I know you hear me go on all the time about pushing yourself harder during your workouts and to keep yourself active to reach your goals and to feel good. While pushing yourself can certainly help you become stronger, fitter and feel good, there are a few aspects to consider that will actually stall progress or make your workouts harder (not in a good way) if you are unaware.
Three ways you could be making your progress tougher:
1. You don't stop working out. While regular exercise is super important, so is rest. I can’t stress this enough. While doing intense resistance training sessions every day might sound like a great idea, you are at risk of overtraining your body. Essentially, this means that your body hasn’t had enough time to rest and recover, so it is constantly in a state of ‘shock’. With this, you may find yourself experiencing unnecessary fatigue and being extremely irritable. Remember to break up your workout days. Stretching, foam rolling, walking and rest days are JUST as important as your resistance days!
2. You are not eating enough. One of the first things people think when they want to lose weight is to cut back on food. While reducing your calories by a small amount will increase your ability to lose weight or fat, people can fall into the trap of thinking that less food = faster results. This way of thinking can cause girls to skip meals and eat far less than what they should. What many don’t understand is that your body needs calories and nutrients to function at its best. When you eat far less than what is required (i.e. undereating), it can increase stress in your body, which can make it very difficult for your body to progress properly. So essentially, you may begin to feel exhausted because you are not fuelling your body, and then become frustrated because you are training hard at the gym while seeing zero progress. The trick is to find a way of eating that is sustainable, provides your body with the energy (calories) and nutrients it needs. This way you can reduce the amount of stress on your body and increase fat burning potential.
3. If your goal is to become gain lean muscle mass and become stronger, completing only low-intensity cardio probably won’t help you reach them. The reason for this is resistance or weight training helps to build muscle, which can increase your metabolism. This is the one thing low intensity cardio is not necessarily able to achieve. So while cardio may be a great starting point or a great way to increase fitness, on its own it is certainly not the best way to build strength or achieve that "toned" look many wish to acheive. Try adding a few resistance sessions into your weekly workout routine, and combined with cardio, you should see much more improvement!
So remember, think about your week ahead of time, plan out your workouts and meals to make sure you are getting adequate protein and macronutrients as well as sufficient rest and recovery days along with resistance training days.
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