Training smarter and not necessarily harder may be the key to achieving your optimal fitness goals. Do you ever feel you are burning the candle from both ends? With so much responsibility, some days you just don’t feel like working out. We’ve all been there…you wake up and the last thing on your mind is hitting the gym. You push it off and go through the motions until you finally have to force yourself to put on your sneakers and go. You’re busy, lazy, tired, sick, stressed or injured… it happens to all of us. Ultimately, it is ok to take a day off and learning to read and adhere to your body’s cues is a very important part of getting fit and staying that way. Conversely, not listening to your body’s cues can be detrimental and even the cause of you hitting a plateau or incurring an injury.
Don’t let your efforts of eating well and exercising be in vain, be sure you are training smart! Here’s a few suggestions to help you train smart and to maximize what you are putting into your workouts.
Listen to your body
Learning to decipher when you need to take a break and let your body recover is the utmost important and often the hardest for many. Accepting that it’s ok to take a day off is far better than having to take a week off because you ran yourself into the ground. Knowing when its time to tap out doesn’t make you a wimp, it makes you smart and your body will thank you. You are in it for the long haul and you only have one body, so care for it accordingly.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Your body’s time to rest, rebuild and recover is while you sleep each night. If you aren’t getting between 7-8 solid hours of sleep, your body can’t repair the muscle properly in an effort to create more muscle mass. Many people stay up late checking emails and surfing the web, so shut off your mobile devices and make sleep a top priority.
Is more really better? Feeling fatigued, achy joints, more injuries and slower recovery? You may be overtraining, so heed the warning signs now before you really do something to take yourself out of the game. Not allowing your body ample rest between workouts or training through injury instead of resting can create issues ranging from muscle strains, tears, torn tendons, decreased performance and hitting plateaus to name just a few. Assess your workouts, identify the problem and make some changes to really switch it up and take the pressure off the abused areas. If it means you take some time off, it will be worth it in the long run.
Eat, Eat, Eat!
Maybe your goal is to drop a few pounds, so you decide to do excessive amounts of cardio and severely cut calories. Here’s my though, NO!!! Guess what else you are dropping? Muscle! The very last thing you want to lose is muscle because as far as weight loss and calorie burning is concerned, muscle is on your side. Reserve precious muscle you have worked so hard to acquire by feeding it plenty of nutrient dense calories. It is very important to feed your body enough or it will slow your metabolism and end up holding onto more weight. Talk about a plan that is backfiring! If you’re not certain what you should be consuming, consult a nutritionist and work together to create a healthy meal plan that will fuel your goals.
Food is often not enough. Supplements are excellent to aid in muscle recovery, growth, fat loss, joint health and more. Vitamins, BCAA’s, omega 3 fats, glutamine and glucosamine can be very helpful to incorporate into your already healthy diet. Again, consult a nutritionist to determine where you may be deficient and where supplementation may be useful.