Do you feel like you’re spending hours training but just not seeing the results you want?
We all have different reasons for working out and all have different desired results. It might be that you are just generally focused on being a bit healthier, keeping your heart healthy and keeping illness and disease at bay. But it might be that you have a specific goal, be it training for a race, decreasing body fat, dropping a dress size or increasing your lean muscle mass.
Trying to change your body composition (how much body fat and muscle you have) can be difficult and it is not just about working out. It is a combination of training, nutrition, lifestyle, sleep habits and stress levels. Unfortunately some factors such as genetics and anything that impacts your hormones may need to be addressed by a doctor before you can start to see a change but if you do not feel that you are seeing your hard work reflected in your results then you maybe need to think about making one of these small changes to your fitness routine.
Some people think that taking a recovery day means doing nothing for a day but active recovery allows you to still be active (as long as the chosen activity allows your muscles to fully recover from your previous workout). Walking, yoga or Pilates are all great examples of doing something that allows you to keep moving while giving your body and mind that well-earned break from the usual hard work.
If you’ve been doing the same classes and workouts for a while now you may need to switch it up completely. When your body gets used to movement patterns it no longer needs to adapt. This is where you get stuck in your comfort zone. You need to force your body to start making adaptations again as this is how those body composition changes happen. You should always feel like your workouts are challenging and the minute you start to feel comfortable you need to change it up.
If you don’t feel like a complete change is necessary it may be enough just to adapt your current routine. Don’t try to change everything at once, this is about meaningful change. For example if you regularly run on a treadmill think about increasing the speed by a small margin. If you always run at a steady pace consider doing an interval session instead, moving between a easy and faster pace. Either of these will make it a different workout and that is the aim. If you focus mainly on strength work and use weights then think about changing up either the rep count, the number of sets or the weight. Remember only change one thing at a time so that you ensure you do not end up working outside of your capability, therefore putting yourself at risk of injury.
I know, I know…what? Workout less? That’s bonkers right? Nope! As talked about in the first point you need to allow your body and mind to recover after a workout. If you’re training so often that you feel constantly tired, achy and burnt out then your body won’t be function properly and subsequently your workouts become less efficient. Examine your weekly routine and see if you are taking at least one active recovery day a week. If not, do it. Take a day off, have a rest, get some sleep and let your system recharge. If one day doesn’t feel like enough, take another. You won’t regret it. You will find that after a proper recovery period you will be back firing on all cylinders and ready to crush your next workout.