Are You Really Getting the Most Out of Working Out?
By Stepy Kamei
Finding the motivation to get out of bed and head to the gym even once, let alone a few days a week, is a worthy cause for celebration. Our lives are so frantic and fast-paced these days that far too many of us end up inadvertently leaving our health by the wayside, falsely thinking we don't need to maintain it as long as it isn't bothering us in the moment. Getting in a good workout a few days a week is one of the most effective ways a person can keep their physical and mental health in check. Still, it's not always enough to just go the gym -- you need to make sure you're performing the right kind of workout in the right way, and taking care of your body outside of your workouts if you really want to get the most out of your gym membership.
Vary Your Gym Routine
Like many other aspects of our daily lives, it's pretty easy to get settled into a standard routine at the gym. You may start to use the exact same machines for the exact same amount of time on the same exact days of the week. Over time, this kind of monotony will not only stop being fun -- it'll stop working to tone and condition your muscles. The body needs to be exposed to a variety of workouts and fitness routines in order to get and stay fit. You can certainly continue using your favorite set of machines or enrolling in your favorite classes, but just be sure to mix it up now and again. For example, if you go to the gym three days a week, alternate those days so that one day you're doing a cardio workout, the next day you're doing a high-intensity interval workout, and the third day you're practicing yoga or zumba.
Sometimes, It's OK to Skip the Gym
Once again, having motivation and willpower to exercise is a great thing to have, but you should never push yourself if your body is clearly telling you it needs to rest. If any exercise routine causes you to feel pain or discomfort, discontinue it immediately. You may want to rest for the remainder of the day as well. If you're feeling sick, exhausted, or otherwise low energy for any reason, you shouldn't drag yourself to the gym. You'll only serve to burn yourself out and leave your body more vulnerable to illness and injury.