Are you working out and still not seeing the results you want? There are so many factors that come into play when striving to be healthy, lose weight and/or tone up. Don’t throw in the towel just yet…I stumbled upon a great article from SparkPeople that highlights eight reasons that could be to blame for the lack of noticeable results from your butt-kicking workouts. Don’t feel discouraged. Take this as an opportunity to reevaluate what you are/aren’t doing.
We all know how fantastic working out is for your health. But what happens when your workouts aren’t delivering the results you want? Or you’re not getting the results you think you should be getting? While any kind of physical activity is good, some workout plans are better than others and—as you might suspect—a lot of other factors come into play when trying to lose weight and tone up. So if your workout isn’t working for you, one of the following eight reasons could be to blame. Find out how to turn that around and get the results you deserve!
1. You’re not working hard enough.
If you have been exercising consistently for several weeks, months or years, it’s definitely time to increase the intensity and start pushing yourself. As you work out more and more, your body adapts and becomes more efficient at doing that certain activity. This means that over time, the 30-minute workout that was challenging for you three months ago doesn’t provide the same results. In fact, you’re actually burning fewer calories and your body is no longer changing if you’re still doing the same old thing.
Get-Results Remedy: In order to get results from exercise, you have to regularly push yourself beyond your fitness comfort zone. Whether you increase the frequency, intensity, or duration of your workouts, you have to switch it up. Not sure where to start? Try adding an extra day of cardio into your routine, testing out a new group exercise class at the gym, adding another loop around your walking track, or bumping up the incline and speed on the treadmill. Remember, when it comes to exercise, change is good—and that change should be challenging!
2. You’re working too hard.
Yes, you can actually work out too hard and too much. If you’re someone who goes all out in every workout, or rarely ever takes a day off to rest, you could actually be breaking your muscles down instead of building them. If you always feel tired and sore, have unexplained headaches, insomnia or just a general lack of motivation and an inability to complete your workouts, you may be overtraining.
Get-Results Remedy: Take three to five days off of exercise altogether. It may be hard for you to do this, but know that you must allow your body the time it needs to rest and recover. Get plenty of sleep each night and fill up on nutritious foods. Then slowly ease back into your routine, making shorter, less intense workouts part of your workout plan. And remember to always take one to two rest or easy active recovery days a week!
3. You haven’t changed your diet.
Exercise is awesome, but if you’re not eating a nutritious diet with the appropriate number of calories for weight management, you could be shooting yourself in the foot. Proper nutrition fuels your workouts, but eat too much and you could gain weight (or hurt your weight-loss efforts), and eat too little, and you won’t have enough energy to exercise.
Get-Results Remedy: If you can’t seem to see those muscles you’re trying to build, start logging your foods to see how many calories you’re eating a day. If you’re regularly eating more than you should (it just takes an extra 100 calories a day to gain an extra pound a month), then try choosing lower-calorie versions of your favorite foods and slowly decreasing your caloric intake until you’re at the right level! On the flip side of that, if you find that you’re eating too few calories, that can also slow your metabolism and leave you drained at the gym.
4. You’re only doing cardio. Yes, cardio is important for calorie burning, but a proper exercise plan includes cardio, strength training and flexibility. If you’re just doing cardio, then you will be burning calories and strengthening your cardiovascular system, but you won’t be really changing your body composition by building more muscle. For that you need strength training!
Get-Results Remedy: Lift weights or do body-weight exercises, such as lunges and push-ups, at least twice a week to reap the amazing benefits of resistance training; including decreased body fat, increased muscle mass and stronger bone density. For hardcore cardio fans, you can also try kettlebell training or circuit training, which is like getting a strength and cardio workout at the same time!
5. You reward yourself with food.
Do you allow yourself to have that extra piece of pizza or order that dessert when dining out because you “went to the gym” earlier? If so, you may be undoing all of that good calorie-burning with too many treats.
Get-Results Remedy: Familiarize yourself with the calorie contents of your favorite foods—and find out how many calories you’re really burning through exercise. Remember that while you may have run 3 miles at the gym, that only burned 300 calories, which isn’t nearly equivalent to the calorie count in that brownie sundae you ate later. Focus on how good exercise makes you feel rather than what it allows you to eat after; and choose foods that fuel your workouts, rather than the other way around.
6. You’re doing too much too soon.
Unfortunately, results don’t happen overnight. It takes time and consistency to get in shape over the long haul. But how many of us decide that we’re going to get in shape and then get totally gung-ho, spending hours at the gym only to find ourselves tired, sore and no thinner after a week or two?
