Fitness Articles

Step Out of Your Workout Rut

Which Culprit is to Blame for your Fading Energy?

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Culprit #3: Diet
In all probability, you’ve heard about the calorie equation. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you eat. But, if you’re drained during your workouts, take a good look at both sides of this equation.

You can’t focus on exercise if you’re not also mindful of what you eat. If you’re still overeating, then working out alone isn’t going to change your body. At the same time, eating a lot of the wrong foods (junk, empty calories, sugar) won’t give your body enough energy to complete an intense workout.

Water is another key to a successful workout. Drink water throughout the day on a consistent basis, but also make sure to drink extra water during your workout since you lose hydration through sweat. Water helps keep your joints moving fluidly and your muscles primed for exercising.

Culprit #4: Sleep
Intense cardio and strength training causes your muscle fibers to tear. To a certain extent, this is a good thing, because it gives them a chance to build back up, stronger and better than ever. But if you aren’t giving your body enough rest at night, then your body is going to have a difficult time recovering from workouts. Your progress might halt—or go backwards! If you’re slipping into a workout rut, examine your sleeping patterns. You should be getting seven or eight hours of sleep each night to give your body a chance to refuel and recover from the previous day’s work. If a good night’s sleep isn’t part of your daily routine, re-examine your healthy lifestyle plan.

Culprit #5: Stress
If stress is a part of your daily life, eventually you’ll become emotionally and physically drained—if you’re not there already. Signs of overstress include tight muscles, headaches, and trouble sleeping—all of which can affect your workouts.

While exercise helps relieve some stress, if your life is in overdrive, it can’t get rid of all your tension. As stress builds up, take time to get organized, breathe deeply and ask for help. Your workout routine will actually improve!

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About The Author

Liz Noelcke Liz Noelcke
Liz is a journalist who often writes about health and fitness topics.

Member Comments

  • It's not easy to switch up your exercise routine when you have physical limitations. For me, treadmills are out of the question (the pounding hurts my back). I have to use a recumbent bike. I can use an elliptical but only for about 5 minutes max. I do not have easy access to a swimming pool, so water exercises are out as well. It's very easy to say "switch up your routine" when you can do that. Remember, though, some of us can't. Don't make us feel worse than we already do. - 4/20/2015 10:46:03 AM
  • Thank you. I try to switch up my exercise. So I can keep it up. - 6/3/2013 3:49:24 PM
  • I totally understand this article. I employed the "bored" technique. When I started working out I did the 10min thing and then QUICKLY got bored and tried some other videos and they just didn't work for me. I had to find the videos that "clicked" for "ME", and once I did I was on a roll. I haven't stopped, I keep growing and increasing my routines. - 12/19/2012 10:41:38 AM
  • This is a very helpful article.
    It helped me pretty much.
    Thank you! - 5/7/2011 5:31:54 PM
  • Variety and making it fun, especially during the winter months is the key. Thanks for including Sleep and Stress. Those two make a huge difference. I notice last year (2010!!!) that during the summer I am much more relax and I sleep better. No school (I have kids) and I am not teaching (I teach university level)... I ran a 13.1 Mile in Sept and was determined to keep up with a training schedule but by November, I felt exhausted: too much workload, not enough sleep.
    DRB13_1: try the Official Spark Sleep Challenge... That is a nice way to reach that goal, you learn a few things along the way (I did) and you get a nice trophy once you are done!!! :-) In the new year, depending on how I manage, I might also sign up for the Stress Challenge... - 1/26/2011 8:00:45 AM
  • The article didn't mention anything about eating too little. I have been doing Insanity, and have been trying to keep my calorie intake what it was before when I did far less intense workouts, eating my BMR and letting the calories burned during exercise be my deficit. However, I'm having a hard time even meeting my BMR, so I am tired all the time, even though I eat to satiety every time I'm hungry, healthy, unprocessed foods. But I'm really working to up my calorie intake so I can feel better. I think my lack of calories is hurting my weight loss. I don't feel my metabolism is lowering, because I do eat constantly and on schedule, and keep pushing water, but I'm eating high bulk, low calorie foods. - 1/25/2011 6:02:10 PM
  • I really appreciated this article! It is important to recognize that more is not always better. People think that just by pushing lthemselves longer, harder, they can continue to lose weight at a certain rate that does not listen to the body's signals or needs. I am guilty of not getting enough sleep. Thanks to SP, I am working on balancing my entire fitness/wellness regime.
    Keep up the good work, bring us more articles like this one! - 8/30/2010 2:51:18 PM
    Thanks for the article although I am reading it years after it was written, it still is good advice. I try to change up my workout, my problem is sleep. I have to work on the 7-8 hrs of sleep. - 5/19/2010 1:53:57 PM
  • This was a good article. I'm not yet in a rut but I can see how I could easily get there. I try to mix my exercise up during the week so I don't get bored and my body isn't conditioned to just doing one thing all the time. Thanks for the tips. - 2/15/2010 5:30:56 PM
  • Good article...I needed this today. I am trying out my dusty Pilates DVD for the first time in 5 years...need a break from the treadmill and let my body recover. - 1/16/2010 2:37:15 PM
    What a great article, Liz. Thank you! At times, I think I may have entered into the realm of overtraining. Sometimes, it's hard to pull back mentally. I also appreciate your advice about adequate sleep. - 9/8/2009 10:28:33 PM
    CHOCOLATE, look into yellow fruits and veggies, and Google "lutein." It's found in these foods, and I know some retinal specialists who even prescribe it as supplements to guard against macular degeneration. Age-related macular degeneration can be a cause of blindness as we get older; my late mom suffered from it. Use good sunglasses to block harmful rays, which can cause cataracts over time, too. I love Jack LaLanne and am sorry to hear he's having vision trouble. - 8/8/2009 11:46:40 AM
  • Jack has been my exercise "GURU" since I was a little girl. I also credit him for helping me deal with MIGRAINE HEADACHES which I haven't had since I was in my 20's (I'm 61 now). HE IS AWESOME and has helped millions of people, I'm sure. WHAT A FABULOUS EXAMPLE OF A PERSON LIVING A FULL, SUCCESSFUL LIFE OF FITNESS!!!!! - 7/16/2009 5:07:07 PM
  • Thanks so much for this article. I have been so busy watching my "p's & q's" with my diet and exercising, that I'm almost afraid to slow down for fear I'll stop. This helps me realize that good health also takes into account your mind. So I will work on the "spicing it up" with change and also get more rest. - 3/25/2009 11:10:40 AM
    Jacl lalane is in great shape except his eyesight is going. What can you start taking to keep your eyesight. I don't want to live to 100 if i am blind. My sight is everything to me. Any suggestions? - 3/25/2009 6:51:37 AM

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