11 Tips To Stop Over-Eating After A Workout

You must have sweated off hundreds of calories during that Boxing class, so it’s totally okay to indulge in a bowl of ice cream when you get home—right? Not so fast. Research shows that people tend to reward themselves with rich foods and large portions after exercising, and that they often eat back all of (if not more than) the calories they just burned.

There’s nothing wrong with small snack or a filling dinner after exercising, but before you dig in, you have to understand your body’s true nutrition needs so you don’t end up gaining weight despite all your hard work. Here are 11 tips or I’d like to think the smartest ways to refuel—and silence that rumbling belly post a hard workout.

1. Work out right before a meal

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If you’re always hungry after you exercise—regardless of whether you ate beforehand or how many calories you burned—try to schedule your workouts before one of your main meals. That way, you can refuel with calories you would have consumed anyway, without having to add extra snacks into your day.

This strategy can work regardless of whether you’re a morning, noon, or night time exerciser. Have a small snack when you wake up and eat a larger breakfast after your a.m. run; hit the gym at lunchtime and pick up a sandwich on the way back to the office; or prep your dinner ahead of time so you can just heat it up when you get home from an evening barre class.

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2. Make your workout fun

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Thinking about exercise less as a chore and more as something you do because you enjoy it can help you eat less afterward. A recent experiment by researcher James Douglas of the independent Institute of Health and Weight Loss in Washington D.C., followed volunteers on a 1.4—mile walk, telling half of them that it was for exercise and the other half that they were just going for a scenic stroll. The “exercise” group ate 35% more chocolate pudding for dessert than the “scenic” group. In another experiment, volunteers were given post-walk snacks, and the “exercisers” ate 124% more calories than those who were told it was just for fun.

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3. Pair Protein and Carb

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When you do need a snack to recover from a tough sweat session, Douglas recommends a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. “This will allow you to begin to replenish your energy levels and repair muscle damage resulting from the workout,” he says. For workouts less than an hour, keep your snack to 150 to 200 calories total—an open-faced peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a slice of turkey and cheese on crackers, or a handful of trail mix, for example. If you worked out for longer than an hour and aren’t eating a full meal soon, aim for half a gram of carbohydrates for every pound of body weight. A 140-pound person, for example, should refuel with 70 grams of carbs and about 18 grams of protein. (An energy bar or protein shake, plus one of the healthy snacks above, should fit the bill.)

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4. Got Milk?

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Low-fat dairy is another great recovery food with plenty of protein to help tide you over until your next meal. Studies have shown that refueling with dairy—low-fat chocolate milk, specifically—helps improve subsequent athletic performances better than traditional sports drinks.

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5. Stop Eating Out of Habit
Sometimes, overeating after exercise is more a consequence of routine than anything else. When you consistently consume a 500-calorie smoothie after you finish up at the gym, you start to get into that habit of consuming a smoothie no matter how long or intense your exercise was. What is a solution for this? Choose different snacks for different workouts—the shorter the duration, the fewer calories you need to replenish— and always pay attention to your hunger cues. It’s important for weight loss and weight maintenance to get in tune with your body and learn to eat in response to hunger, versus eating in response to boredom, stress, or the idea of rewarding yourself for exercising.

6. Your fitness tracker is not an accurate indicator or calories loss
Activity trackers like the Fitbit and Jawbone have become a trendy way to estimate physical activity expenditure throughout the day. But a 2014 Iowa State University study found that not all devices are accurate in estimating calorie burn during workouts. The least accurate device, the Basis Band, had an error rate of 23.5%.

Even the most accurate trackers can still only provide an estimate of true calorie burn, says Douglas, and it’s not smart to base your re-fueling strategy entirely on their calculations. “You also want to get in the habit of eating in response to hunger and stopping in response to comfortable fullness. This is dictated less by numbers and more by listening to your body.”

