off day workout running

Some days we head to the gym or hit the road for a run and feel amazing. You might feel like you could run forever or lift heavier weights than usual. Unfortunately, the opposite can be true too and you turn up at the gym or go out for your run feeling terrible. These 5 reasons might explain your ‘off-day’ and can help you understand how to make them less frequent.

You didn’t have a great night’s sleep

Some days you wake up feeling fully refreshed after a good night’s sleep and some days you wake up feeling like you’ve been hit by a train and that you didn’t sleep at all. There are all number of factors why you might not have had a good night’s sleep from an outside disturbance to a snoring partner, and many of these are sadly out of your control. You perhaps didn’t realise that you didn’t sleep so well and that’s why you can’t understand why you feel so rotten or why your training session didn’t go so well.  However, a bad night’s sleep will definitely affect your training so make sure to get a good quality sleep as often as possible and if you do find there are disturbances, try to minimise them as best you can.

You didn’t eat right

If you are a runner, you know that you need good quality complex carbs to fuel your runs and as a gym-goer you’ll know you need lean protein to repair your muscles. Perhaps you had an off-day with your eating or you couldn’t follow your usual routine due to eating out with friends or having family over. Again, you may not have realised that you ate differently to usual but even a slight change or slip-up could be the difference between a good training session and a bad one. The best thing to do is not to worry about it and get back on track as soon as you can.

running girl beach

You need a rest day

If you’ve been on a roll with your training and suddenly have an off-day, it could be a sign that you need to take a rest day.  It’s important to take complete rest days every few days, especially if you are training intensely, to give your body a chance to recover. If you are a weight lifter or body builder, you shouldn’t try to cram in cardio sessions on your rest days; it’s best to rest completely. Don’t be afraid of losing progress as rest days are just as important as training days when it comes to improving, and once you get back to training you will notice the difference.

stretching workout woman tree

You’re being affected by hormonal changes

This one is perhaps less obvious, but it can happen to anyone at any time. If you can’t think of any other reason why you’re feeling off, it may well be your hormones. Your hormones spike and drop all the time and are affected by everything from light to sleep to what you eat. Listen to your body and take it easy if your run is feeling particularly hard. You might have low blood sugar or a slight hormone imbalance which is making your training tougher. This should pass and will be rectified with a good night’s sleep and healthy diet.

You had a stressful day

This is something a lot of us can’t control. While it may feel like hitting the gym after a stressful day is a great way to relieve some of the stress, it can still affect your performance. A long, tiring day will make you sluggish and a run or gym session won’t necessarily make you feel better, in fact it could make you feel worse. What’s more, if you didn’t particularly realise it was a stressful day you won’t know why you’re not feeling your usual self. Anything from a longer commute than usual, traffic, or screaming kids can raise your stress levels and leave you feeling off. Again, the best way to combat this is to go easy on yourself and know that you’ll be back to normal after a good night’s sleep and something nutritious to eat.

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