Gaining the perfect physique and optimum health is often not as straightforward as simply popping into the gym a few times a week. Getting great results can take time, perseverance and perhaps some experimentation and thought towards the kind of training you’re doing, food and drink you’re consuming and lifestyle you’re leading.
If what you’re doing isn’t yielding the results you want do not get disappointed Embrace it and see it as part of the learning curve towards finding out what works for YOU. Remember, everyone is different and what gets me results may not work for you.
Below are five reasons why you aren’t hitting your health and fitness goals.
You’re not lifting heavy enough
You may not be gaining the muscle or tone you desire because you’re not lifting heavy. Male, female, old and young should include strong lifting into their training schedule. An obsession with cardio, calorie equations and core exercises is stunting people’s development and stopping them from getting the results and look they desire. Spending hours on the treadmill and not getting the look you want? Then add some heavy-ass weight to your routine, or try sprinting as fast as you can over 100 meters instead of bouncing along for hours.
You’re eating too often
The often-repeated ‘eat many small meals a day to keep your metabolism burning strong’ is unproven and false. 50 years ago snacking was frowned upon, people ate a few meals a day and obesity was almost unheard of. Now we’re told that we must be constantly eating all the time or we’ll go into ‘starvation mode’ – more wild, unproven claims masquerading as fact in health magazines and diet guides. If you’re trying to lose weight (or perhaps you would like to give you digestive system a break from constantly working), try having longer periods between eating. Your body will thank you for it.
Other sub-reasons would be ‘you’re eating too much’ or ‘you’re eating foods that you’re body doesn’t respond well to’. More on that another time.
You’re not moving enough
Training hard in the gym is sometimes not enough – you need to grab every chance possible to move. Our bodies were designed to be active and you need to take a dynamic approach to making movement part of your everyday routine. The old cliche ‘take the stairs instead of the lift’ is a little tired now, but very true. Walk instead of taking the bus, stand up and do some dynamic stretching a few times a day, play football instead of watching TV. Don’t see this as a chore – make it a habit. You may find that this additional exercise gives you the extra boost needed to hit your goals.
Start by walking home from the gym – the perfect cooldown. To go from a great, active workout with big movements straight into collapsing in front of the TV or jumping in the car and remaining static is not good for your body.
You think looking good is all about diet and exercise
Don’t get me wrong, diet and exercise are two huge pieces of the health and fitness jigsaw, and for some people this gets them looking and feeling 100%. However, the hormonal effects of things such as lack of sleep, stress, exposure to sunlight and happiness can play an essential part. Sleep and relaxation is essential for your muscles and body to repair and grow; sunlight gives us a healthy boost of vitamin D that leaves you looking and feeling energized; stress and tension can negatively impact your endocrine (hormonal) system, which needs to be running smoothly to give you a radiant, strong and healthy body.
Do not dismiss these factors. They are often underestimated and should be strongly considered if you’re not looking and feeling how you want.
You don’t want it enough
One of the most common questions I’m asked is “how do I lose this”, whilst pinching an often minimal amount of body fat around their stomach. Sometimes I’m not sure how to answer… Are they looking for a magic exercise? A five minute routine they can do before bed, perhaps?
The truth is often a sacrifice beyond what some people are prepared to do – lift heavy and regularly, mix in some HIIT training, pay close attention to your eating patterns and diet and experiment with how your body reacts to different foods, make sure you get 7-8 hours sleep a night, reduce alcohol consumption, eat very little processed food, do hill sprints/ kettlebell training/sled pushing etc, and so on.
Of course, some people embrace all this and get insane results, and some opt to strike a balance with the kind of lifestyle they enjoy and so don’t look like a fitness model. There’s nothing wrong with this at all, it’s just about finding out what’s important to you and being realistic about what it takes to achieve it.
So there are a few reasons why you might not be getting the results you desire. I hope it helps you make some positive changes and understand more about the complete fitness picture. If you would like help overcoming a plateau or need some inspiration and help to get strong, please contact me.
Yours in strength,