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7. Eat healthy snacks throughout the day

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It may seem counterintuitive, but eating more throughout the day may be your ticket to consuming fewer calories overall, especially if you tend to pig out post-workout. “Incorporating two to three healthy snacks throughout the day will help regulate hunger between meals, increase energy, and keep metabolism bumped up,” says Douglas. Need some ideas? Here are 18 snacks that stoke your metabolism.

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8. You probably didn’t burn as many calories as you had thought
You may feel like you burned a million calories during your Boxing class, but research shows that we tend to overestimate our energy expenditure during exercise—by as much as four-fold, according to a study from the University of Ottawa. When volunteers were then asked to eat back all the calories they’d just burned, they tended to consume two to three times more than what they’d actually expended.

One high-tech way to prevent overestimating your calorie burn: wear a heart-rate monitor. Most of these include a sensor worn around your chest and a wristwatch, which sync together wirelessly. Still, if your heart-rate monitor says you burned 600 calories, that’s not automatically an excuse to scarf down a 600-calorie sundae. “If you are trying to lose weight, you will need to consume fewer calories than you expend,” Douglas says.

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9. Drink water as soon as you are done your workout

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Replacing the fluids you lost during a workout should be priority number one. “Having a lot of water in the belly also reduces appetite—not a lot, but a little,” Douglas says. “Guzzle water as soon as you walk in the door to quench your thirst and take up space in your tummy.” Just don’t consume massive quantities. Taking in too much water (or any fluid) can cause water intoxication due to excessively low levels of salt in the body.

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10. Do you really need to eat right away?
You’ve probably heard that it’s important to eat something immediately after your workout to help your muscles recover. But the truth is, you might not need to, says Douglas. Say you’ve just finished up a tough run and you know you’d like to hit the gym for weight training in the morning. In that case, yes you should have something to eat. “But if you’re taking a few days off before your next hard workout, you probably don’t need to worry about refueling quickly,” Dogulas explains. If you’re not hungry, then don’t force yourself to eat, he says. “You’re going to eat those calories eventually, so why not save them for your next meal when you’re actually hungry?”

11. Refuel along the way

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For workouts lasting longer than two hours—like a long bike ride or a marathon training run—sucking down a gel or sipping a sports drink will keep you from feeling ravenous afterward. “Research has shown that people eat fewer calories after exercise when they take in carbs during exercise,” says Douglas. “In fact, their total calorie intake for the 24-hour period that includes the workout comes out to be slightly lower if they fuel up during it.” (Also important: You won’t run out of steam halfway through your training session.) Try to consume 30 to 60 grams of carbs—that’s 120 to 240 calories—every hour after your first hour. Avoid anything with protein, since it takes longer to for the stomach to digest.

 

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8 Exercises That Are More Effective Than Sit-Ups

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Sit-ups shouldn’t be your go-to ab exercise — and not just because they’re boring. If you’re only doing sit-ups, you’re only training one part of your abs, your rectus abdominis or “the six-pack muscles” that run from the bottom of your chest to your pubic bone.

That leaves the transverse abdominis, the deep layer of muscle that wraps around your torso, and the obliques, muscles that run down your sides, untouched. Neglecting these muscles leads to dysfunction and even injury, not to mention that you’ll never look quite as good as you could with your bikini on.

But the worst part of sit-ups isn’t what they’re missing, it’s what they’re acting on — namely, the spine. Imagine that you’re standing up, and throwing your torso forward to touch your toes, over and over. It’s easy to see the havoc that wreaks on the lower back, and it’s similar to what’s happening with most sit-ups.

While performing a slow and controlled sit-up can work fine to build one section of your abs, there are far superior alternatives that can target the entire core, while strengthening other parts of your body and even burning fat. Here are 8 moves that have been proven time after time to be more effective than sit-ups.

What You Need: A pair of dumbbells weighted just slightly heavier than your comfortable level

How This Workout Works: Perform each of the movement as many times as possible in a slow and controlled manner for 30 seconds with no rest in between each exercise – that is one circuit. Work your endurance and strength up to complete 3 circuits 3 times a week on non-consecutive days. Then, sit back and watch your abs transform.

