If you work out regularly but aren’t seeing the results you expect, it’s easy to think you’re making a mistake. Skip playing the blame game on your form, your program, or your body, as the cause could simply be that’s something is missing. Instead of what you’re doing wrong, it might be all about what is lacking from your routine. See if you’ve been skipping or skimping on any of the following, and you might reveal the key to your future success.
No matter how butt-kicking a program you put in when you’re awake, your results will be slim if you don’t get your Zzzs. Working out creates little tiny tears in your muscles, that when restored helps to make you stronger. The rebuilding and repairing happens when you give those muscles a rest–as in those eight or so hours when your head should be heavy on the pillow.
Get More: Lack of sleep can be for any number of reasons: schedule, stress, or medical conditions. If you’re a busy bee, pencil in some shut-eye. Ideally you’ll get all your sleep at night, but if that doesn’t happen, naps can help fill in the gaps. If stress is keeping you awake, shut down on screen time at least an hour or two before bedtime. Read a book–a real one made of paper, do some light yoga, or meditate. The idea is to let go of the worries of the day–they’ll be waiting for you tomorrow, as always. If you’re a serious insomniac, talk to your doctor about herbal supplements or other treatments.
Your body is pretty good at learning a routine and adapting to it. If you choose to do the same workout every day, your muscles will remember it and grow accordingly. This is fine in the beginning, but after a while, you may become stagnant in your progress.
Get More: Even if you love running, and only want to do just that, you can still add variety. Change the intensity level each day. Too much fast-paced runs doesn’t do a body good. Try adding in intervals, or running flat courses one day and hillier courses the next. Even switch up your terrain. If you’re used to running on pavement, head for a park and do sprints in the grass. Your muscles–especially those stabilizers–will respond in different way. For something completely different but still beneficial to your running development, swim laps in the pool or bike the open roads.
Accomplishing an effective workout is difficult when you have the “deer in headlights” look. There’s a lot going at gyms and fitness facilities, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed if you’re new to it all or have been out of the game for a while.
Get More: Take a tour of the building on your own or with a staff member. If you know you’re going to want to use an elliptical, ask the staff to show you how it works–after all, those buttons can be confusing. Once you have an idea of what awaits, write up a program for the next day or even the whole week. Be sure to include numbers of reps and sets, and time durations. Don’t leave anything up to chance, and you’ll be able to get your workout in and done with minimal stress and maximum results.
If you’re just going through the motions, that’s not exercising. In fact, if you can read a book or a magazine while you’re doing it, it’s pretty likely that you could be working harder.
Get More: While you don’t have to do a workout that has you tossing your cookies, the idea is to get your heart rate up and your blood pumping. Even if you’re doing more slow and controlled strength-training exercises, focus on really using the muscles you’re trying to develop. For example, if you’re doing a bicep curl, concentrate on engaging just your bicep to raise the weight. Distraction and lack of focus makes it easy to put other muscles into use, when the goal is really to tone your bicep.
If you’ve hit a sticking point in your routine, examine what’s really happening. Doing everything right is great, but that’s only if you’re getting in everything you need. Listen to your body and evaluate how you can help make it better. If you’re still stuck, consider working with a professional trainer to help you out of your rut.
What tips have helped improve your results? Share with others!