6 things you may be doing that are sabotaging your workouts!
Making the time to exercise and put your body under stress is key for weight loss and/or muscle gain, but certain foods or activities in the lead up to your workouts might be affecting your output, results and performance.
Self-sabotage with negative talk.
Combat self-sabotage with mindfulness!
There is nothing worse when you are lacking the motivation to get out of bed, or walk into your PT session than telling yourself you "I don't want to train". The mind is the most powerful facet we have and what you tell yourself is what you believe, so if you are filling your head with negative things like "I can't be bothered training today", then you are going to end up on struggle street.
So on the days you don't actually feel like training, remind yourself how good you feel AFTER you have completed that PT session or group class. Another little trick is to arrive 15 minutes early and do some light cardio or dynamic stretching to get your body moving so your body starts to let those endorphins kick in before you train. You will be amazed at how much better you start to feel once the heart starts pumping those happy endorphins around the body!
The next time that self-sabotage occurs and you are thinking of skipping that exercise session or eating that burger and fries - ask yourself one simple question:
When you gave in previously, did the outcome ever leave you BETTER off than before? Or do you feel worse off after? The answer is probably the latter. Remember: the only work out we regret is the one we missed!
Not consuming enough energy from food
The timing of your pre-and post-workout meals matter!
Most people don't know this but (depending on your health and fitness goal) that what you eat the day before and day of your workout can affect your energy and performance?
If you are going for a long run then it's not recommended that you head out on an empty stomach, like you would for fasted cardio if you were working towards a weight loss goal.
In fact, you will need a high carbohydrate snack around 30-45 minutes before your run as it provides two very important functions:
1. It gives you some blood sugar which means your muscles have glucose in them for energy.
2. Having food in your body helps to keep your GI system in working order during the run, which in turn recruits blood flow for digestion meaning your body will be able to retain blood flow when the shunting process from running occurs.
Getting up early and eating about one to two hours before the run is always a good idea as well.
Great snacks pre-run are: a banana, dates, watermelon, and pineapple as they have a high GI. As a general rule, low fat and low-fibre foods are the safer choices for avid runners.
Similarly, the same rule applies after a heavy weight session, your body needs amino acids found in protein for muscle recovery. You will often hear the term the "anabolic window" which is the period of time after your workout. This leads to the best recovery as the primary goal is to provide your body with an immediate fuel source to prevent it from breaking down your muscle tissue for energy. This time frame usually ranges from 45 - 1 hour post workout which is why it is recommended that you consume a high protein snack after a heavy weight session.
Quick and easy protein choices: A Vision Whey Protein Powder Shake, an omelette or eggs, cottage cheese, Greek yoghurt, lean chicken or salmon, or a handful of nuts.
Exercising on a full stomach
Ever noticed right before you exercise if you feel lean and light, you tend to want to train harder, as opposed to feeling full, heavy and sluggish? That is because while you exercise your body is working hard to circulate blood to your organs and muscles. Bodily functions like digestion and urination slows down when you exercise as blood flow is restricted to these organs, so if you have ever suffered from feeling sick or a stitch this could be why.
Subsequently you want to avoid a big heavy meal right before a workout and opt for a light and easily digestible snack like an apple or banana!
Running or hard cardio before weights
Your weight sessions are designed to overload your muscles so they become stronger and in turn help to build your metabolism so you can burn more fat, so when you smash yourself for 30 minutes with hard cardio before your weight session it can actually undo your training because you have already pre-exhausted your muscles. Your energy will already be decreased which means your output with lifting a heavier weight will be limited.
Instead, try a light warm up of 2 mins on some cardio equipment followed by some dynamic movement or mobility.
Not getting enough recovery
Factoring in a "rest day" into your week is equally as important as following your training plan as our bodies require rest to build strength, endurance and muscle.
Resistance training breaks your body tissue down so having rest days are important as they allow your body time to rebuild those muscles, nerves, bones and connective tissue.
Exercise is putting your body under stress so if you continually pound the pavement or hit the weights without giving your body the time it needs to recover, eventually your immune system can't play catch up and you will inevitably become sick or injured.
Five signs you need a rest day:
1. Your body is always sore
Depending on the muscle group, you should always give your muscles 24-48 hours to recover between training sessions. If you are still sore you may be over training.
2. You are constantly tired or moody
Moodiness or feeling low and fatigued are also signs you might be over training. Exercise releases endorphins that make us feel happy but if over training can also increase the stress hormone Cortisol. If cortisol levels remain high for extended periods it can take a toll on mental health.
3. You heart rate is abnormal
One of the best ways to gauge if you are overtraining is to check your heart rate when you wake up in the morning. If it is above your normal beats per minute, then your body is not fully recovered enough to undertake another hard work out.
4. You are sore and stiff all the time
If your body doesn't have proper mobility or feels sore and restricted and you continue to repeat the same movement pattern (i.e. running or lifting weights) then this will cause dysfunction in your movement pattern and will eventually cause injury.
5. Your urine is a dark yellow colour
Good hydration is key to good health but did you know you actually cannot rehydrate your body during exercise? It takes up to 45 minutes after your session for your body to recover from even mild hydration. Have you ever had a bad headache after a sweat session - it's probably because your body needs water!
Not tracking your food
The saying is true… "you cannot out run a bad diet"!
It will not matter how much cardio you do, for a weight loss goal the formula for weight loss is simple - INPUT VS OUTPUT. If you overconsume poor quality foods with low nutritional value and do not exercise, you will gain weight.
If you need that accountability to hitting your macronutrient goals and you are not tracking your food then the onus is on you. What gets measured, gets managed!
If you want to manage your weight or lose weight then you need to also measure the 2 factors that control or influence your weight - your eating and exercise habits!
Generally speaking, when people track their food intake they usually eat less and in-turn lose weight. The same goes for tracking exercise, when people track their exercise habits, they exercise more and tend to enjoy it more.
Tracking your food and exercise will give you immediate feedback on your progress towards your goals.
We are all time poor and want the biggest bang for our buck when it comes to our workouts, so acknowledging and actioning any of the above could just be the difference being able to smash out that last set or reps in your next weight session, achieving that bigger loss on the scales or simply the result (or lack of) that you are seeing in the mirror.
Make every training session count and make it effective!