1. Dumbbell Push-up Row

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  • Place a pair of dumbbells about shoulder-width apart on the floor.
  • Grab the handles and position yourself in a pushup position.
  • Lower your body to the floor and then press back up.
  • Once you’re back in the starting position, pull the dumbbell in your right hand up toward the side of your chest. Pause, then return the starting position and repeat with your left hand.
  • That’s 1 rep. Try to prevent your torso from rotating each time you row the weight.

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2. Dumbbell Curl To Squat To Press

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  • Grab a pair of dumbbells and let them hang at arm’s length next to your sides with your palms facing forward.
  • Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells as close to your shoulders as you can. Immediately push your hips back and lower your body into a squat, until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor.
  • Stand up and press the dumbbells over your head. That’s 1 rep. Return to the starting position and repeat.

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3. Cross Behind Lunges

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  • Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them at arm’s length at your sides, your palms facing each other.
  • Step forward and to the side so that your lead foot ends up in front of your back foot (like a curtsy). Lower your body until your front knee is bent at least 90 degrees.
  • Pause, then return to the starting position and repeat with your other leg.

4. Resistance Band Bent-Over Row

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  • Grab a resistance band and step on it with one foot (use both feet for more resistance).
  • Hold the band in each hand at arm’s length, about shoulder-width apart, and then bend at your hips and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Your knees should be slightly bent and your lower back naturally arched.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the band up to your upper abs. Pause, then return the bar back to the starting position.
  • Note: If you do not have a resistance, holding a dumbbell in each hand will work as well.

5. Dumbbell Squat Thrust

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  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides holding a pair of dumbbells.
  • Push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body as deep as you can into a squat.
  • Place the dumbbells on the floor, then kick your legs backward into a pushup position.
  • Kick your legs back to the squat position.
  • Stand up and jump. That’s 1 rep.

6. Overhead Split Squat

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  • Hold a pair of dumbbells directly over your shoulders, with your arms completely straight. Squeeze your abs tight for the entire exercise.
  • Stand in a staggered stance, your left foot in front of your right foot.
  • Push your hips back and bend your knees so you lower your body into a squat. Pause, then push yourself back up to the starting position.
  • Perform the prescribed number of reps, and then do the same number of reps with your right foot in front of your left.

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7. Planking Frog Tucks

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  • Start in a pushup position with your body straight from your shoulders to your ankles.
  • Bring your right foot forward and place it next to your right hand (or as close as you can).
  • Try to prevent your hips from sagging or rising.
  • Return your leg to the starting position and repeat with your left leg.
  • That’s 1 rep.

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8. Wall Slide

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  • Lean your head, upper back, and butt against the wall.
  • Place your hands and arms against the wall in the “high-five” position, your elbows bent 90 degrees and your upper arms at shoulder height. Hold for 1 second. Don’t allow your head, upper back, or butt to lose contact with the wall.
  • Keeping your elbows, wrists, and hands pressed into the wall, slide your elbows down toward your sides as far as you can. Squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  • Slide your arms back up the wall as high as you can while keeping your hands in contact with the wall. Lower and repeat.

 

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7 Moves That Shed Fat Fast

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Tone up, burn calories, build muscles shed unwanted pounds with these seven easy moves, that combine strength training and cardio. This workout is going to be the most effective for your calorie burn and your schedule, assuming you have limited time like most of the women who read my blog.

Do each move as many times as you can in 30 seconds, while maintaining good form, then go to the next one. Complete circuit three times, twice a week.

Remember this key rule: Don’t rest! You shouldn’t do a move and then wait to do another one. Go from one move to the next to the next. So while one group of muscles is resting, you’ve moved on to a different muscle group. If you’ve done push-ups, do lunges; if you’ve done lunges, do pull-downs. Keep yourself moving!