Get-Results Remedy: Be patient. Remember that you’re creating a lifestyle change that you can sustain for the rest of your life. While there’s temptation to start off doing extra long and hard workouts, don’t. Build up to doing those tough workouts gradually as the weeks go by. Not only will this prevent injury and give your body more time to adapt and change, it will also give your life and habits time to change—permanently!
7. You’re trading sleep for workouts.
We’re all so busy these days, and sometimes the only time to work out seems to be early in the morning—even if you were up late the night before working or with a child that couldn’t sleep. But regularly swapping sleep for workouts can seriously hinder your weight-loss, as sleep triggers a number of hormones that influence cravings and a tendency for weight gain. In addition, too many sleepless nights will leave you tired and unfocused for your workouts, which means that you won’t get much from your efforts. And did you know that sleep is a much needed part of a fitness plan, since a lot of recovery and repair happens while you rest each night? Skimp on the shut-eye, and it could also lead to symptoms of overtraining.
Get-Results Remedy: Start scheduling both your sleep and your workouts—and treat both as unbreakable appointments. Exercising after an occasional sleepless night shouldn’t pose too many problems. But if you’re regularly swapping sleep for a sweat session, you could be doing more long-term harm than good. Sleep should come first—even before working out.
8. You sit all day.
Sure, you work out regularly, but what you do the rest of the day matters, too! If you put in a solid exercise session only to sit at a desk all day and lounge in a recliner watching TV at night, you may be undoing all of your hard work at the gym. Plus, there are a number of new studies that say too much sitting can be bad for our health and our waistlines—even if you exercise during the day.
Get-Results Remedy: Try to work more activity into all areas of your life by going for a walk after dinner, choosing to stand whenever possible, taking the stairs, parking your car further away and replacing your TV time for more active relaxation (like playing with your dog). Also, if your job requires you to sit in front of a computer all day, set a timer to beep every half hour or hour to remind you to stand up, stretch and do a quick lap around the office.
If you’re not seeing the results you want, you may be guilty of more than one of the mistakes above. Follow these tips to feel better, have more energy and get the workout results you want and deserve!
What do you do to get out of your fitness ruts?
In: Exercise, Fitness, Health
Even if all you do today is sit on the couch, your body is still using calories—how many is determined by your resting metabolic rate (RMR). Whether your RMR burns high or low “depends on your age, body composition and gender,” says Jeffrey A. Potteiger, Ph.D., professor of movement science at Grand Valley State University. Young people burn more than old people do, men more than women, lean folks more than flabby.
RMR x activity level = calories you can eat per day without putting on pounds
You can discover your RMR with a little easy math. First, convert your weight into kilograms (divide pounds by 2.2) and your height into centimeters (multiply inches by 2.54).
(10 x weight) + (6.25 x height) – (5 x age) – 161 = calories burned at rest
Here’s what it would look like for a 30-year-old woman who is 5 foot 4 and weighs 130 pounds:
(10 x 59) + (6.25 x 163) – (5 x 30) – 161 = an RMR of 1,298 calories
Next, multiply your RMR by the following number that best represents your activity level. That’s it! Now you know the number of calories you need to consume per day to maintain your weight.
- 1.2 for sedentary (barely any or no exercise)
- 1.375 for lightly active (easy exercise one to three days a week)
- 1.550 for moderately active (moderate exercise three to five days a week)
- 1.725 for very active (hard exercise six or seven days a week)
- 1.9 for extremely active (very hard exercise and possibly a physical job)
In: Exercise, Fitness, Health
Nausea. Seeing stars. Sucking wind. This is how you know you’re doing a Tabata workout correctly. At first glance you may wonder why anyone would intentionally do this to themselves, but there’s a reason this type of high-intensity interval training is becoming the go-to workout not just for athletes, but even celebs like Kyra Sedgewick. “It’s the hardest exercise you’ll ever do in your life,” Sedgewick says of the workout routine she dubbed “The 4-Minute Miracle.”
But it’s worth it. Doing as little as 4 minutes (or one “Tabata”) can increase your aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity, VO2 max, resting metabolic rate, and can help you burn more fat (and make you look 200-percent leaner) than a traditional 60-minute aerobic workout. That’s right—4 minutes of Tabata can get you better fitness gains than an entire hour of running on the treadmill.
The trick to getting all these benefits is the level of intensity. To do a Tabata, an exercise developed in the ’70′s for Japanese Olympians, all you have to do is pick a cardio activity such as running, jumping rope, or biking and go as hard as you can for 20 seconds. Follow that with 10 seconds of rest and repeat seven more times. And when I say “as hard as you can go,” I mean 100-percent maximal intensity. By the end of the 4 minutes you should feel like you’re going to die.
