as it’s important to put in your best effort at the gym, it’s important to put in the quality of effort that takes your body’s needs and recovery cycle into consideration. Don’t sabotage yourself with these four behaviors – work hard, get rest, fuel your body, and watch your body transform.