April 11th, 2023
4 Tips to Stay on Track with Your Fitness Goals and Habits
It can be challenging to exercise when your motivation is lacking, but having the knowledge and tools to achieve your fitness goals is only half of the battle. You need a strong commitment to prioritizing a healthy lifestyle! Consistency is the most important factor behind seeing exercise results but unfortunately one of the hardest healthy habits to create.
No Energy to Exercise: 4 Tips to Stay on Track
Though it’s tempting to curl up on the couch when your battery is low, lethargy often breeds more lethargy: acting on that urge can make you feel worse. Next time you’re tempted to skip a workout, use these 4 tips to stay on the right track:
Have your muscles have enough time to recover since your last session? It’s important to remember that progress happens while at rest, not in the gym. An easy way to determine whether you have recovered or not is by checking your stats. If you can match or surpass efforts from your previous workout (i.e. reps completed and/or weight lifted), you have properly recovered. If your performance has declined, your body may need more time.
Another useful indicator of sufficient recovery time is the body’s level of soreness. Though many see DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) as a necessary sign of a good workout, this mindset can hurt long-term results and adherence to exercise.
Post-workout soreness is caused by microscopic tears and inflammation in muscle tissue: a common occurrence while aiming to improve strength and fitness. That said, while challenging your body is necessary to see results, soreness is not! Excessive soreness can hinder your performance over time, deter you from sticking to your workout plan, damage your mentality around exercise, reduce flexibility, and make you more susceptible to injury. If you place repetitive stress on your muscles without proper recovery you will only cause damage and decline. More exercise is not always better.
Pro Tip: Use a baseline test to monitor your recovery. For example, include a wall sit at the end of every warm-up before a lower-body workout. If you are not able to match the form and time of the wall sit before your last workout, your legs may need more rest. Just make sure you do your initial baseline test on fully recovered muscles!
Have you had sufficient sleep? The power of sleep is linked to a variety of health pillars including memory, reproductive health, risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity, diabetes, hypertension, immune function, stress levels, and more. Sadly, even with that laundry list of well-researched and supported information, our fast-paced world often puts a good night’s rest on the back burner.
On top of being essential to general health and wellness, adequate sleep is key to progress in the gym. Without proper rest, you lose the vital recovery time that is needed to repair and regrow muscle tissue before your next workout, as the majority of your body’s regeneration happens while asleep.
Have you had enough healthy food to fuel your workout? Imagine trying to drive your car without gas: that’s how your body feels when you train without sufficient nutrition.
Though intermittent fasting is a popular approach to weight loss, it is not a method that can work or is healthy for everyone. At Nielsen Fitness, we always suggest speaking to a registered dietician before making any drastic changes to your diet, especially if you have a pre-existing health condition. Alternatively, you can speak to one of the fantastic holistic nutritionists or fitness nutrition specialists on our team for a broader, simpler approach to healthy eating.
Generally speaking, make sure you have not skipped meals throughout the day before hitting a workout. If you like to exercise first thing in the morning, try eating a quick-digesting carbohydrate like bananas, oranges, or grapes at least thirty minutes before you train. This can provide a quick hit of energy without weighing you down or upsetting your stomach!
If you answered yes to the three questions above but are still struggling to start your workout, try regressing your exercise intensity. For example, if you don’t think you have the energy for a heavy-lifting or HIIT session, opt for yoga, a bike ride, or a long walk instead. Forcing yourself to grind through an intense workout when your body is craving gentle movement will only slow your long-term progress by increasing your risk of injury due to poor form and/or overtraining. You’ll also be left feeling drained rather than energized and could tarnish your relationship with exercise by beginning to associate your workouts with negative feelings.
If you need to tone done the intensity of your workouts, yoga can be a great option.
Reach Your Goals
At the end of the day, you should listen if your body is truly in need of rest. Many people fall victim to the myth that a workout needs to be gruelling or highly intense to be effective. In reality, when exercise feels like physical punishment or a struggle, you are far less likely to remain consistent. You should be aiming to challenge yourself by pushing your limits over a reasonable period of time. It’s about working smarter, not harder, and learning to love the process.
There’s a lot more to exercise than moving to burn calories, and it’s important to understand the science behind your training to reach your goals. If you’re still unsure of whether or not you’re taking the right approach, contact Nielsen Fitness to book a free personal training consultation. Our amazing team of qualified health and fitness professionals is waiting to help you!
PubMed: Delayed onset muscle soreness: treatment strategies and performance factors
PMC: Relationship between sleep and muscle strength among Chinese university students: a cross-sectional study
PMC: Pre-Exercise Nutrition: The Role of Macronutrients, Modified Starches and Supplements on Metabolism and Endurance Performance
healthline: 7 Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)