Overcoming a Workout Slump
One of the most discouraging aspects of working out, whether it be weight lifting, running, swimming, or some other type of physical activity, is getting into a slump. A workout slump could show itself in many different aspects from being stuck at a certain time for running 5km, or even not being able to overcome a certain weight for an exercise you’ve been doing. When you are experiencing a workout slump, it sucks. It makes you unmotivated to go out and continue your physical activity, or can even make you feel tired or depressed. I’ve been through workout slumps a lot in my lifetime, and here are some ways that I’ve overcome them.
One of the biggest mistakes people make ( including myself ) is not taking time off. Your body needs time off sometimes in order to repair itself and refuel. For years I never took time off other than the 1-2 days a week in between my workouts. I’m talking about taking a full week off to let your body recover. A lot of people might think that’s crazy ( I know I did ), but it’s essential if you want to continue to improve in any aspect of your physical activity program. I used to never take a week off, I thought it was anti-productive, and instead I would continuously go to the gym, putting more and more strain on my body. Now I take a week off every 8-10 weeks, and it is the best thing I’ve ever done. While a week off does not mean sitting on your couch eating potato chips all day ( which might sound amazing ), it does mean that you continue with your regular eating habits and some light physical activities. An example of a light physical activity might be to go for a walk after dinner, or to play hockey or basketball with a friend. If you’re ever wondering when it is time to take a week off, for me I normally know when I am extremely tired and I’m not able to run how I normally would, or push a certain weight like I normally do. This is when you can be confident in knowing that your body is ready for a little break.
Another way to get out of a workout slump would be to change it up. By this I mean to change something in your physical activity program. For example, if you are trying to beat a specific time for 5km but you just can’t seem to do it, try running for a longer distance at a slower speed, or a shorter distance at a faster speed. This way you are putting a different type of stress on your body than running your usual 5km at the same pace. My biggest workout slump was a few years ago when I was trying to bench press 315lbs, and I just couldn’t get my body to that point. Finally, I changed my workout up and focused on lower reps and heavier weight, and sure enough in a few weeks I was able to overcome that obstacle. Sometimes changing it up doesn’t even mean changing your entire workout regime, it simply means that the smallest change can make the biggest difference.
Check Your Diet
The last way to get out of a workout slump would be to reevaluate your diet. A lot of the time we keep the same diet, but increase the intensity or duration of our workouts. If you are not eating the right foods, or not consuming enough calories to accomodate your exercise program, you may feel sluggish or tired. When you feel like that during a workout your body is trying to tell you something. Sometimes it may be as simple as having a banana with your normal breakfast, or if you are used to having oatmeal for breakfast, maybe add some nuts or seeds to give yourself a little more fat and protein. Most of the time you don’t need to completely change your diet, but by adding or taking away certain foods may help you from feeling tired and unmotivated when it comes time to workout.
There are other ways that you can overcome a workout slump, but these three are my favourite, and I find that they work for me. Just remember to not be afraid to take time off to reevaluate your workout regime. Come up with a plan to get yourself out of that slump and get yourself back into the gym!
Until next time,