How many times have you found yourself aimlessly getting through your workout? Checking facebook and instagram while you work the machine that looks like it’s made to help give birth. Paying more attention to the conversation with your buddy, than the exercise at hand. Walking on the treadmill for ten minutes, before curling dumbbells that don’t challenge you.
If you find that you really aren’t challenging yourself when you exercise, it may be time to stop and think. Are you working hard during your workout? Are you really challenging yourself? It sounds silly to ask oneself if they are “working” during their “workout.” However, this may be just the thing you need to do. It’s easy for workouts to become just this thing you do, because you feel like you should. Therefore, as long as you did your “workout” then you’re good to go. It’s not that simple, my friend. Yes, moving at all, is usually better than not moving. Any safe exercise, is better than no exercise. Butttttttt, will this efficiently get you to your fitness goals? probably not.
If you enjoy a leisurely walk on the treadmill while talking with a friend, that’s perfectly fine. If you genuinely enjoy using the elliptical and not breaking a sweat, that’s okay too. I don’t mean to sit here and tell you what you enjoy. What I am here to do, is remind you these descriptions are not examples of hard work.
“WHAT?! How dare he judge my workouts”
Before anyone has a hissy fit; I am not saying that you have to be out of breath every second in the gym. I don’t mean to say that if you don’t have a barf bucket near you, you haven’t worked out hard enough. I am not saying that unless you feel like you’re about to die, you didn’t have a good workout. The idea of working out just to purposely feel pain, in my opinion, is misguided and dangerous. What I AM trying to do, is remind folks that from time to time, it’s good to check in with ourselves and make sure we are challenged. This doesn’t mean go as hard as you can on every exercise you can think of. Working with a qualified fitness professional is always the best bet, as they can help you with a solid/safe program. Don’t have a fitness professional available at the moment? Do some research. See what’s out there, and what exercises may seem to be a good a good choice for you.
The idea of checking in to see if you’re challenging yourself, applies to many aspects in life. At work, are you challenging yourself? Are you trying to do what you do better? Or are you aimlessly doing tasks without a focus on improvement? In your nutrition, are you challenging yourself to eat better food and treat your body better? Or are you thinking “hmm, I should eat better” but don’t turn that into action?