If a little exercise is good, a lot must be better, right? Actually, when it comes to planning your workouts, you need to make sure that you are not overtraining, or you could be sabotaging your goals. Whether you are new to working out or a seasoned gym vet, it’s always a good idea to evaluate the efficacy of your personal workout program. You might be frequenting your gym too often.
Here are some benefits to actually spending less time at the gym and getting more bang for your workout buck.
You Won’t Fall Victim to Overtraining
When a person’s body can’t recover from exercise, this is overtraining. Crossing the line into overtraining is different for everyone. If you do find that your performance is plateauing or decreasing, you might be spending too much time working out. Your immune system can also start failing if you don’t give your body sufficient rest time between workouts. One more symptom of overtraining is insomnia or difficulty sleeping. A lack of quality sleep will undoubtedly be a roadblock on your road to reaching your fitness goals. Ample rest is essential to building muscle and increasing your performance. Be sure to listen to your body and recognize the signs that you might be spending too much time in the gym.
You Could Beat Adaptation
No matter what type of exercise you do, be it weightlifting, running, or yoga, your body will eventually adapt to it. If you are slugging away in the gym, doing similar movements from one week to the next, your body will begin to adapt. This means that exercises will become easier, and you’ll find that you don’t get muscle soreness anymore. To get to the next level of performance, you will need to alter your routine in some way – the amount of rest, weight, frequency, reps, or type of movement. So, even taking more days off could result in performance gains because you are tricking your body by changing up your routine.
You Might Actually Lose More Weight
If the most you move during the day is at the gym, you’re missing the benefits of incorporating movement in more facets of your daily life. By spending fewer hours in the gym, you can devote more time to dynamic movement activities, such as hiking and walking. An increase in your overall movement will lead to a greater caloric deficit, which could help you to lose more weight. Some people see working out in the gym as an item they can simply check off their to-do list, thinking, “Well, exercise is done for the day.” If you focus on increasing your overall daily movement, you might have better results on the scale. One way to do this is to track your steps. In conjunction with your workout goals for the day or week, you can set daily step goals to make sure you are moving all day, not just in that one hour you’re working out in the gym.
You Can Improve Your Mood by Exercising Outdoors
Working out in the great outdoors has many benefits, including boosting your mood. First of all, you’ll be getting a natural dose of Vitamin D, which is crucial in how your body processes and releases dopamine and serotonin. These two hormones help to regulate your mood, and if you are deficient in them, you might be more susceptible to depression or other mood-related disorders. Besides the excellent Vitamin D boost that exercising outdoors provides, you are also elevating your mood by improving your scenery. Greenery, the horizon, and the sounds of nature are much more inspiring and mood-boosting backdrops for working out. Instead of staring at machines, dumbbells, and fellow gym rats, you could be gazing at trees, flowers, and hills.
You’re More Likely to Make It a Habit
Have you ever found yourself making ambitious diet and workout plans on Sunday evening – fully intending to make Monday the start of a lifestyle overhaul? You’re not alone. Many people start their diets or workouts on a Monday, and they make plans for spending every day of the week in the gym. This is just not a realistic goal, and while it’s great to be motivated and want to start off fast and furiously, setting a realistic objective is more likely to end up in a habit that will actually stick. So, set your gym goals appropriately – allowing for days off to rest, especially if you are embarking on a new fitness journey. Instead of going from zero days to five days a week, add one day to the gym per week. Work up to your optimal fitness program so you can maintain this new habit.
Shorter Workouts Could Produce Bigger Results
How much time are you usually spending on each workout? Well, it could be too much. If you look around the gym, you’ll see plenty of people taking long breaks between sets, scrolling through apps on their phones. Do you often fall victim to this? This is not the most efficient use of your time. Instead of spending one to two hours in the gym, you could get the same or even better results with far shorter workouts. You’re much more likely to exercise with more intensity and focus if you have a 30-minute workout goal. By maxing out your strength training in a shorter amount of time, you can build even more muscle mass.
If you find that you are doing all of your workouts in the gym, try to mix things up a bit by resting more or changing your scenery. You might be surprised at all of the benefits you receive, and you might appreciate your time in the gym more. Spending less time in the gym means you can improve the efficiency of your workouts while you are there. Look into more dynamic workouts that include supersets, small rest periods, or multiple-muscle exercises. It’s always a good idea to periodically evaluate how effective your workout program is, and wouldn’t it be nice to spend less time in the gym and see more gains?