Ruthie Hawkins, BlackDoctor.org Contributor
Made a new year’s resolution to get it right, get it tight? Exhausting yourself in the gym and not getting the results you expected? Here’s how performing challenging (daily) workout regimens without appropriate rest and recovery are sabotaging your health goals.
1. You’re not pushing yourself.
If you’re able to breeze through your workout with a smile on your face, chances are, you’re not pushing yourself. While you may be thinking, “well how is slacking sabotaging my fitness goals?” Fact of the matter is, lazily hitting the gym doesn’t reap any rewards. In fact, you may find yourself frequenting the gym 5, 6, or 7 days of the week, which is entirely too much. This is called overtraining – which occurs when there’s an imbalance between how often and how intensely you exercise in comparison to how much time you allow for recovery.
2. You’re doing what’s trendy.
There comes a time when following the crowd and mimicking what they do to reach your fitness goals can actually be troublesome. While popular trainers (on social media) often share great video clips, recipes and inspiration, what a lot of people miss here, is that what works for one may not work for another.
Stop following the crowd. Get familiar with your body so that you can identify what works for YOU, may it be a specific diet plan, workout regimen or both. Unsure where to begin? Get with a doctor, or even a trainer who can educate you on your body type, composition, problem areas and ways to address them, based on your sex, age, height and underlying health issues.
3. You don’t prepare yourself.
That means doing things like stretching and hydrating. Better flexibility will improve your performance and decrease your risk of injuries, by ensuring your joints maintain their full range of motion, enabling your muscles to work more effectively. Stretching also increases blood flow to major muscle groups.
Meanwhile, hydrating regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints. In other words, during exercise, your muscles generate heat, which increases body temperature. As this occurs, the body reacts by sweating. The sweat then evaporates and the body cools.
4. You’re not allowing your body to get the rest and recovery it needs.
Though participation in regular exercise has been shown to help us better manage stress, reduce anxiety, depression, and elevate mood. In the event you’re not giving your body sufficient time to rest and recover, it cannot repair. According to the Mayo Clinic, recovery is both chemical and physical and involves hydration, nutrition, stretching, self-myofascial release, stress management, and compression.
According to many fitness experts, you need 1-2 days following vigorous activity each week for optimal physical and mental recovery. Simply schedule rest days into your fitness program. Or, you can alternate activities based on intensity. For example, 30-45 minutes of circuit training one day and 30 minutes cardio (running, hiking, walking, swimming, biking) the next. This should reduce the likelihood you’re overtraining.health goals