Everybody has bad workouts. Hopefully they don’t happen often and aren’t so bad they cause an injury. Either way, they can still put a crinkle in your day. Having a rough day in the gym or at the track can be the result of lots of factors, some of which you just can’t control. Maybe you were running late, missed the group class you love and went at it alone. Maybe you’re injured or feeling sick. Figuring out what went wrong is the best way to prevent it from happening again. Make sure you can bounce back from bad workouts quickly with these tips.
Get enough sleep. Sleep allows your body time to heal from the last gym session or just daily life. Having a bad night, or a night without enough sleep, can wreak havoc on your body and suck out tons of the energy you plan on using in the gym. One great thing about sleep is the human body’s ability to catch up on it. While this shouldn’t be a regular practice, and seven to eight hours a night are recommended for most people, it’s good to know there’s a reason you want, and are allowed, to sleep in on Sunday morning.
Eat right. Giving your body the right type of fuel for the workout you have planned is just as, if not more, important than getting enough sleep. Whole grains and less sugar will aid in preventing the exhaustion many people face an hour or two after lunch. If you’re going to burn a few hundred calories in the gym, make sure you replace those with quality food items. Stay properly hydrated before, during and after your session and be careful of caffeine, which can wake your body up for a workout or push it over the limit and cause nausea and shakiness.
Have good goals. Set a good goal (check out our goal setting series on YouTube). Write it down. Look at it every single day. Get together with a fitness professional and discuss both your goal and a path to reach it. This keeps you focused and on track, prevents boredom, provides a support system in the gym and gives you accountability. All of those positives can help turn a few bad workouts into a learning experience that stops them from occurring in the future.
Beware of over training. Bad workouts can be a sign of over training or injury. Use a variety of equipment and styles so your body doesn’t get overloaded. Try alternating weight lifting days with cardio days and always leave at least one day per week for complete rest and recovery. If you start feeling worn down, unusually sore and grouchy or dreading the gym, it might be time for a few extra days off. Listen to what your body tells you and take what it’s saying seriously.
Throw in the towel. There are days when you get out of bed and know you don’t have it. That’s OK. Avoiding back workouts is a good way to make sure one doesn’t ruin your day. Taking an extra day off to let your body recover won’t wreck all the work you’ve already done and it pays to listen up when your body says ‘no’. If you’re already in the thick of things, quit while you’re ahead. Rack your weights, cool down and evaluate what went wrong.