Physical: People can get sore after exercising, sometimes intensely. If you’ve ever suffered from Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), you know the achiness of tender muscles that sometimes make it difficult to walk up and down stairs, move in and out of a chair, or even laugh! When you’re sore, one of the best thing to do is to get back on the horse and repeat some of the same movements that got you sore in the first place. For instance, if a hard set of lunges made it hard for you to walk down the stairs, do an easy set of lunges for a couple minutes.
A lot of people want to jump into a hot shower or bath to ease sore muscles. Try to avoid the temptation to soak in hot water for too long. Even though it might seem like the only thing your body needs. Your muscles will likely seize up after you cool down. Instead opt for a cooler shower instead.
If you’re injured, you’ll need to ease off. Note: ease off does not mean quit. Obviously some injuries are more serious than others. If you’ve developed an overuse injury, find an alternative to what you’re currently doing.
If you’re ill, you’ll probably need to ease off a little – especially if your cold or illness is in your chest. Pay attention to your body. While the sniffles are usually no reason to avoid your workout, a chest cold or even stomach bug could get worse if you push yourself too hard.
Mental: If you’re just starting a new workout routine, you probably haven’t formed the habit of routinely doing the same type of workout. Before you start any workout, mentally commit to it. If you don’t, you’ll start with a half-baked idea of what you want to achieve and likely flake off half way through the program. This will create a lack of confidence, or an “I can’t do it” attitude. You CAN do it. You just have to have a little talk with yourself first. I actually put a lot of stock in visualization. See yourself finishing the workout strong. Some days you’ll “have it” and some days you won’t. Regardless, if your body is able – do the work You’ll always feel better.
If you’re red lining with stress, and the tipping point is the workout, take a rest day or do an easy workout. While it would be ideal to do each and every workout you have planned, pushing yourself beyond the point of stress can create more stress. Ultimately, you could get sick, injured or burnout. That said, we all have hectic days, so don’t make excuses. Frustration from sitting in traffic, or a tiff with a co-worker is no reason to take the day off from exercise.
Logistical: This can ultimately be the kiss of death for most people starting a new workout routine. You want to do the work, you’re ready and feeling good…you just haven’t made room in your schedule for it. Something has to give. You may need to get out of bed 45 minutes earlier, forgo happy hour, record your favorite show, workout while the kids nap, etc. You’ll probably have to pare down somewhere. Fortunately, most great workouts are short, sweet and intense, like the one below that I’ve used for participants of my 40-Day Shape Up.
Sample Intermediate-level Workout from the 40-Day Shape Up.
- Warm up walk/jog for 10 minutes.
- Begin jogging at an easy pace. After 2 minutes, increase pace to a JND**, hold for 2 min, increase pace again every 2 minutes for 10 minutes (5 increases). Your pace should finish feeling fairly uncomfortable. If on a treadmill, increase pace two-tenths of a mile every two minutes.
- A) Clock Lunge*, 1 min each side
- B) Wall Squat, 30 seconds
- C) Bridge*, 60 seconds
Perform A, B and C in order three times with a 2-minute rest between each combination.
- D) Abdominal Crunches, 30 – 45 seconds
- E) Flutter Kicks*, 30 – 45 seconds
Repeat D & E in order three times with 2 minute rest in between.
*Clock Lunge: one leg lunges to 12:00 then back to standing, out to 3:00 then back to standing, back to 6:00, then back to 12:00 continuously on one leg for specified period of time.
*Flutter Kicks: Lying face down, eyes looking at the ground, arms & legs fully-extended. Pull chest off ground and flutter arms/legs continuously.
*Bridge: Lying on back, knees bent, arms flat on ground. Lift hips high and hold.
**JND = JUST NOTICEABLE DIFFERENCE
Total Time: ~40-45 min
My ebook, 20 High Energy Workouts is filled with interval-only workouts scalable to any fitness level. Why not download it and give a few workouts a try? If you want something more hands on, my 40-Day Shape Up will be open for business next week!
Want more tips like this? Hang out with me on Facebook. I’ll be posting some really great health and fitness tips over the next few weeks, and I don’t want you to miss out. See you there. Traci