Whether you’re a gym newbie or a fitness junkie, here are 6 reasons why your workouts aren’t working out – and our pro-tips for actually making progress, aesthetically and fitness-wise.
YOU’RE OUT EATING YOUR TRAINING
You can’t out exercise a bad diet, but you can out eat a good workout.
An increase in training intensity almost always makes you voraciously hungry. If your training goals are centred on muscle mass gain, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and can often help. However if you’re primarily concerned with weight loss or getting lean, turning your stomach into a bottomless pit isn’t ideal.
Support your workouts by eating a MACROnutrient focused diet, and cut down on the crap. That means booze (especially beer), sugar, and refined carbs.
YOU’RE NOT SLEEPING ENOUGH
Muscle gain and fat loss are influenced by more than just diet and exercise. A lack of sleep affects hormones which control your appetite, making you hungrier during the day and causing you to reach for a quick hit of energy from high-cal fatty and sugary foods. Sleep deprivation also slows down your metabolism and leaves you too tired to work out.
Aim for a minimum of seven hours of sleep a night – establish proper sleep habits by turning off electronic devices 30 minutes before bedtime, ditching caffeine in the afternoon, and ending the day with a cup of calming herbal tea.
YOU’RE STUCK IN A RUT
When you introduce a new workout into your regime, it initially stresses your body. Eventually your body adapts – each time you perform the same training routine you continue adapting until it’s no longer a challenge, causing your fitness to plateau and your body to burn less calories performing the same exercises.
Add variety to your workouts by changing it up every three to four weeks.
YOU’RE NOT STRENGTH TRAINING
If your training regime only focuses on cardio, you’ll likely lose weight (if you combine it with a good diet), but you’ll also be losing muscle. Cardio doesn’t contribute to muscle mass preservation or growth, leading to a loss in lean body mass which can stall your metabolism and cause your body to become less efficient at burning fat.
Cardio is great, but ensure you’re combining it with strength training to build muscle mass and lose fat.
YOU’RE LIFTING AT TOP SPEED
Faster doesn’t always equal better. That’s the case with strength training – when you lift slower, momentum plays less of a role, forcing your muscles to actually get working. Slow it down to build muscle mass and reduce the risk of injury.
STRESS STRESS STRESS
Junk food, tight deadlines, annoying bosses, and too much exercise all cause your body stress.
An excess of stress causes your body to go into a catabolic state, causing you to break down muscle and store fat – basically the opposite of what you’re aiming for.
If you’re training too hard, try taking your workout down a notch to make the most of the time you do spend working out.
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