BlueChip is all about forming positive, sustainable habits. Whether you’re replacing bad habits with good or just starting a new positive routine, it feels great to truly make something a habit that you no longer have to think about, it’s just something you do.
I’ve always been somewhat of a runner, but as of late I’ve decided to focus on making it a consistent habit.
Some days I hit the pavement and feel invincible. My energy is high, the endorphins kick in and I feel like I could run forever.
Today was not one of those days. It was cold and dark when I woke up at 5:30am. I felt tired and mentally, my head wasn’t in it.
I knew my neighbors were waiting for me outside so I dragged myself out of bed (the power of workout buddies!), got dressed and hustled outside.
Getting out of bed and getting out there was a win, but it just wasn’t a great run. I couldn’t get into a rhythm and overall every step just felt difficult.
When I got home I felt somewhat defeated. Why are some days so much better than others?
I let myself wallow in some frustration for a few minutes, but then I forced myself to realize that this is a normal part of training and building any type of habit. The key is to not get down on yourself and not to let a setback get in the way of maintaining your positive habit. Whether you’re running, walking, weight training, or working on a habit that’s not at all fitness related- some days are just going to be better than others.
If you’re reaching a plateau or struggling with a workout that felt less than energizing, here are some reasons why some workouts may feel harder than others and ways to overcome:
Dehydration– If you’ve lost as little as 2% of your body water you’ll start to feel tired and your exercise performance may decrease. When you reach a level of 5% dehydration, you can really feel the effects. By the time you feel thirsty, you’re likely already dehydrated.
How to overcome: For early morning workouts, try to drink water before bed and when you wake up prior to working out. Keep a water bottle handy during a workout if possible, and sip between 5 and 10 ounces every 15 minutes while you’re exercising, and drink 15-20 ounces before starting to workout. If you’re planning a session that lasts longer than an hour, sip a sports drink that contains electrolytes.
Nutrition- If you’re feeling drained during an intense workout, you may be glycogen depleted. This is more likely to happen if you do a high-intensity workout first thing in the morning.
How to overcome: Prior to a vigorous workout, try to have a snack with about 30 to 40 grams of carbs. If you’re in a rush a piece of fruit or energy bar will work (be sure to check the ingredients of energy bars to make sure they aren’t full of artificial ingredients).
Overtraining- If you’ve been training hard or hitting the gym every day, your workouts may feel harder due to fatigue.
How to overcome: Try taking a few days of rest to let your body recover. Do some simple stretching exercises maybe even try meditation and just find a healthy way to relax!
Not feeling well- A number of medical problems can make a workout feel harder. One of the more common causes, particularly among females, is iron deficiency anemia.
How to overcome: If fatigue is a persistent problem, see your doctor.
Too Little Sleep- Sleeping strengthens your immune system, helps you solve problems, reason better, and increases your memory. Your workout may seem harder than usual because you’re not getting enough sleep.
How to overcome: If you’re 18 or older, you should be getting at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
Boredom- Some plateaus can be a result of just plain old boredom. Boredom can impact you physically as your nervous system rebels against doing the same workout over and over again.
How to overcome: If you walk every day, try switching up your route (maybe go for a hike in a new location!), if you run every day try taking a new route or maybe mixing it up with a spin class, elliptical training, etc.
It’s Just an “Off” Day- Sometimes you are just having one of those days and a bad workout is just a bad workout. Maybe none of the first six reasons apply- you had plenty of sleep, water and recovery and you felt great heading into your workout. Not being able to pinpoint a reason why you’re not feeling up to far can be the most frustrating but it’s also a great opportunity for you to persevere and learn about how you can personally overcome challenges.
How to overcome: Press your mental and physical reset button. When you’re trying to build a habit and the going gets tough, reset and start fresh the next day. Find ways to refocus on the positive- play music you like, talk to a friend, get some fresh air. Don’t allow negative thoughts to stick around for long or to creep in when you’re starting your next workout or getting back on the right path with your habit.
There are many reasons why some days are not as easy as others and this list is not by any means intended to “diagnose” specific symptoms. If fatigue is persistent, consult your physician to get their feedback on what could be causing your fatigue.