There is nothing more frustrating than doing everything you believe is necessary and not seeing the results you expect to see.
Eating healthy food, exercising consistently, getting 10,000 steps/day. I mean, what else is there?
My heart goes out to you because there is nothing more upsetting than making an effort and feeling like it gets you nowhere. But, don’t be fooled into believing you’re at some sort of dead-end with nothing to do about it.
There are many paths in fitness and well-being. Your body just needs you to find your own path!
Let’s explore some options to get you out of that rut.
You’re not exercising enough
Many people I’ve worked with expect to see results in a couple of weeks with 2-3 trips to the gym weekly. If I had not set the record straight, they likely would have given up in disappointment.
Though some exercise is certainly better than none, 2 or 3 days of challenging activity for 30 to 60-minutes every week is only enough for you to maintain your current fitness level.
But don’t get worried if your body doesn’t change dramatically because you decide to spend 3 out of your 168 hours in a week (about 1.7% of your time in a week) at the gym.
Poor fitness and well-being come about (in part) from living a life that is more than 99% inactive. Case in point, how much time do you spend watching TV or scrolling through Facebook? If you’re serious about your health, I think you can spare an hour or two (4 to 5 days/week is optimal) in dedication to reaching your goals.
You’re exercising too much
So all that endurance training and carbohydrate consumption has started to collect around your midsection and you think you’re just going to add another day of running to combat it? Think again.
Your body likely can’t handle more cardio and is mal-recovering which is why you’re gaining fat in your midsection to begin with. More is not the answer.
Consider trading (not ADDING, TRADING) a day or two of your training regimen for resistance training to boost the hormones that promote fat metabolism and allow your subsequent training days to be lighter intensity and shorter duration so that body can properly adapt and recover!
You’re doing it wrong
There is a deep science to matching your current metabolic, musculoskeletal and lifestyle conditions to the right nutrition, exercise, and behavioral modifications.
Does your cardio and nutrition match your metabolic needs?
You can either spend a few hundred hours getting educated on anatomy and physiology or you can partner with someone who does this for a living. I encourage a combination of both.
You need a chill pill
Your fight or flight response is an amazing tool. Great for getting away from tigers when they jump out from behind streetlights to eat you. But awful if it’s chronically activated by your #firstworldproblems.
If your high-stress life is interfering with your workout recovery, motivational mindset and overall sense of well-being, consider adding mindful recovery to your week.
Yoga, meditation, dry sauna, Jacuzzi chill time, massage, etc… there a lot of options inside and outside of Life Time.
Truly your option is to take a chill pill or keep taking the stress pill. The difference is that one of them is literally sapping the life from you, and your time here on earth will be shorter if you don’t make the switch soon.
You need more time
How long did it take you to get to where you are right now? If you’ve been at this unhealthy thing for a couple of years or more, then don’t expect to see a lot of changes in your first month or two of any new program.
In general, I encourage my clients to take a long-term, one-quarter view. If it took you 4 years to get this out of shape, then it’s going to take you 1 year (one quarter of that time) to get to a place of fitness that is going to stick with you.
Does that discourage you? I need you to suck it up or get connected to a support system to high-five you when you need it. True and lasting change takes time and is the result of what you consistently do with your body and mind.
If you have been consistently unhealthy, accept the fact that it will take your body a while to respond to being consistently healthy. While you’re waiting for the change you want to see, I encourage you to focus on the other positive changes that DO HAPPEN quickly.
You’re looking at the wrong measures
On that note, what are you measuring?
If you’re only looking at weight on the scale, then you’re missing out.
Most people see increased energy, decreased body fat, better-fitting clothes, more strength, flexibility and balance, restored athletic identity, lessened stress, improved food choices, renewed purpose and focus, (the list goes on and on) before they see significant weight change.
When you are on a fitness journey, you can’t capture the progress of the journey in only weight lost. There is so much along the way that you’ll miss if you don’t look for it.
Take those measures for yourself and track your progress. Ask supportive others around you what is different. You may have changed more than you think!
You’re training like a zombie
Are you on autopilot? Mindlessly working your way through some monotonous movements? Stop it.
The most important “muscle” in your workout is your brain. If you’re not engaged and focused on the quality of your movements, the little wins in your trip to the gym, or just present in the moment, then that’s what you are conditioning your mind to do: check out during exercise.
Why do you think athletes train super-hard? Because they LOVE being out of breath and sweating while their muscles burn from valiant lactic protest?
No. We train that way because we LOVE what we are doing. It is engaging, consuming, and challenging and our primate brains can’t get enough of the “Flow-State” it puts us in.
Sure, sometimes we have to supplement our training with something boring and monotonous (cue base building…bring a book!). But that’s only a very small part of our training.
Find something you love to do and do it. Not only will you see better results from it, but you’ll carry that with you the rest of your life.
Something’s up inside
Sometimes genetics, poor fitness level, or cosmic gamma rays (no joke, they’re flying through you right now) cause the body NOT to adapt to activity and nutrients like a normal diurnal mammal should.
If you suspect this is the case for you, I suggest getting a full blood panel done.
Unfortunately for many, they get this feeling but the subsequent testing they have access to on the medical front is incomplete and so nothing gets resolved.
I say that if your well-being is truly being hampered, you should be empowered to discover what your body is trying to tell you about what is wrong.
Get tested, take the educated steps to fix the issues, and enjoy changing like a normal mammal.
You got yourself here, you can get yourself out.
But lucky for you, you don’t have to be in this alone (unless that’s how you like it!).
You will see results if you train enough (but not too much!), get engaged in your workouts, test your blood, track measures that matter now, stick with it and chill out.
If you need a hand, I’ll be on the fitness floor dolling out high fives, education and motivation during rest periods and tough-love during working sets.
There is plenty for you — come and get it!