You’re drinking the recommended two litres of water each day, you’re on board the latest superfoods trend; drinking your kale smoothie with extra protein powder, chia seeds and acai berries and you’re working out five or more times a week. But no matter what you seem to do, that notch in your belt just won’t seem to budge.
I’ve been there; and after a multi-layered investigation of my habits and practices, I was diagnosed with suffering from the infectious disease of a ‘workout rut’. But what are the symptoms and how do you get out of this slump and back on track to achieving your goals?
Distractions Let’s assume you’re spending 60 minutes in the gym. You plan to do a bit of cardio, maybe even a bit of strength training and then you receive a notification or a message. You may think, “I’ll just quickly reply”. It may have taken only a few seconds to click ‘attending’ to that Facebook event or reply to your friend, but your focus and momentum has now been lost. We’re all guilty of this and once we’re distracted, it’s so hard to get back on track and just focus on our workout. If we stop for every message or every notification, the time that we’re ‘actually’ breaking a sweat for could even diminish to half of our workout time. Best thing to do, set your phone to airplane mode. It’ll keep you focused and you could possibly burn double the calories!
Repetition Repetition is good. Practice makes perfect they say. But sticking to the same routine is one of the biggest causes to ruining your workout. Our bodies love conditioning. But when we continue to work the same muscles with the same exercises over and over, the challenge is gone so you’ll stop improving and seeing visible results. You don’t necessarily have to use equipment; you can use your own body weight, change your duration of the activity or even your incline. But if you are weight training, according to Women’s Health and Fitness, you should be using a weight that allows you to get to eight to 12 reps with difficulty. When this becomes easy, that’s your cue to raise the bar. Change up workout regularly and try something new.
Overtraining When we can’t see the results we’re hoping for, we may get frustrated and skip the recovery. Our bodies and our muscles need time to rest and by overtraining, you may be tearing down your body too much. Take a step back and change it up. If you had a killer workout yesterday, maybe today go for a walk. This way you’re resting your body as well as stopping the deadly repetitive cycle. We need to also ensure that we’re stretching after our workouts. Holding a stretch for 30-seconds for each of our main muscle groups and/or using a foam roller to roll out, helps in our recovery, prevents the build up of lactic-acid (the evil culprit of sore muscles) and allows us to train hard again next time. So take a deep breath, stop stressing and try to implement these tips next time you work out, and before you know it, that motionless belt notch may just move!