When I first started doing these, I swear I even saw a light at the end of a tunnel. I have to really talk myself into doing the workout, but seeing the very real changes in my body has made me a believer. Adding two Tabatas per week to my workouts helped me shed 7 percent body fat in one month.
A few tips to get you started: First, while you can do a Tabata interval with just about any exercise, start with one in which you’re very comfortable. Most people choose sprinting on a treadmill. Second, get a good timer no matter how good you think you are at 1-mississippi-ing, you cannot estimate when 20 seconds and 10 seconds have passed when your brain is that fuzzy. Third, get a good mantra that you can repeat in time with your footfalls for each 20-second burst. It sounds silly, but it really helps focus you on what you’re doing and not on your excruciating pain.
Have you tried Tabata training? If not, give it a try! Let us know how you like it.
Do you run with or without your headphones? I personally must have music to keep me going while running. The tempo and fast beats motivate me to push a little harder. Runner’s World has taken this debate to the next level with professionals who have strong, opposing opinions on the matter. Read below to see what they said.
“In any race or on any running path, you often see more runners wearing headphones than not. Unplugged purists think being aware of your surroundings is an elemental part of the sport, but a growing subculture of runners wouldn’t dream of taking a single step without their motivating playlists. In 2007, USATF, the governing body of distance races in the country, banned the use of portable music devices in its sanctioned events, and officials at the 2007 Twin Cities Marathon disqualified 144 runners. USATF later amended the ban—it now applies only to those vying for prizes in championships—but the clash between headphone lovers and haters continues. On the pro side is Costas Karageorghis, Ph.D., a sports psychologist, who has studied music’s positive influence on athletes. His challenger is Jim Denison, Ph.D., a sports sociologist and coach, who thinks it is best to run to the sound of your footfalls. Here, the two have it out.
RUNNER’S WORLD What’s the big deal about running with music?
PRO Music can sometimes make running feel easier. Studies find that music reduces your perception of how hard you are running by about 10 percent. An external stimulus such as music can actually block some of the internal stimuli trying to reach the brain—such as fatigue-related messages from muscles and organs. When these messages are blocked, this reduces a runner’s perception of effort, so you feel like you can run farther, faster. (The exception is at higher levels of effort—the brain involuntarily switches its attention from the external to the internal.) Music also elevates positive aspects of mood such as excitement and happiness, and reduces negative aspects such as tension, fatigue, and confusion, so it can be used pre-performance to get runners into an optimal mind-set.
CON One big problem is that listening to music can remove you from the other sounds that running produces, such as breathing and footstrike, which are essential cues. They give you feedback on your effort. Running while listening to music also removes you from the environment you’re in, which can be unsafe. You may not hear a car or person behind you. You may not hear thunder in the distance. And in races, it makes you oblivious of other runners and you can’t hear the directions being given by officials. Would you ever drive or ride a bicycle with headphones on? Not likely, because doing so reduces awareness and increases reaction time. I want those things working for me. Finally, I believe runners can become dependent on music. Eventually, you can lose a sense of what might be truly motivating to you, such as the energized feeling you get on the run.
Do some runners need music more than others?
PRO Yes, in fact, music is not effective for people who are “associators.” Serious athletes tend to be associators, which means they focus intently on internal cues such as breathing, heart rate, and muscular tension. This type of athlete tends to not derive as much benefit from external stimuli such as music. Then there are “dissociators.” Your average active person falls into this category. For these people, music can be a motivational force. Dissociators will seek it to distract them from the boredom often associated with exercise.
CON Elite runners may tend not to need external aid to overcome the so-called drudgery of running, but I don’t want to give up on Joe and Jane Recreational Runner. I don’t think everyone views running as a means to an end. We shouldn’t assume that people view running as boring and need music to get through it. Many people enjoy running and being present in the sensation of moving. You don’t have to be an elite athlete to be in tune with your body.
People say running clears their heads. How does music affect that?
CON The ability to be at peace and be calm is something we’ve lost in our culture; we’ve lost it in favor of multitasking. I would argue that listening to music—or podcasts or audio books—while running is a form of multitasking. It keeps us too plugged in and prevents us from enjoying the running experience.
PRO In the “flow state,” which is complete immersion in the task at hand, time almost seems to stand still. You’re enjoying what you are doing, you feel at one with yourself. But there’s good research showing that music can help enhance flow state during running. So it can actually be part of this holistic experience, not necessarily detached from it or a detriment to it.
When running on a treadmill, music is necessary, right?
