If you answer “No” to one or more of these questions, you may not be getting the most out of your workout.
You want to see results. Maybe it’s weight loss, muscle growth, lowered blood pressure, or reduced stress. Whatever your reasons for exercise, it can be frustrating and depressing when your hard work doesn’t seem to pay off. A lack of results may boil down to this: your workout is too easy. When you’re not challenging yourself, your body gets comfortable where it is and adapts.
It can be hard to know whether you’re exercising at an intensity necessary for the benefits you desire—especially since so many people overestimate their workout’s intensity without knowing it. It may be time to reevaluate your workout if you answer “no” to any of the following five questions.
Did You Break a Sweat?
Even if you’re exercising outdoors in the winter it’s normal to sweat during a challenging workout. If you consistently feel dry and fresh after your workouts, chances are you’re not pushing yourself hard enough. It’s true that some people tend to sweat less than others no matter what the temperature, but try to pick up the pace to the extent your body gets heated to the point it needs to cool itself through sweating.
Do You Try New Workouts?
Doing the same workout day in and day out will cause your body to adapt. You may love riding a stationary bike but after a while your body reaches a place where it’s no longer challenged and your calorie burn slows down. Switch things up every other day so your exercise program includes cardio exercise, strength-training activities, and flexibility exercises. Then every month try a new type of exercise. Instead of the stationary bike, try the treadmill or go swimming.
Do You Have Trouble Finishing All Your Sets and Reps?
Many of the benefits offered by strength training come from gradually increasing the amount of stress placed on your muscles. When you’re able to lift weights with little or no difficulty, your muscles aren’t getting much of a workout. If you’re able to lift your last rep as effortlessly as your first, take it as a sign that your workout is too easy. As you lift, use enough weight to make it a struggle to complete your reps, but not to the point your form is compromised.
Do You Feel Winded When You Talk During Exercise?
Exercising with a partner is a great way to keep you accountable and enjoy your workout. But if you find yourself able to talk comfortably the entire workout, you’re likely not pushing yourself hard enough. The amount you’re able to talk is one way to gage the intensity of your workout. At a moderate level it’s possible to carry on a conversation but only in chopped up, small phrases as you’re trying to catch your breath. In the midst of high-intensity exercise, speaking more than a word or two won’t be possible.
Do You Exercise Without Distractions?
Watching television or reading a book while jogging on the treadmill may help you exercise longer and make your workout more enjoyable, but distractions also have the potential to keep you from focusing on the challenge at hand. Make sure you’re not too engrossed in your entertainment to the point it prevents you from reaching your full potential.
What’s Your Answer?
In light of these questions, do you need to examine your fitness goals and the path you’re taking to reach them? Work with your trainer to design a workout program that’s challenging enough for you to see the results you’re looking for.
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