Have you ever had a crappy workout and you just don't know why? Have you ever felt like you were working way too hard during your workout and just not feeling the love? Have you ever gone to the gym to lift weights and the 10 pound weight felt like 20?
Got it!. Been there!
I've been a trainer since 2009 and a group fitness instructor since 2007. I've worked with MANY people to include athletes, marathoners, triathletes, cross fitters, etc. I also work with a lot of students from Texas A&M University here in College Station. A good workout can leave you feeling energized and ready to take on the world. A bad workout can make you feel tired and defeated.
It doesn't have to be this way!
So many factors can affect the quality of your workout, and based on my experience I am going to share with you some things that I see regularly that can really make or break your workout. Go through this list and see if you are doing any of these. A few small changes can make a big difference in how you feel at your next workout!
1. Lack of Sleep- You guys know what it feels like to be overtired. When I haven't had enough sleep I feel like I am dragging ass the entire day. Sometimes you can't prevent this but most of the time you can control when you shut down at the end of the day. Make 7-8 hours non-negotiable. If you have a ritual such as listening to soft music, doing a few minutes of yoga, or whatever, then keep it consistent. It helps to stop all electronics one hour before bed. That includes TV in the bedroom (which I am guilty of). Also, leave your phone in the kitchen on silent, not next to the bed.
2. Lack of Nutrition- Often times clients show up to me and they start to fade after only 20-30 minutes of workout. Then they tell me they have not eaten or drank anything since the night before. You can't come to a workout and expect to rock it if you are running on empty! I tell them to eat a banana, a tablespoon of peanut butter, or something with a combination of carbs and protein before they come to workout. If you're like me, you don't like to eat the second you roll out of bed. For those of you who just can't stomach eating anything right out of bed, then a small bottle of Gatorade or sports drink will work.
3. Not Warming Up. You never want to go cold turkey into the workout. I always have at least a 5-10 minute warm up with clients and athletes. This is always in the form of a short run at an easy endurance pace followed by dynamic stretches and movements that closely mirror the moves in the workout. You always place yourself at more risk for injury without a good warm up.
4. Playing on Your Phone. Not only is this a significant deterrent to a good workout, but it's my pet peeve. If you workout with me you are not allowed to bring your phone to the workout area. Period. It's a major distraction, it will keep you focused on your notifications from apps and NOT your workout. It's a huge waste of your time as well. You have to make your workout a sacred hour of your personal time for YOU without distraction.
5. Improper Recovery from Previous Days Workout- When you are tired and sore you are most likely not motivated to get after it in the gym, ride the bike, go for a run, swim, etc. There are lots of ways to recover from a tough workout- nutrition, hydration, stretching, yoga, foam rolling, compression boots, massage, etc. When you know you went after it hard, be nice to yourself and let your body recover. You will feel much more fresh for the next day. Take at least one day off during the week as well to let your body recover.
6. Dehydration- It is so easy to not drink during a workout, especially when you aren't thirsty. This can be dangerous especially when the workout is over an hour such as on a long bike ride or run. When you don't have enough fluids and electrolytes in your body your fuel tank is running on empty, and you will most likely have a bad workout. You may even start to feel light headed, dizzy, or nauseous. Be conscious of how much fluid you are taking in daily. Do a sweat test to see how much fluid you lose during an hour of exercise to see what you need to replace. Set your watch to remind you to drink every 20 minutes on harder and longer efforts.
7. Overtraining. If you are going 10 days in a row without a rest from working out this is only hurting you not helping. As a rule I always give my athletes one full day off per week where I tell them to rest/stretch/foam roll/massage or whatever else relaxes them and helps them to recover. The symptoms of overtraining that I look for include lack of motivation, skipping workouts, incomplete workouts, higher resting heart rate, sunken eyes, and inability to recover as quickly.
Don't let the above kill your workout. You deserve that time to feel accomplished and refreshed, not fatigued and dragging.
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