PRO Listening to music on the treadmill is probably better than using it outside. For one thing, there’s no danger of traffic. Also, outside running comes with built-in distractions because of changing landscapes, and these external stimuli can provide a distraction and alleviate boredom. On the treadmill, you don’t have those stimuli—or far fewer of them—so music comes in very handy. Less perceived exertion, less boredom.
CON I disagree. When you run with your iPod on a treadmill, you can’t hear your footfalls or your breathing, so you’re not learning to connect those cues to your effort level. You become cut off from your running. Why should things be different on a treadmill than when you’re running outside? The same positive connection to one’s body can occur in any context of running, and in my opinion that is always better than having music interfere with the sensations of running and movement. I watch athletes all the time running on the treadmill and outside. Regardless of where they are, it’s always the case that when they listen to music, they’re almost robotic. They put on the music just to get through their workouts. If you see people working with no music, you see a much different approach. There’s better focus.
So how can runners use music to their best advantage?
PRO The benefits from music tend to occur at low to moderate running intensities. I would say it’s best to use on your easy running days. We’ve also been investigating the synchronous application of music. This is where an athlete consciously ties in his or her stride rate to the rhythm of music. This can actually result in more efficient oxygen use during running. To do synchronous running, you figure out your stride rate for your pace, then find music with beats that are slightly above that stride rate—one or two beats per minute higher than your normal stride rate should do it (thebpmbook.com; ez-tracks.com). We’ve also found that the optimal method is generally two sessions with music for one session without. If you use music for every workout, you can become desensitized to it or rely on it in races.
This is certainly an open debate that has no right or wrong answer. I am intrigued to see what people prefer though…do you run with or without music? Has this article altered your stance? I personally am going to give running without music a try.
Source: Runner’s World
Image from: h2O audio
With the colder weather, you probably don’t think about hydration as much as you do in the summer. But whether or not you work out indoors or out—or whether you sweat a lot or don’t—proper hydration is essential this time of year.
In fact, if you’re not properly hydrated, it can cause your heart to have to work harder and it can decrease your energy levels, making you feel weaker, says Mitzi Dulan, registered dietitian, sports nutritionist and co-author of The All-Pro Diet. So if you want to optimize your winter workouts, read on for our top five tips for proper winter hydration!
Top 5 Winter Hydration Tips for Workouts
1. Know about the risk of winter dehydration. Although women’s overall hydration needs don’t significantly change throughout the year, it’s actually easier to become dehydrated in winter because the thirst response reacts differently when we are not sweating in the heat and are instead exposed to cold weather, Dulan says. “Since we are not sweating or feeling as thirsty, we don’t drink as much and therefore don’t drink enough to be well hydrated,” she says.
2. Hydrate the same as you would any other time of the year. No matter if you’re working out indoors or outdoors this winter, your hydration needs are similar. So be sure to drink just as much water as you do during the summer or other times of year, Dulan recommends.
3. Weigh yourself before and after workouts to see how much to drink. Not sure how much to drink to prevent winter dehydration? One easy way to calculate your hydration needs is to weigh yourself before exercise. Dulan recommends that women drink about 16 ounces two hours before exercise, 8 ounces 15 minutes prior to exercise, and another 8 ounces every 10 to 15 minutes during exercise. Then, after your workout, weigh yourself again. For every pound of weight lost, drink about 20 ounces of water, she says.
4. Drink warm beverages to stay hydrated — and warm. When it’s cold outside, it can be challenging — and chilling — to drink ice-cold water. So if you have trouble drinking cooler beverages this time of year, Dulan suggests warming up with warm water or green tea. Both are calorie-free and hydrating!
5. Set a water goal. In order to keep winter dehydration at bay, it’s a good idea to set a goal to drink water throughout the day, in addition to before, during and after workouts. “I bought all of my clients a 24-ounce re-useable tumbler with a straw, and it is great to help them keep track of how much they are drinking,” Dulan says. “I fill it up in the morning as I start my day, and know I need to get at least three full glasses each day.”
Do you drink less water in the winter than you do in the summer? Will you start drinking more water for your next winter workout? Share your thoughts!
Source: Shape Magazine
Image Source: NotARunner
Family, friends, shopping, parties, endless eating, travel time, etc. All of that may have made it difficult to squeeze your workout in this weekend. The holidays tend to overtake our normal routines. You may even feel a little stressed about stepping on the scale in fear that you gained a few pounds—don’t be, I am sure the damage is not as bad as you think it is. Just do what you have to in order to get back on track, TODAY!
It is a funny mental battle to get back into your normal routine after a holiday weekend. Don’t let one weekend wreck your health and fitness goals though! Here are a few tips to get back on track!
