You’ve been at it for 30 days. You’ve worked your tail off. In addition, it’s not easy to make it to the gym, manage work, get home in time to deal with screaming kids and make dinner for your family. 30 days of torture. And yet, you jump on the scale and all that work has resulted in a 2-pound gain. WTF!!!
It happens all the time and is actually the main reason why people can’t adhere to a lifestyle change. Being disappointed with the lack of changes you are seeing is human nature. Most people want instant gratification for their effort, but it’s important to understand that there are several factors that could be impacting the results we achieve in the gym.
1. Definition of results
We are typically our own worse critic and only notice drastic changes in our fitness level or appearance, if at all. We can seek validation from a number on the scale or clothing size, only to be left disappointed if the number didn’t shift in our favor or our clothes still fit the same.
Having a personal trainer complete a complimentary body composition for you at the beginning of your journey will give you a great benchmark to see what is occurring with your body fat and muscle percentages. Those numbers will provide a much more accurate picture of what’s changing in your body than what you can see in the mirror or on a scale.
It should be added, use caution when relying too heavily on a number to confirm whether your efforts are paying off. You also need to focus on the other benefits that come with regular physical activity such as increases in strength, endurance, and energy. Other benefits include improved quality of sleep and alertness. The aesthetic changes that will come once your healthy habits have been in place a little longer.
2. Workout Plan
Do you have a clear idea of what to do each time you visit the gym and a purpose for each workout? Are you doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results?
A balance between resistance and cardiovascular activity is important for any goal, however, we tend to favor the type of training that comes easiest to us. This eventually can cause our results to come up short. Training outside of our preferences and favorite exercises challenges us to work on our weaknesses and work at an appropriate intensity. Your body is incredibly adaptable and needs to be challenged for change and growth to occur.
- Venture to the weights if cardio is your usual go-to.
- Finish your routine with some cardio intervals if you only ever lift iron
- Hit both upper body and lower body exercises throughout the week
- Take the guesswork out of your visits and attend a Team45 (small group personal training program) or group fitness class that will give you new ideas and encourage you to push yourself
You have probably heard “you can’t out-exercise a bad diet,” and while nutrition plays a huge role in how we perform in the gym and the results you’ll see, you don’t need to be extreme or complicate things to lose body fat or gain muscle.
- Are you overeating and consuming excessive calories out of habit or boredom?
- Do you drink your calories in the form of caffeinated or alcoholic beverages?
- Do you under eat or not eat frequently enough, thus depriving your body of the nutrients it needs to perform? (This can lead to a restrict and binge cycle that can be difficult physically and mentally.)
- Are you including the proper balance of carbohydrates, fats and proteins and listening to your hunger and fullness cues?
If you need help filtering through all the fad diets and nutrition information that is available, seek the support through habit based nutrition coaching programs and focus on what works for you through a simplified, customized plan.
Ensuring you have enough sleep (most experts recommend a minimum of 7 hours per night) allows your body to properly process and store calories. Three separate processes can be directly affected by a lack of sleep.
- The release of insulin and storage of fat
- The release of leptin and ghrelin (controls our eating habits)
- The maintenance and synthesis of muscle (can increase our resting metabolic rate)
5. Patience and Consistency
If you have established a balanced and challenging workout routine, along with sustainable nutrition habits, your next step is the hardest. Be patient and consistent with your efforts.
Maintaining positive changes requires you to stick the course long term, so your job is to get used to the slow and steady changes that come with healthy habits and remember that success is never linear.