1. Crunch circle with hollow man.

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Lie face up, hands resting lightly on back of head.

Raise legs 3-6 inches; contract abs. Crunch torso up, then rotate it so ribs draw a clockwise circle.

Repeat in opposite direction.

2. Side squat with figure 8.

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Stand with feet hip-width, a 5- to 8-lb dumbbell in right hand, left hand extended to side at shoulder height

Step out to left as you lower into a squat, and pass dumbbell under left leg to left hand, and around left knee.

In one fluid movement, pass dumbbell under right leg to right hand; continue alternating.

3. Twisting lunge with heel tap.

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Stand with feet shoulder-width, arms extended to sides at shoulder height, palms down.

Step right leg forward about 2 feet and lower left knee so both knees are at 90 degrees. Twist torso to right and reach right hand back to touch left heel while raising left arm straight up.

Return to start; repeat on opposite side.

4. Hip heist push-up.

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Get into “up” part of a push-up; lower chest and bend elbows, stopping at 90 degrees.

Lift right hand and left foot, rotating upper body to the right while bringing left knee across body toward right armpit. Pivot on right foot and continue rotating torso until you’re face up. Hands should be directly beneath shoulders and feet hip-width, knees bent at 90 degrees. Lift hips until torso is in tabletop position.

Lift left hand and right foot, rotating upper body to right, pivoting on left foot until you are back in the “up” part of a push-up. Repeat in opposite direction.

5. Single arm burpee.

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Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width, left arm out to side at shoulder height.

Squat down; place right hand on floor just under center of chest. Squeeze abs and jump feet back into one-arm plank. Jump back toward hands, landing in a squat.

Jump up; return to start.

6. Figure 4 squat with front shoulder raise.

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Stand with feet hip-width, a 5- to 8-lb dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in.

Cross right ankle over left knee Lower into squat while raising arms in front.

Return to start.

7. Side plank with inner thigh raise.

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Come into side plank on right side with core engaged, hips lifted, sides of both feet on floor, right foot in front of left; lift left arm straight up.

Raise right leg as high as you can, then return to floor.

 

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6 Moves To Transform Your Core – No Crunches Required

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A lot of women still think that crunches and sit-ups are how you build a strong core, but you shouldn’t believe in either and should stop doing them. To really work your core and improve your posture, you need to get off balance and try new things.

Use the following routine that specifically targets your entire core from different angles, to create your strongest, firmest, flattest center yet. For this workout, you need to dust off your exercise ball. Watch those abs pop in no time.

1. Exercise Ball Roll-Outs

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Works your entire core, challenges balance, and strengthens lower back.

Starting on your knees and sitting up tall, place a medium-size exercise ball under your hands while keeping your arms as straight as possible. As you roll the ball out, ensure you keep a straight body by not bending at the hips. Pull yourself back to starting position without bending your arms or hips, exhaling as your contract your center. Aim for 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

2. Lower Leg Lifts With Exercise Ball

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Works your lower abs.

Placing an exercise ball between your legs while keeping a 90-degree bend in knees, squeeze the ball as firmly as you can. Engaging your pelvic floor as you squeeze the ball, lift your hips off the ground reaching the ball to the ceiling. (By attempting to engage your pelvic floor as you contract your core, you’ll engage more of the lower abdominal muscles throughout the exercise.) Gently lower hips back down. Repeat for 20 to 30 reps.

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3. High Back Extensions on Exercise Ball

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Engages your core, strengthens lower back, and increases balance.

Start by lying on top of your exercise ball, face down, your hips centered on the middle of the ball. Begin by squeezing your glutes. Then, lift your arms and torso as long and high as possible, still squeezing your glutes so as to not overly “crunch” into the lower back. Gently lower down and repeat for 10 to 15 reps, taking breaks as needed. Relax in Child’s Pose when finished to release the lower back.

4. Down-Low Back Extensions

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Engages your core, lower back, and upper back; improves posture.

