Don’t get stuck in a fitness rut and then get demoralised when you don’t get results. Here are five ways to keep your body challenged and make progress. Words: Louise Pyne.
1. Re-think your workout
Sticking to the same discipline kills motivation and stalls progress. ‘If you love running or cycling, combining it with weights and yoga can also really help your overall fitness. It also increases performance by strengthening your muscles,’ explains personal trainer Chloe Bowler (chloebowler.com). Whatever sport you’re into, try to complement it with another form of fitness to bump up training results.
2. Eat to complement training
A balanced diet can enhance the effort that you put in at the gym. ‘The timing of your meals, the nutrient content, and portion size can all help increase your overall fitness. Keep a food and drink diary for two weeks and make a note of how you feel, your energy levels, and your workout performance levels,’ advises Chloe. Don’t forget to eat a small snack an hour or so before working out such as banana on toast and fuel up after exercise with a combination of protein and carbs within 50 minutes of your workout.
3. Schedule in rest days
Allocating rest days can help to ramp up results. ‘When we constantly push our bodies, fitness levels can plateau, muscles fatigue and performance can drop. I really believe that taking a few days off can really benefit the body, not only to rest the muscles but to reset the levels. When you start again you will feel fresh and ready to go,’ shares Chloe.
4. Check-in with yourself
So often we run our lives on autopilot, but it’s important to take time out to reflect on how you are feeling. If you’re not seeing results, then stop and think. Are you pushing yourself too hard? Perhaps you’re training regardless of an injury, or maybe your sleep routine is all over the place? ‘Let’s not forget that sleep is so important to the functioning of body and mind. Those sleeping hours are when our muscles rebuild, our joints can rest, and our minds can switch off,’ says Chloe.
5. Set realistic goals
Setting goals will help you to push your training to the next level. Your goal might be to beat your PB during a 10k run or holding a handstand in your weekly yoga class. The important thing is to make sure that your goals are challenging, but not too far-fetched. ‘You could also set a SMART goal (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-framed), with time, reps, distance or weights and it might help you to then assess your level of fitness, and adjust your workout plan for the week ahead, recommends Chloe.