6 Reasons Why Your Workout Feels Freakin’ Miserable
Every day you bound into the gym and tackle your workout with zest. You love this! Oh no? Yeah, we feel the same way.
Maybe you feel like a spandex-clad slug once in a while—or it’s becoming more and more common.
Don’t just drag yourself to the gym and hope something has changed, though. Here’s how to ID the problem—and make the tweaks that will leave you feeling energetic (and pumped to sweat) again.
You're not finishing it right
Do you end spin by hopping off the bike and heading to the locker room? Stop your lifting session and turn in for a post-workout protein smoothie? You’re missing a step. “You need to leave your body in a neutral position at the end of your workout,” says celebrity fitness expert and certified personal trainer Andrea Metcalf, author of Naked Fitness. What that means is that you stretch or use opposing muscles. For example, if you ran, walk backwards on the treadmill for five minutes. After spin, stand up and stretch on the bike.
You're forgetting about recovery
Even if you love being super active, you still need to build in at least one rest day per week. Without it, you may see a plateau in fitness gains. “Our bodies are reacting the the amount of stress put on them. Constant stress doesn’t allow for growth, you need time to recover,” says Metcalf. If you’re feeling fatigued throughout the workout, your body is begging for downtime. Take the day off. Walk (for fun!), stretch, or focus on foam rolling.
Your workout isn't for you
Maybe you do hot yoga because your neighbor swears it helped her lose weight. Or CrossFit because…well…Crossfit. But unless the workout is matched to your likes and abilities, you’ll likely slog through. “Don’t just spin the hamster wheel with a program that’s not allowing you to make physical and emotional progress,” says Noah Neiman, certified personal trainer and co-founder of Rumble Boxing in New York City. “The program is either too hard so your form is deficient and you can’t put in the required effort, or it’s too easy and not challenging enough to stimulate growth,” he adds. If every workout feels like a dud to you, try something new or go back to an activity you loved before.
You aren't seeing results
There are the people who love to work out—and then there are the rest of us. To get into the former camp, you have to know your workout is worth it. “For most people who dread exercise, they’re not seeing the results they’re after,” says Ashley Strickland, master trainer at Life Time Fitness. Once you’re able to bang out a few pushups when you could barely do one before or hit all the sprints in your HIIT workout, you’ll likely change your tune. “As soon as they see a transformation happen, it’s amazing how much they suddenly love to workout,” she says. If you’ve been at a standstill, hire a personal trainer for a session or two. They can give you the tools and guidance you need to effectively work out on your own.
You're skimping on sleep
The nighttime snooze is when your bod is repairing and healing. If you’re shortchanging your Z’s, you’re going to feel like you’re running through Jello on your four-miler. If you were out late one night, go ahead and get up early to catch that class. But if you’re skimping on sleep for the second or third time during a seven-day stretch, “call it a recovery day and move on without guilt,” says Metcalf.
You're not taking enough breaks
Everyone’s doing HIIT (high-intensity internal training) right now, and yes, it’s supposed to be difficult but if you can’t make it through without feeling like absolute death, you may be doing it wrong, explains Neiman. “When people start HIIT, they often don’t realize what it means. It doesn’t mean push as hard as you can for as long as you can,” he says. Rather, it means you do hard intervals followed by adequate rest so you can be ready for the next interval. Without enough rest, you can’t exert max effort on subsequent intervals, and therefore don’t get all the benefits.