You’ve been working out for a while now, and are well on your way to reaching your bikini body goals. Well done! If you’ve noticed though that you seem to have hit a bit of a slump and aren’t making as much progress as you used to be, it may be time to re-evaluate your fitness habits. Here’s five things you may be doing that are stalling your progress:
1. Doing the same thing every day – While it’s true that any exercise is good, and that something is better than nothing, if you are just repeating the same exercise every day in the same way, you may not be getting as much from your workout as you could be. Have you ever noticed how after a while of running the same route, it no longer leaves you out of breath? Our bodies become very efficient at performing the same task over and over and they don’t have to work as hard to do it. Good for us in that it shows improvement and that we are getting better, but bad in that it doesn’t yield the same effects in terms of improving your fitness. When something becomes easy, mix it up and make it hard again. In the case of running, try trail running, speedwork or hills, or better yet, try some cross training and try a completely different exercise
2. Making it a non-priority on your to do list – If your workout is always the thing that is getting pushed to the bottom of your to do list, or left in the pile of things not ticked off, it may be time to take a look at your priorities. Hint: your workout should be one of them. Schedule it in as if it were a meeting or appointment and then don’t miss it. If the excuse you’re thinking of wouldn’t work on your boss, it won’t work for skipping your run either. Get in the habit of making it a priority and it will become a part of your day you just can’t go without.
3. Rushing – So you made it to the gym, but really, you have 10 000 other things that have to be accomplished tonight, so you’ll just cut your workout down to half an hour. Just this once. And then it happens again and again and again. Rushing through your workout means you aren’t getting in adequate exercise time and you aren’t going to see the results you want as fast. Think of it this way: if you cut your workout in half every day for a week, that’s an extra week added on to your journey. Do this too often, and you can see why the pounds aren’t coming off quite as fast as you had hoped. Part of setting your workout as a priority, is setting adequate time to do it, so you can ensure you have enough time in the gym to reach your goals.
4. Distraction – Texting, sending snapchats and scrolling through your Facebook feed while standing on the treadmill with the TV on in front of you. Sound familiar? If so, it sounds like you may be only making it through your workout because of the distraction, not because of your exerted effort. Make your time at the gym, or your run specifically for that purpose. Focus on making the most of your workout, working out hard and not letting other things distract you from reaching your full potential. Your workout success and outcome will only be as strong as what you put into it!
5. Poor post workout fuel – Whether you fail to fuel at all, you refuel with way more calories than necessary, or you just don’t make healthy post-workout food choices, it’s going to have a negative impact on your fitness efforts. The idea of refueling is to give your body the calories it needs for recovery to prevent you from getting injured or suffering from overtraining, and to have the protein and nutrients necessary to build up your muscles from the strengthening you just engaged in. That being said, if you didn’t do a strength workout, or other high intensity workout for an extended period of time, you probably don’t need to take protein. Likewise, if you didn’t workout for much more than 30 minutes, you don’t need a huge post workout snack. When you are trying to lose weight, consuming more calories than what you burned will simply negate your efforts. Failing to consume any calories after a workout of an hour or more could have the opposite effect and send your body into starvation mode, and certainly won’t help you build your muscles. Choose healthy, whole foods that are low in fat, nutrient dense and that combine a carbohydrate and protein. Have a look at these energy bites or protein bars for a good place to start if you are looking for ideas!