Working out for a fitness goal is like taking a road trip; Sure, you might like it for a while, maybe enjoy the scenery but at some point you just want to get there! Knowing whether or not your workouts are effective can help determine if you’re on the right track or if you need to change course. Are you working hard enough or too much? Are you resting enough or do you need more time off? Here’s a 5-item checklist to see if your workout is getting you to your final destination (ok, that was the last road trip reference). Side note: all of the items listed below must be met in order for your workout to be considered effective.
1. Did you sweat? This should be obvious. Sweating is our body’s method of cooling down when our heart rate goes up. If your heart rate goes up our metabolic rate goes up and we burn calories. You need to burn calories to lose weight and since that is a common goal you better sweat during your workouts.
2. Are you hungrier than normal? Like rule #1 if you’re sweating and burning calories you’re going to be hungry. That’s good! However, if you overeat then you’ll be like a hamster on a wheel; working really hard but going nowhere. Don’t forget it’s not just the quantity of food but the quality of food that helps you lose weight.
3. Are your muscles sore? Your muscles will hurt the most the first few weeks you start any routine, even if you’ve been working out for years. After several weeks you should still notice some DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) but it shouldn’t make you walk like a zombie from the Walking Dead.
4. Are you still tired several hours after your workout? This is arguably one of the best ways to tell if you’re working just enough or too much. If you feel energetic and alive several hours after your workout then you did just enough to help get to your fitness goals. However, if you feel like you need to take a nap then you pushed a little too hard.
5. Are you getting results? Sure, you’ll see some changes in the first few months but if you want those results to keep coming you might have to look at your workout routine. Change the sets, reps, load, and tempo of your exercises. This can get complicated so seek a certified personal trainer in your area who’s shown to get clients results.
Stay Fit My Friends!