Here’s a few of the most common ways you might be sabotaging your workouts, along with some simple fixes. Recognise any of them? Yah, me too .
Always taking the most advanced option
I was in a Reformer Pilates class the other day and the instructor was giving us spring/difficulty options. Now as you know, I’ve only recently got back into the swing of exercise, so let’s just say that choosing the most difficult option would not have been a smart choice. I chose it anyway. The problem, as I was soon reminded, is that when you choose an option that’s too much of a stretch for you, you risk not going to be able to do the exercise properly. At best, this decreases the likelihood of getting results, and at worst, increases your risk of injury. Yes, I did sheepishly reduce my spring load.
The fix? Stop letting your pride get in the way, and work to a level where you can keep good form and control.
Not doing something you enjoy
I firmly believe that the best form of exercise is the exercise that you’ll actually do. Let’s be realistic; if you *hate* the gym there’s no way you’re going to keep showing up week after week. If you spend almost every moment of that yoga class wishing it was over (oh pick me, pick me!) then you’re probably better off choosing something else.
The fix? Search and ye shall find! Get out and try a bunch of different classes. Or grab your mates and head to the park, the pool, the running track. Download a workout app. Or trawl my Lazy Girl Fitness workout section. There are so many options out there, you’re bound to find something you enjoy.
Skipping the warm up
Yes yes it’s a squeeze to fit in a workout on your lunch break, I know. But spending a few minutes getting your body moving can help to get that oxygen flowing to your muscles a little faster, reduce your risk of injury and help you mentally prepare for what’s ahead.
The fix? Look it depends on the workout, but I suggest trying something simple like fast feet, side lunges or walk outs, followed by working through some of the exercises in your workout at a slow, controlled pace. Once you’re feeling warmer, try something a little high intensity, such as high knees or shuttle runs, and you’ll be ready to go!
You set unrealistic goals… or no goals at all
We all need goals to keep us motivated. Without them, you might show up, but chances are you’ll just be going through the motions. And on the flip side, if your goal is so far outside the realms of possibility that it’s unhealthy, you’ll get de-motivated pretty quickly and things will grind to a halt.
The fix: Choose a goal that is aspirational, but attainable. Then choose some mini goals that will help you get to the big goal. Measure your progress, and reward yourself when you reach a goal.
Not eating well
Running a marathon on one of the ‘2’ days of your 5:2 diet really isn’t a good idea. Likewise an intense HIIT session on a stomach full of fish and chips probably isn’t going to help you get the most out of your workout. Extreme examples, sure, but the moral is the same: if you want to make the most of your workouts, make sure you fuel your body well.
The fix? Keep your diet full of real foods – the less packaged, the better! And when it comes to pre and post-workout fuel, it will depend on when you’re working out and what sort of workout you’re doing. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, so take a little time to figure out what works best for you and your body.
Too many high intensity workouts
God I used to be so bad at this. I was definitely in the ‘more is more’ camp, when it comes to working out… the harder and more often, the better! But here’s a newsflash younger-Jess: your body needs rest days. Without rest days, your body doesn’t actually have time to repair and re-build, which means all that hard work is going to waste!
The fix? Factor in a couple of days off each week. Use these days to get out for a nice walk, do some mindfulness, or try a gentle stretch session at home.
Make sense Team? Excellent. Now stop sabotaging your workouts, and go forth and conquer those goals!