Start by lying face down on the mat with the ball between your hands. Start by squeezing your glutes, then reach your arms and chest as long and as high as you can, keeping your feet on the floor. Make sure to keep your shoulders far away from your ears as you reach. Hold the lift for 2 to 3 seconds and gently lower back down. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.

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5. Exercise Ball Passes Through Pike

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This advanced move targets your entire center.

Start with the ball between your hands as you lift straight legs and shoulders off the floor at the same time, pulling your belly button into your lower back. Keep your neck long and eyes to the ceiling. Bring your arms and legs together passing the ball through as you open back up. Keep your shoulders lifted and feet off the ground the entire time, and then repeat. Aim for 2 or 3 sets of 15 reps.

6. Twisting Side Plank

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Targets obliques and stabilizers.

Lie on your right side, making sure your right elbow is directly under your right shoulder as you get into your side plank as shown. Place your left hand behind your head. Keeping your body and hips high, exhale as you twist and lower your left elbow down to your right hand, and return to starting position. Aim for 30 reps on each side.

 

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7 Signs You’re Working Out Too Much

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When it comes to healthy habits, you can have too much of a good thing. Fiber is good for you, but too much fiber is a major diet no-no (if you’ve done it, you know what I’m talking about). Even too much sleep can backfire and hurt your health. And exercise is no exception.

In fact, trading evenings on the couch for marathon calorie-burning or muscle-pumping workouts day after day–without adequate rest–is a surefire way to burn out, hurt your performance and even get yourself injured. While everyone is different and no certain amount of exercise is automatically ”too much,” it’s recommended that you take one to two rest days a week, especially if you’re working out at a really high intensity or with heavy weights. In general, exercising for up to 90 minutes (at a moderate intensity), most days of the week is reasonable and healthy, but you should take into account your fitness level, health status and how your body responds.

You might already be aware of some of the common signs of overtraining, but sometimes the body sends more subtle signs that you’re working out too much. These signs can sometimes be so sneaky that you may not realize your workouts are causing them.

We’ve gathered seven of the unique and misdiagnosed symptoms of overtraining. While none of these is guaranteed to be caused by overtraining (always talk to your doctor), it’s possible that if you’ve been putting in lots of hours at the gym lately, your heavier workouts could be causing these less-than-healthy results.

1. Exercise leaves you exhausted instead of energized.

Exercise should make you feel good and give you an energy boost. Yes, you might feel tired or fatigued right after a tough workout, but if you leave the gym exhausted, tired or generally feeling like you could go home and take a nap, it might be a sign that you’re overdoing it. If you’re not getting that feel-good endorphin rush that’s one of the awesome by-products of being active, it’s time to take a look at your training and see what your body may be telling you!

2. You get sick easily (or it takes forever to get over a cold).

When you exercise regularly, your body is constantly spending energy and working to repair those muscles. This means that when you come in contact with a bacteria or a virus, your immune system isn’t able to give 100 percent to fighting off that cold or flu. So you get sick and can stay sick longer if you don’t give your body the time off it needs to take care of itself. Remember, your body is an amazing machine that does much more than just power your workouts!

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3. You have the blues.

Do the workouts you used to love feel more like a chore than anything else? Or do you generally feel down and unmotivated? It may seem counterintuitive since exercise has been shown to boost feel-good endorphins, but overtraining has been linked to a decrease in energy and mood. So if you have the blues, letting your muscles recover for a few days and getting really good sleep might be just what your body really needs. Of course, if you are severely depressed, see your doctor.

4. You’re unable to sleep or you can’t seem to get enough sleep.

How are you sleeping lately? Is your mind racing when your head hits the pillow? Are you unable to fall asleep no matter how many sheep you count or how tired you feel? Are you on the other end of spectrum where no matter how many hours of sleep you clock, you still feel tired? Both of these can be caused by overtraining. When you exercise too much, your body can interpret it as a stressor, sending out stress hormones like cortisol that can make going to sleep difficult. On the flip side, overtraining can actually make some people more tired than normal. Sleep is a time when the body and brain recovers, and if you’re pushing it too hard, your body might be telling you that it needs more rest that you’re giving it.

