BY M&F EDITORS
Though a fitness lifestyle is full of goals to hit.—there’s not really an end to any of it. You hit one set of goals and immediately push yourself further in order to get to the next set. And because the cycle of fitness goes on and on ad infinitum, some workouts will invariably be better than others. One day you’ll hammer out 225 on the bench for an easy set of 15, and the next week, that same weight will feel like you’re trying to push a Volvo off your chest.
Sometimes, you just have to chalk a bad workout up to the whims of the fitness gods; other times, that so-so session was fully within your control. And it only gets worse when one bad day leads to a bad week, leading to an off month. These uninspired workouts can go from anomalies to the norm real fast and can start eating away at your progress as a result.
If you’ve noticed that you haven’t quite been rattling the plates as often as you used to, we’re here to help. Here are six reasons why you just had a bad workout (and how you can bounce back).
You Didn’t Concentrate
Be honest with yourself— were you focused on your gym sesh? Or were you texting, surfing the internet, or keeping a closer eye on your phone than your form? Were you watching yourself in the mirror or the hot chick doing Romanian deadlifts? If you don’t concentrate on working your muscles, then a maximum pump will be sure to evade you.
Your Muscles Were Bored
Studies have shown that trying a variety of techniques and exercises can offer new challenges to muscle fibers, change up protein synthesis rates, and stimulate the nervous system in novel ways, causing the body to have to adapt and evolve. And switching up your routine can help with motivation—one study from the University of Florida found that people who changed up their workouts every two weeks were more determined to exercise and keep consistent.
Your Nutrition Was Lacking
To perform your best, your diet must be properly balanced. in terms of not only proteins, carbs, and fats but also in what ratios they are consumed leading up to the workout. Protein and fats are important, but the key nutrient for gym performance is carbohydrates. One expert panel report, published on PubMed Central, concluded “one factor that remains as true today as it did decades ago is the athlete’s indispensable need for carbohydrate as a key component of the diet.”
Aim to consume a moderate amount (30 to 60 grams) of carbs in the form of rapidly digesting foods like white rice, potatoes, and fruit.
You Didn’t Take Your Supps
While 30 years ago most supplements were little more than snake oil, today we have so many effective compounds readily available to us via health food stores and the internet. Creatine, beta-alanine, advanced herbs, engineered carbohydrates, and caffeine can all contribute to a ballsto-the-wall training session.
Creatine alone is one of the most studied muscle-enhancing supps out there, with multiple studies touting its safe and effective ability to repair and rejuvenate muscles while also increasing strength. And caffeine is a cheap and easy way to get your motor running before a workout.
Also, a study. in the Journal of Applied Physiology showed that caffeine can help refuel muscles after a workout, and another from the University of Georgia found that it can cut pain postworkout by almost 50 percent.Failing to take advantage of what science now offers is a vital mistake if you truly wish to push your performance (and muscle growth) to the next level.
You Were Sleepy
Research from 2011 found that a lack of sleep can increase muscle loss by decreasing protein synthesis activity, while another study published in 2013 in Sleep Medicine showed that sleep deprivation. impaired the recovery of muscles by lowering levels of the proteins that repair them.
Also, without six to eight hours of restful, restorative sleep, the secretion of growth hormone, or somatropin—which is essential for muscle and bone growth as well as proper metabolism functioning—can be disrupted, leading to a sucky, draggy day under the iron
You Weren’t Motivated
Without something to strive for, it’s tough to become properly motivated day in and day out. Going to the gym with absolutely no concrete reason for being there can lead to a workout that absolutely sucks, soget a goal before you get in the game! Set an objective that will push you to excel, such as focusing on outperforming others, says a recent study from Penn State. If you’re looking for more motivation a study from the University of Pennsylvania showed that competition is one of the strongest motivators for exercise.
Another study from 2016 that was published in the British Journal of Health Psychology reported that getting a new lifting buddy can also boost your motivation to work out so try to shake up your routine with an exercise partner who also challenges you.