It happens to everyone now and then. You arrive at the gym or fitness facility, walk through the door, sign in at the front desk…and stand there with the “thousand-yard stare” for a few moments, wondering, “Should I be here today?”
Maybe you had a long, draining day at work. Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep the night before. Maybe you’ve been working out hard the last few days, and you feel as if you’re running out of gas. Whatever the reason, the “fight or flight” dilemma is surfacing.
No, it’s not a crime or a sin to turn around and walk back out the door, get back into your car, and go home. Hey…no guilt! Everybody needs a rest now and then, and your body will usually tell you when this is the case. Especially if you’ve been going at it hard in the gym the last few days, maybe it’s time to re-charge the batteries and give your body a respite for a day, for rest is part of the equation within a consistent exercise schedule.
When we work out relatively hard—especially as we get a little older—our bodies need a reprieve once in a while in order to re-generate…or we will end up actually breaking down muscle tissue, and will eventually become fatigued. If your goal is to build muscle, intervals of rest are vital…and are an important component of muscle growth.
However, as alluded to above, there are times when we’ll be feeling a bit low on energy for various reasons, but we are still determined to get our workout in. During these instances, there is no rule which states that we must adhere to our ordinary regimen.
Yes, many times when we begin our workouts (which should always start with a good stretching routine), we start to feel a renewed surge of energy…or a “second wind,” and we end up pleasantly surprised–and experience a sense of accomplishment–that we were able to overcome our initial lack of energy to make it through our regular regimen. But there are also times when we feel that we’re really having to “fight through” our workout, and it becomes somewhat burdensome.
Hey, YOUR choice as to whether you want to continue, or pack it in and try again the next day. But if you do choose to stick it out, you may just want to pare down the amount of reps/sets that you perform during your “normal” workouts, and/or decrease the amount of weight you’re using. Also, if cardio (elliptical, treadmill, stationary bike, etc.) is part of your routine, you may want to decrease the amount of time that you spend in this area by maybe 10 or 15 minutes. This way, you are still doing something without completely eschewing your workout for that day.
Another thing that may be helpful to you would be to eat a banana, which is high in potassium and provides quick energy because of the natural sugar that it contains. Other fruits that are high in natural sugars are watermelon, pineapples, mangos, and kiwi (also very high in potassium). Or, it’s certainly within reason to drink a cup of coffee for the caffeine boost before a workout.
If you’re still dragging…take the day off(!), and get a good night’s sleep…and try it again tomorrow.
“Listen” to what your body is telling you, and adjust accordingly. By lightening up during those times when you are at a low-energy ebb but feel that you can still exercise to some degree, you will only benefit from the increased activity.