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5. You have ”heavy” legs.

You used to go out for a walk or a jog with a spring in your step! But these days? It seems as if your legs have been traded out for heavy lead; it takes a lot more effort to get going and stay going. Sound familiar? If so, overtraining may be wreaking havoc on your body. Heavy, tired and overly fatigued legs (or arms) can be caused by muscles that just haven’t had enough time to fully recharge and repair.

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6. You have a short fuse.

If the smallest things set you off or if you’re feeling more irritable than normal, it could be due to over-exercising. When we’re tired and worn down, it’s far easier to let the little stuff get to us than it would if we were well rested. Think of exercise like spending too many hours at work on a big project for weeks at a time. Sometimes you just need a vacation and a break for some rest and relaxation!

7. You’re regularly sore for days at a time.

If you have any of these signs, it’s probably worth cutting back on the intensity, frequency and/or duration of your workouts. Swap an hour run for 30 minutes of easy yoga or trade that high-intensity boot camp for a long walk with your dog. While it might seem like you’re taking time off from your fitness and weight-loss goals, you’re actually doing the opposite: You’re making yourself stronger by giving your body the rest that it’s (subtly) asking for.

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6 Simple Ways To Get Addicted To Exercise

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You’re glued to the TV, can’t be separated from your smartphone and constantly checking social media. But what about being addicted to exercise?

You’ll be surprised what a few lifestyle tweaks and a little motivation can do to transform your fitness habits. Here’s how to get addicted to exercise.

1. Pay For A Gym Membership
Signing up to a long-term contract and committing to a membership is a risky business, especially if you’re forking out hundreds to join. However, knowing that a chunk of your pay packet is going to those smiling faces at the gym is a huge incentive to get down there and make the most of your membership.

Once you’ve signed the dotted line, frame it. Seeing your goals in writing can be hugely motivating – a little reminder of what you want to achieve. Dr. Gail Matthews of the Dominican University in California conducted a ‘goal-setting’ study of 267 participants in which she discovered that you are ‘42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down.’ It creates purpose and direction – no more excuses!

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2. Give It 56 Days
56 days seems like a long time, but it’s realistic. Many have spurts of fitness motivation, which is soon quashed when they don’t see the results they hoped for. This is because a) it’s too short a time to witness progress b) they aren’t in the habit of exercising regularly yet.

Dispel the myth that it takes 21 days to form a new habit – it doesn’t. The University College Londonlooked into the phenomenon of habit building with the help of 96 participants who were asked to choose an ‘everyday habit’ that they’d like to establish, and record their progress over the course of 84 days; including their success in completing the task and feelings towards it.

From the study, researchers found considerable variation according to what habit the person was practising, their health and willpower. But on average, the results suggested that it takes 56 days to form a habit, with exercise proving the most difficult to get into.

The key here is not to get disheartened; persist even when you’re not in the mood. It’s the repetitive nature of the habit that you need to master. Soon enough you’ll hate missing gym sessions and will do anything you can to catch up.

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3. Take Small Steps
Throwing yourself in at the deep end won’t work. Not only will it leave you disheartened, but it also makes you more prone to injury. If you’re a complete beginner, take small steps, focusing on the key areas you want to work on. Once you start to get frustrated by how easy your initial training is, you’ll naturally want to challenge and push yourself; but again, don’t overdo it.

To begin with, avoid high impact workouts that put excessive strain on the joints, such as running – there’s no such thing as ‘no pain, no gain.’ Instead, concentrate on exercises that are less intense, like swimming or yoga to improve flexibility.

There are thousands of training plans and guides available on the web, designed to help fitness-newbies get off on the right foot.