1- Ditch the Guilt! Ditch it as fast as you can! You may have eaten a little less healthy than you normally would, but don’t beat yourself up about it. Don’t beat yourself up because you missed your workouts for a few days. Feeling guilty about overindulging is wasted energy and can strain your motivation when all you are thinking about is negative things. Use your mind and think positive thoughts that will help motivate you to get back on track and give you a burst of energy to lace up your running shoes again.
2- Dispose of empty calorie sources: Every office and home is filled with lots of goodies that have been delivered in lieu of the holidays. Anywhere you go you are surrounded by empty calories filled with fat and sugar. Enjoy a small bit of it and then throw it away or give it to someone else. I know, this may seem wasteful, but you’d rather not have it on your hips, right?
3- Don’t get caught in this slump: It is strange how just a few days off track can wreak havoc on your healthy lifestyle! Don’t get caught in a slump. Pull yourself out of this over-eating, sedentary slump and get moving.
4- Do your favorite workout and eat one healthy meal: As easy as it is to get off track, it is just as easy to get back ON track! Cook up your favorite HEALTHY meal, slip into your favorite gym outfit and do your favorite workout! That is all it takes. The first workout will be the hardest, but once you’ve jumped that hurdle you will be craving to work up another sweat as soon as possible.
What helps you get back on track after a holiday weekend?
Image from Rodale
Written by Amy Jensen
In: Exercise, Fitness, Health
A person without a goal is like a ship without a rudder.
Happy New Year to you from ProForm!! We thought you could use a little help setting and accomplishing your goals for 2012, so we have shared 10 tips to help you be successful!
I have a friend who is intensely driven and motivated by the goals she sets. Each year for her birthday she sets 20 something goals that match the number of years she is turning. She gives herself one whole year to accomplish each of those goals. She is only turning 25 this year, but that is still quite a “to-do” list. And trust me, she doesn’t just put things like, “wash my dog” or “workout 3 times a week”—she puts things like “go toMount Rushmore!” “go toEurope!” “run a marathon…or 2.” It is insane, BUT soooo cool! I want to be more goal-oriented. I think most of us do. It just takes some time, thought and planning…which at times may be more than any of us have to give, but I know if we do it we will be so proud later on, down the road when we look back on our life and ask ourselves, “what have I done?” We will have lists and lists of the things we have done. Trust me, we are already accomplishing many of the things that we WANT to do, but seeing that “thing” on a list and getting the chance to check it off will feel so good and almost makes it more memorable because we wrote it down.
With the New Year here you can set those resolutions and use our tips to make a plan to be successful with your goals for 2012! Here are ten tips to help you get started and on your way to success!
1-Brainstorm: Take the time to really think about what you want to achieve. Take the time to prioritize and think about the things that really matter.
2-WRITE: Just start writing. You may be stuck at first, but as you begin you will think of many things that you would like to accomplish.
3-Be realistic: Set goals that are realistic and attainable. I don’t mean to say that you shouldn’t shoot for the moon, but start out with things that are challenging, but that are also attainable. Stating, “I will win the million-dollar lottery,” is not a realistic goal because I have no control over that. Set things that are within your control and work to obtain them.
4-Post your goals where you will you see them: No more mental check-lists. You will be far more successful if you, first, write your goals down, and second, post them where they are seen on a regular basis.
5-Be specific: I sometimes steer clear of writing goals that are too specific because I already have a fear that I won’t accomplish it. I know, I am setting myself up for failure before I even begin. But, the more specific the better. When you have a clear and specific goal you can better set your plan to accomplish that goal. Know what you want and do after it.
6-Tell a friend or family member: After you have set your goals, share them with friends and family. There is something so motivating when you have others to support you along the way. You also have someone other than yourself that you are going to be held accountable to.
7-Be diligent: Most of the good things in life require patience, diligence and perseverance. “There is no short term pay out for many things and showing diligence will develop one’s self into a better more disciplined character.”
8-Believe: Believe in yourself and the things you are capable of! Having a positive mindset is half the battle when accomplishing a goal. Don’t let your own self keep you from accomplishing your goals.
9-You never fail until you quit: Don’t give up because that is when you fail. If you give your whole heart and strive to obtain your goal and still don’t quite make it, you didn’t fail! I promise you are closer to that goal than when you started. Don’t be afraid to try again.
10-Find ways to measure your success: Every inch you move closer to obtaining that goal equals success. Be aware of the progress you are making along the way.
We wish you all the best as you set, work and accomplish your own goals. You can do it! Happy goal setting and Happy New Year!!
Do you set goals? If so, do you feel like you accomplish more when you write it down? What helps you stick to your goals?
Written by Amy Jensen