We’ve all probably been there at one point or another. You’ve been working out regularly, eating healthier, and seemingly doing all of the right things, yet you’re just not seeing the kinds of results that you want. Whether your goal is to lose weight, improve muscle strength, or simply maintain a lean, toned body, you may be hindering your own progress if you’re guilty of these workout regimen faux pas.
But there is a silver lining. Sometimes, all it takes is some minor tweaking of your exercise and lifestyle habits for you to see some big improvements in the way your body responds to your workouts. If this sounds like you, take a closer look at these areas and see where you might be able to improve.
1. Lack of Variety
We all have our favorite exercises, and there’s certainly no reason why you shouldn’t have fun while you’re working out. But if you’re doing the same exercise over and over again, eventually, your body is going to adapt to that level and type of physical activity, and your results will plateau.
Mixing up your workouts can add variety to the muscle groups that you’re targeting, essentially keeping your body “on its toes” so that it doesn’t get too accustomed to doing the same old thing. Of course, that’s not to say that you have to drop Zumba altogether, if that’s what you love doing. It just means that you might want to pepper in some weight training or stair climbing to shake up your normal routine.
2. You’re Not Challenging Yourself
Even if you’re working out for long periods of time, if the intensity of your routine is very low, you’re probably not going to get the most out of all your hard work. A more effective approach might be to dedicate 30 minutes instead of an hour to exercising, but give it your all for the duration of your gym time (Journal of Obesity).
Your body will quickly adapt to your routine, so if light jogging at a modest pace used to yield results, flatlining at this level of intensity will prevent you from continuing to see that same progress. Don’t be afraid to push yourself (within reason, of course) to continue advancing and progressing.
3. You’re Overcompensating with Calorie Intake
While it is true that you need to fuel your body with enough nutrients to continue performing at an optimum level, you don’t want to fall into the trap of overcompensating for your calories burned with excessive calorie intake.
All too often, even the most dedicated of us can end up justifying eating that second slice of cheesecake because we’ve burned 800 calories during a workout. While you should by no means limit your calorie intake to an unhealthy level, you also shouldn’t overindulge in “cheat” foods just because you’ve had a successful workout.
Instead, fuel your body with healthy snacks like fruits, veggies and even nutrient-packed smoothies to keep your “gains” on track.
4. Poor Sleep Habits
Most people recognize the importance of getting regular exercise and following a healthy diet, but many people tend to forget about the third ingredient in the trifecta of optimal health and fitness: sleep. If you’re not getting enough (or are getting poor quality) sleep, your body isn’t going to have the opportunity to properly rest and repair itself. Sleep is important for so many functions, and establishing great sleep habits is one of the best ways to boost your overall health and your athletic performance.
Healthy sleep habits include:
- Getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night (National Sleep Foundation)
- Sleeping in a quiet, dark, and cool room
- Ditching cellphones, tablets, and laptops before bed (British Medical Journal)
5. Your Expectations Aren’t Realistic
Sometimes, it’s not necessarily that your results are off, as much as your expectations for those results are a little out of whack. It’s so important to set realistic goals for yourself so that you can celebrate each mini victory along the way and push yourself to continue to improve. If you set out to achieve too much too soon, you’re likely to feel discouraged when it becomes impossible to meet these unrealistic expectations.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, and set yourself up for success.
The Bottom Line
Above all, establishing and maintaining healthy lifestyle habits can not only help you to achieve your fitness goals, but it can also greatly improve your outlook on life and your overall health. If you’re interested in learning how to continue on the path towards success and building a better YOU, consider becoming a part of the Women’s Health Conversations 2016 Conference to be held in Pittsburgh, PA. Here, women from all across the country will discuss a wide range of topics related to women’s health, aimed at empowering, educating, and entertaining women. Take a look at the registration page for more details on how to join the conversation.