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We have all been there: dragging our feet to the gym and trying to get in a decent workout for an hour or so, but somehow always falling short.
The most common excuses are a hard day at work or not getting enough sleep. Every now and then those excuses are true and we do need a day off, but there are times when we use the excuse and truthfully it’s just us being lazy. That’s when things start going downhill. We miss a day, then a week and then we rarely workout.
When we get back to it, the uphill battle starts in order to get back to where we were. By spicing up your workouts you can push those excuses away and avoid losing your hard-won progress.
Imagine that you are coming home from work. You promised yourself that you would hit the gym on the way home, but you’re feeling run down and tired. One common mistake I’ve seen at my gym is individuals slamming back energy drinks.
While that much sugar will give you a momentary surge of energy, it’s a substance that will never be any good for you. Your energy will simply die after a short time. There are plenty of foods that you can snack on to give you a more sustainable boost.
One of my favorite energy snacks is nuts, mostly pistachios. Nuts are a healthy source of energy, filled with nutrients and fats to get you through your slump. The fat is monounsaturated, which is the good kind of fat, though moderation is always a good idea. Do some research and find out what works for you. There are a variety of energy food options available in addition to nuts; bananas, apples, and yogurt are all good choices.
If you feel like you’re dragging throughought the day, it may not be a good idea to workout. It is okay to take a day off and catch up on rest. Your body will probably thank you later. But you do want to get back to it the following day, even if it’s only for 15 or 30 minutes. By giving yourself a day to recuperate you may avoid going overboard by working out too hard, or even not making the trip worth it by quitting after a few minutes. Just remember not to get into a habit of skipping days.
Variation is also a good idea when it comes to your workout. We spice up everything in our lives, so why not our workouts? I recall reading an interview with Jason Statham in which he talked about switching up his workout routine all the time: run one day, play squash on another day; and on another lift weights.
The key is varying your workouts to constantly work other muscles that can get missed out by standard exercises. This also gives the different muscles a chance to heal between workouts. My own preference is to run one day, lift another and hit the punching bag the next.
I will also include my wife in the workouts every now and then to make it even more exciting. Nothing like throwing on the gloves and training together. It adds more unpredictability to the workout and you may work some muscles you never knew you had.
Heavy or Light
Another question a lot of people have is whether they should go light or heavy for the day. The answer is easy. How do you feel right at that moment? I have had days where I would plan to lift only light, but once I got to the gym I went heavy. Afterwards, it felt like just what I needed. Do you have aching or trembling muscles? Opt for light weights, or perhaps a brisk jog. If you listen to your body you can never go wrong.
Slow or Fast
How fast should you workout? Should you do circuit training or individual exercises with rests in between? I enjoy circuit training as much as the next person, however, I like the normal workouts a bit more. I always watch my heart rate to make sure it never falls under my targeted pace. Heart rate is one of the biggest keys to a great workout.
There is no problem with determining that you’ll do upper body one day, lower body the next day and then go for a run. Sometimes having a plan just makes the idea of going to the gym feel like a chore. I tend to go in without a plan and just start working out.
Mixing it up will give a sense of excitement. I have never liked saying that I have to do something at a certain time. Remember one thing: cardio and abdominal workouts you can do every day, but weight lifting you should do every other day in order to give your muscles a day’s rest in between to heal. This will help build your endurance.
I am only going to touch on this a little bit. Scales are evil. People run their workouts by these little torture devices and only feel worse after they step on it. As I have said throughout this article, go by how you feel. Not many people will look like a supermodel or a muscle man. Here is a tip: before your next workout, go get a bat and destroy the scale.
Many people think of yoga as a lot of deep breathing and stretching. I know that is what I thought before my wife got me started. My first experiences with it left me sore and not wanting to try it again, but I soon began to see benefits. Since starting the practice, my endurance and agility has greatly increased. I find that I am not as sore from my workouts as I was before. It may not end up being for you, but it is worth a shot. It helps the blood begin to flow and, believe it or not, it does melts away stress.
Yoga can be as much of a workout as going to the gym and pounding out a bunch of reps. I think the best part about it is that you can do it at home because you do not need a lot of equipment. A DVD player and carpeted area will get you started nicely.
We all use the excuse of having no time in the day to workout. I am no exception. All I have to say is: bull crap. Unless you are working a 14-hour day and only have enough time to come home and eat before going to sleep, you have time to workout.
Instead of coming home and watching TV, take that time to do a short workout. Even if it is only thirty minutes it will help. Sometimes we all get busy with chores (I have my fair share), however, there is a solution: do a little each day and spread it out. I am sure you can find three total hours sometime during the week to workout. Quit making excuses and get out there.
Once you get yourself into a routine of doing some type of workout daily, it will become second nature and you won’t have a problem keeping the habit. In fact, on a day that you do skip a workout, you will miss it. It is hard to believe, but true.
Try to plan to not make a plan. Just enjoy your workout. As long as you make it fun, you will come back for more and more. There is no shame in taking a day off to reward yourself or recuperate as long as you do not turn it into a habit. You will be surprised how much better you feel and how much more energy you have once you get started. By working out daily, you will be up for more challenges that come your way.
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