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4. Exercise First Thing In The Morning
Many argue that they haven’t got the time to exercise, and a way to overcome this obstacle is by embracing morning workouts. Set an earlier alarm and don’t hit snooze; in fact, don’t think at all. Just jump out of bed, don your gym gear and get moving.

Early morning workouts come with a plenitude of benefits. Not only does setting your alarm an hour earlier free up the rest of your day; it sharpens your focus, boosts your metabolic rate and improves your mood.

And to top it off, research made by the University of New South Wales also found that early exercisers are also ‘more likely to stick with a fitness regime than those who leave it until later in the day.’ If you want your fitness habit to stick, be an early bird.

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5. Go Digital and Social
Turn your social media addiction into a love for exercise. If you’re constantly posting, tweeting or checking-in, use it to your advantage by keeping friends and followers updated with your fitness progress. For some, knowing that all eyes are on them is the perfect incentive to get off the couch and on the treadmill.

If social networking isn’t your thing and you hate the thought of sharing before and after pics, make fitness apps your new gym buddy. Nike Training Club and the like are a great source of new workouts and motivation, not to mention a useful way to track your progress.

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6. Do It For Charity
If you’re stuck for a reason to drag yourself out of bed and lace up your running shoes, give purpose to your workouts by doing it for charity. Set sky-high goals and achieve the impossible, whilst raising hundreds of pounds for a cause that’s close to your heart.

There’s one danger of getting addicted to exercise, and that’s doing it for the wrong reasons. Sure you’ll look amazing, but don’t let the physical benefits drive you to workout more and more. Exercising for a charity makes it not about personal gain, but the greater good – a really empowering and fulfilling way to gain perspective and get fit in one.

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5 Reasons To Intensify Your Workout

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A regular workout routine is important for your body—but not if it’s keeping you from seeing results.

“Your body eventually adapts to the training requirements and demands placed on it,” says John Locke, owner of Fast and Fitness training facility in New York City.

Wondering if you’re suffering from workout fatigue? Locke shares some signs that it’s time to start mixing things up—starting right now.

1. You’re breezing through reps without putting in much effort.
“If a client is continuously training at the same level, your brain already prepares the body for that load,” says Locke. Therefore, your muscles won’t be as stressed, and you’ll hit a veritable plateau when it comes to improvement.

By changing things up (grabbing heavier weights, playing with tempo, doing a more challenging variation of a move), you’ll keep that stress load constant and will continue to see changes.

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2. You’re still running 3 miles in 30 minutes (or whatever your pace may be).
Are you generally running at a consistent intensity, distance or frequency without increasing or changing one of those variables? It’s time to kick things into high gear, says Locke. That could mean it’s time to start adding in speed drills or just ramping up your mileage a few days a week.

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3. Your legs feel strong—but your arms feel weak
That 7 a.m. Spin class is doing wonders for your butt and legs, but you’re still struggling to do a regular push-up. If that sounds like you, you need to add more variety and cross-training sessions to your workout regime.

Look at a week’s worth of your workouts and ask yourself: are you hitting every muscle group and are you logging cardiovascular, strength, agility and flexibility sessions? If you are that Spin junkie, think about trying a yoga or CrossFit class once a week to target your arms, chest and shoulders, too.

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4. You no longer feel breathless during your usual high-intensity interval training workout.
Once your body is used to the same routine, “it doesn’t need to expend as much energy anymore, so it conserves energy,” making you less tired, says Locke.

You’ll notice less post-workout fatigue or soreness, too, which means you’re not gonna see change. And you won’t burn as many calories—part of why you’re doing a high-intensity workout in the first place, right?

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5. You can sing along to all the words of your favorite song while working out.
No, we’re not talking about belting out some Taylor Swift in your head.

“If you can sing out loud while exercising, you’re only working out at a moderate-intensity level, max,” explains Locke. So push yourself and pick up the pace or cut the length of your recovery intervals during your next sweat session. You’ll be feeling the burn again soon.

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