Everyone knows that exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Working out regularly has a ton of benefits, including:
- faster metabolism/weight loss
- muscle growth
- more energy
- better mood
- better skin
- improved brain function
- better sleep
However, if you’re looking to achieve serious fitness goals like losing weight, building muscle, or improving your cardiovascular health it takes more than just a little movement now and then. It’s important to make sure that you’re doing the right exercises for your body.
Is Your Workout Too Easy?
One common problem that people have is performing exercises that are too easy for them. As you get fitter, you’ll need to keep pushing yourself if you want to continue seeing results. If you keep doing workouts that are too easy, you’ll probably notice that you’re no longer losing weight or gaining muscle. This means that if you seem to have reached a plateau in your fitness journey, it may be time to up the ante.
Let’s take a look at six signs that your workout may be too easy.
1. Your Heart Rate Doesn’t Get Higher
There are many different types of exercises out there that perform a different function. You can do cardiovascular exercises to improve your heart and lung health, weight training to get stronger, and stretching exercises to get more limber. Ideally, each of these categories should be part of your workout. However, one sure sign that you aren’t pushing yourself hard enough is that your heart rate doesn’t increase during your workout.
If you aren’t sure just how high your heart rate should be during exercise, there’s a simple set of formulas that can help you figure it out.
First, find your maximum healthy heart rate by subtracting your age in years from 220. For example, the formula for a 30-year-old would look like this:
Your target heart rate should be between 64% and 76% of your maximum heart rate, so multiply your maximum heart rate by .64 and .76:
190 (.64)= 121.6
190 (.76)= 144.4
This means that during a workout, your heart rate should fall between 122 beats per minute and 144 beats per minute for maximum results.
2. You Don’t Sweat Much
Sweating can make you feel sticky and smelly, but it serves an important purpose during your workout. Sweating is meant to cool your body down and keep you from overheating. Your body must be able to regulate its temperature while you’re engaging in vigorous exercise.
If you never sweat when you exercise, that means that your body isn’t heating up throughout the workout. This could indicate that your workouts aren’t vigorous enough to challenge your body into working harder. The American Heart Association recommends that adults get at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise every week to maintain their health. If your exercise clothes are still bone-dry at the end of your workout, it may be time to step up your game.
3. You Can Hold a Conversation While Exercising
Let’s face it; having social support can be important when it comes to achieving your long-term fitness goals. A lot of people swear by the buddy system, going to the gym and exercise classes with someone who can help them maintain their discipline. However, if you find yourself having long conversations with your buddy while you’re in the middle of your workout, it could be a sign that both of you need be working a little harder at the gym.
The talk test is commonly used in exercise science to judge whether the exercise is intense enough for the exerciser. The research indicates that when your body is at or near the appropriate ventilatory threshold to get the maximum benefit from exercise, holding a conversation should be difficult or impossible. This means that during your workout, you should find yourself breathing more heavily than you normally do.
4. You Do the Same Exercises Every Time
A lot of us are hoping to establish an exercise routine. When working out becomes one of your daily tasks, you’re much more likely to do it. However, if you’re doing the same exercises every time that you work out, your body probably isn’t working as hard as it should. Your muscles can easily adapt to your moves, making them easier to perform over time. The only way to continue pushing yourself is to regularly switch up your workout and keep your body on its toes.
Adding more variety to your exercise routine can have other benefits as well. Incorporating different exercises into your workouts will help prevent overuse strain, work new muscles, and keep you from giving up because you’re bored of your usual routine!
5. You Never Feel Sore
Feeling sore after a workout can suck. However, that pain that you feel in your muscles after an intense workout is a good sign! Muscle soreness is believed to be caused by microscopic damage to your muscles. This damage occurs as new muscle begins to form. This means that the annoying soreness that comes from trying a new workout is a sign that you’re making progress.
Soreness typically fades after your body gets used to the exercise. That means that if you never feel sore anymore, it may be time to switch things up. If muscle soreness becomes too much of a problem, you can try using ice packs, pain killers, or even massage to get yourself feeling well enough to keep attacking your workouts.
6. You’re Distracted During Workouts
Exercise isn’t always fun. A lot of people like to distract themselves during their workouts by turning on the TV or listening to music. Doing these things can indeed make your workout feel quicker and easier. Unfortunately, it comes at a cost. Research indicates that people who watch TV while working out tend to put forth less effort than those that are completely focused on the exercise.
This doesn’t mean that you have to give up on those distractions completely. You can still listen to music or watch TV while exercising as long as you’re also paying attention to how much effort you’re putting into the exercise. Another great option is to find forms of exercise that are fun for you; if you’re having a good time while working out, you’ll feel less need to distract yourself.
How Do You Make Your Workout Tougher?
If you’re starting to realize that your workouts might not be as hard as they should be, don’t panic! There are a lot of things that you can do to give yourself the extra challenge that you need:
- add resistance bands to your moves
- perform the moves more slowly
- increase your range of motion
- combine various moves
- add more weight to your strength training
- widen your grip
- pick up the pace during your cardio
- use ankle or wrist weights
- use a stability ball
These are just a few ways that you can easily make small changes to your usual workout to ensure that you’re pushing yourself hard enough to see regular, lasting results. The most important thing is to be mindful; pay attention to the signals that your body is sending throughout your workout and adjust accordingly. Not listening to your body is a guaranteed way to derail your health and wellness journey.