I love a good sweat just like the next person, but is it necessary to push yourself to sweat it out with every workout to make it “count”?
I know many of us have the perception that if we don’t lay it all out, put in our biggest effort, and leave the gym with sweat soaked clothes, we didn’t “work hard enough”. And if we didn’t work hard enough, then we didn’t burn enough calories, we must’ve been lazy, we must not be trying hard enough. On and on we go in our minds, and the next thing you know, we’re using sweat to quantify our self worth. Um, WHAT?!
Let’s just put aside the fact that genetically some people sweat more than others, or if you’re working out in a heated room or outside in the summer, you’re guaranteed to sweat more. Let’s just look at the average woman who works out in an air conditioned gym. If she heads to the gym for a workout and barely has a damp brow when she’s done, was her effort not high enough? Will she therefore not see results?
In short: NO!
I know for a fact that many women will jump on a cardio machine before or after a weight training session just for that reason alone. To them, a 30-40 min weight training session doesn’t feel like an effective workout. Why? Because they’re not sweating enough! I think we need to take a look at this on a deeper level. Why are you working out in the first place? What is your intention? How do you feel about your body? Where is your self worth at these days?
Webster defines a workout as “a practice or exercise to test or improve one’s fitness for athletic competition, ability, or performance.”
So basically ANY kind of exercise to improve your performance is a ‘workout’. Even if that performance is to just be able to get up and down off the floor without effort, or reduce your low back pain. Therefore it would stand to reason that ALL movement, ALL exercise is “good enough”. Foam rolling significantly improves your ability to function, so it’s a great workout! Cat cows and down dogs are wonderful for increasing your movement potential. Going for a leisurely walk would also be a workout. It doesn’t always have to be an all out effort!
If you’re the type of person who “needs” to sweat, I would take a step back for a moment and ask yourself WHY. Don’t be ashamed or stressed about it. I’m sure that 95% of the people reading this are in the same boat as you! I was too! I’m just asking you to bring awareness into these patterns you may be holding. I’m just trying to break the paradigm that we always need to be going harder, faster, and stronger. Sometimes, just sometimes, maybe it’s OK to relax. Use light weights, or just body weight, take longer rests between sets, spend some quality time stretching, keep your heart rate under 100bpm. Skip the cardio finish at the end and grab a foam roller instead….And then be OK with it!
Because here’s the thing – if you’re always seeking the biggest sweat, the all out effort, guess what will eventually happen? Burnout, injury, and stress! So here’s a challenge for you. The next time you head to the gym, move a bit slower, do things mindfully, breath, and move with intention. See what happens….and make sure to let me know!
In Wellness, Krista