Are your workout sessions supporting your wellbeing and body change goals?
If you gauge your workouts on how long you’re in the gym or how many calories you’ve burned, you could be missing out on optimally using your gym time, and maybe even pushing your body into an overtraining state that could lead to burnout, plateaus, or injury.
Here are some tips on how you can gauge your workouts and get the most out of them:
Stop worrying about time. Have you ever looked at the time, and thought, ‘I have to be in the gym for at least ____ amount of time in order to get something out of this workout’? A properly designed and executed session can last minutes, yet it’s easy to insist that you ‘need an hour +”. Go for 45 minutes or less, and if it is less fine. I’ve been doing Small Group workouts for years now and my workouts don’t last longer than 45 minutes, if that.
However, if you’re finishing that 45 minute or less workout and you’re not walking out feeling like you just worked out, that is a sign you may not be challenging yourself correctly.
Let me explain, when I state that you should feel like you’ve worked out your muscles, I’m talking about feeling a good burn and some muscle fatigue. If you’re breaking a sweat, that’s a plus and not unlikely. Think of the words Burn and Breathless. This way you’re not only using your cardiovascular system, but also the muscular system. Muscles create body change and fat loss!
To achieve both Breathless and Burning worthy workouts, pair strength exercises with cardio bursts, resting when you must, and resuming thereafter until you’re done.
If you get it right, a great 30-45 minute training session is ample for results, and sticking around for additional cardio isn’t necessary and may be counterproductive. See, when you work out, you are stressing the body (but a good stress) which raises cortisol the stress hormone. Working out just enough is good for our bodies and the cortisol levels. But, when you workout for too long plus too hard, and you do this frequently your cortisol becomes chronically elevated.
“Some is good, more is NOT better!”
A stressed out body is likely to hold onto fat, experience fatigue and sleep problems, and you’ll end up plateauing.
Instead focus on movement and enjoyable activities throughout the rest of your day. Walking, yoga, stretching, dancing, and NEAT all count here.
Check your recovery and how you’re feeling later in the day. Within an hour of finishing your workout any muscle burning, feelings of being breathless, and immediate workout fatigue will have diminished. Fueling up with a healthy balance of clean food amongst your day will ensure you recover well, plus managing stress and sleep. Be wary of excess fatigue, brain fog, pains, or the inability to get through your day.
Monitor your Hunger, Energy, and Cravings.
If they are out of balance, your diet or training will need some tweaking.
Keep in mind soreness, different than body aches and pains, may or may not occur up to three days after your session.
You want to feel GREAT throughout your day!
Learning to understand your body and how it feels, performing a workout that is well designed and executed well will promote your success and feelings of wellbeing and enthusiasm.
What do you think? Do your workouts support your goals and wellbeing?
Can you use some tweaking to optimize them and your results?