Lately I have been feeling great after every workout. Really, really great (thank you endorphins :)) This great feeling is the main reason I work out, although the looking great part is a huge incentive too, don’t get me wrong.
There have definitely periods of time when workouts seem to fail me, and don’t make me feel great (or even help with that looking great stuff). When I look back at these times, I realize I was not enjoying myself during the actual workouts; I was bored and going through the motions. A large part of working out is mental, and mentally if your not there you just can’t expect to reap the physical benefits- it’s all connected.
Was it really the workouts failing me, or was it me failing the workouts? By simply going through the motions in the weight room, or forcing yourself to go on a 5 mile run you are just dreading, you are not doing your workouts, or yourself, any favors. After a brief period of this, I usually find myself taking a break from exercise all together.
Workout ruts, we all get them. Is a fitness break the solution? Sometimes, I think so. Especially if you have an injury or have overexerted yourself. Often times though, we just need to find a way to better manage our ruts before they get the best of us. A lengthy break from working out can make it difficult to get back in your routine (and in any fitness routine consistency is utterly important!) Here are some things that have worked for me in recent workout ruts:
1.) Work out better. You heard me. Don’t go into the weight room everyday and do 20 reps with 5LB weights and expect to see any changes. I’m bored just typing about it. Really test yourself, work with a trainer at first if possible, a fitness saavy friend or coworker, or take group fitness classes to learn proper form so you don’t injure yourself. You have to pick up that poundage to lose it!!! Same goes for running, bored with that 9 min mile 5 mile run 3 times a week? Swap it out for a sprint workout, or incorporate intervals with your strength training. You will be amazed at how strong, healthy and energized you will feel after really pushing yourself.
2.) Workout (or don’t) smarter. Take an off-day before you NEED it. If you routinely wait until you’re too sore to move or absolutely exhausted you are not enjoying yourself and will not be looking forward to you next workout. Take days off of working out every week on days you are feeling great, and use that extra-time to plan a killer workout for the next day I like the workouts at Women’s Health http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness. If you can’t stay away from the gym, try something gentle like a Hatha Yoga class or indulge in a steam bath.
3.) We already discussed making it challenging, but also make it fun! Find something you LOVE to do and incorporate that into your daily or weekly routine. Try something new, shake it up: Zumba, yoga, walking with your dog or bootcamp with a friend.
Better, smarter, more fun workouts have been working for me. What’s your workout rut solution???