You hit the gym 3 (or 4 or 5) days per week. You’ve been tracking your meals, and watching portions. You’re even starting to think about your rest and recovery habits as a part of this whole process of improving your aesthetics.
It’s the first week of February… You could be on your newly formed resolution to get fit, finally, or you might be on the continual course of self-improvement.
Regardless of whether or not you’ve been at these changes for only the past 4 weeks, or 4 months, you might not be seeing the results you’d hoped for.
This is understandable. Most of us are impatient, and want everything yesterday.
And it doesn’t help that the media is shoving unrealistic images, and catchy phrases down our throats every second.
In fact, here’s one crazy statement I saw in the supermarket.
This is just one of the many messages we see constantly, and it’s not serving us.
Today, I’m going to help you understand just where you might be messing up, even if you’re supposedly doing all the right things… I’ll be acting as your course-corrector so-to-speak.
Physique transformation is a matter of putting the pieces together in a manner that make sense.
All variables complement each other. The training is what forces the body to adapt, and change itself.
Your training also tells your body what to do with the food [thanks to coach Amir for putting it so succinctly].
Your food intake (and macronutrient composition) determines whether you lose fat, or maintain your body fat levels.
The types of food determine how you function, and operate. For example, you need a good balance of protein, carbohydrate and fat to ensure many things, such as:
- repair and rebuilding of lean tissue
- you get enough energy to fuel your sessions (going low carb is most always a bad idea here)
- allowing for a proper intake of micronutrients which supports your bones, muscles, hormones, and other essential bodily functions
The way you relax and rest determines your ability to recover, and thusly binds your training and nutrition efforts.
And lastly, the way you make all this fit together (ie: planning, and discipline) is what makes it all work in the longer term, and is what guarantees your results… because let’s face it. Time is going to pass anyway, so why not do what you must to get the results you want sooner than later?
Let’s dive in on how you just might be messing up one or more of the 4 ideas above.
1. Nutritional Tracking, and Accountability
The way one plans their nutrition is highly personal, and should take into account the psychological needs of the individual. On a personal level, I can stick to just about any type of plan. I’m relatively indifferent, but some of my clients and readers? They’re a different story.
Some prefer to operate on relative extremes when it comes to their diets. In LGN365, I have many folks carb cycling based on their training focus. But others prefer to eat light throughout the week, and consume a truckload of food on the weekend.
How you achieve the negative calorie balance (if your goal is fat loss), within reason, of course, is mostly irrelevant as long as you’re adhering of the main principles (getting enough nutrients to support your work/life demands).
Note: I’m not advocating extreme cases of daily or weekly fasting, or any highly variable binge/starve cycles where you end up famished and weak.
So where do people tend to mess up?
It’s either planning their meals, or tracking accurately, or being consistent enough with their food plan to make an accurate assessment in terms of progress.
Many will start with great intentions. They’ve gotten their macro plan laid out. They know how they plan to prep their breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. They have a plan for eating out, and how to avoid certain trigger foods.
But then one of many things happen.
One issue is going from strict tracking to loose tracking, and eventually to eye-balling.
When you first start out, and are serious about nailing your intake on a consistent basis, you plan accordingly, and track every meal. It’s not 100% perfection, but it’s close enough, and you know it.
But over time, as things become easier with the whole tracking process, and you become accustomed to it, it’s very easy to start loosening the grip somewhat.
Instead of tracking each meal, you begin to wing it and only track every few meals.
Then you may allow for a snack or two that goes unaccounted for. After a few weeks of this, you may be completely unaware of these little snacks, and only remember making a mental note of your main meals.
And then, some stop tracking altogether with their newfound freedom, and confidence in being able to track everything mentally, without needing to measure and keep notes. This rarely ever works, by the way.
This is where overconfidence and, sometimes, laziness come together to make you think you’re doing better than you really are. And the lack of progress will be sure to remind of how far you may have gotten off track.
For more info on the proper protein intake, see this article: How much protein do I need?
2. Training — Screwing with the Program (and wondering why it ain’t working)
Sort of like the food issues above, people tend to get too comfortable with what they’re doing in the gym. Instead of pushing for more intensity gradually overtime, they end up doing the following:
- Pushing too hard, way too soon, and injuring, or burning themselves out
- Changing movements, or rep schemes on the fly based on emotions or small inconveniences (such as momentary gym limitations, or being rushed)
- Going through the motions, not paying attention to the training, and as a result, regressing from lack of actual work being done (it should never be easy)
- Missing days unexpectedly, and without valid excuse
Your training should serve as a means to get to the end-goal, whatever that may be. The problem is it’s easy to get caught up in the riff raff above and not actually pay attention until you’re 12 weeks into the process and wondering why nothing’s changed with your physique.
In order to see the full benefits of a program, it needs to be carried out over time, and we must be able to measure it.
3. Neglecting Proper Sleep and Recovery
In the west, we’re obsessed with productivity, and working long hours because it simply must be done. The problem with these demands is it leaves very little time to properly rest and recover from our training and dieting efforts.
Training is a stressor. Dieting is a stressor. Worrying about whether or not you’ll reach your fat loss goal in ‘x’ amount of weeks for your beach vacation is a stressor. Staying up until 1 a.m. and then getting up at 5:30 for work is a stressor.
Add all of these add up together, and you’ve got a recipe for burnout, overtraining, and possibly injury.
100 years ago, it was more common to be in sync with the natural biological rhythms of rising and falling with the sunshine (circadian rhythm), but in modern times, we can have bright lights in our eyes 24 hours per day very easily without much thought as to how it’s negatively affecting us.
Go a few days without proper sleep and you’ll notice a dip in performance in the weight room. You’ll also notice that lack of sleep can affect hunger levels, and even make it harder to stick to any diet or training guides you’ve set for yourself.
Go too long without any rest, or sleep, and well… you just might die. Seriously.
It’s important, and due to our constant need for Facebook and Twitter feeds, our phones and tablets just might be robbing us of the sleep we desperately need for our physique-enhancement endeavors.
4. You Lack Discipline
To get any of the previous points 1 through 3 in order, you need the following:
Discipline is one of those ideas that seems antiquated, or unsexy. Why be disciplined when just about everything you could ever want (speaking both literally and figuratively here) is at your fingertips?
Why put in any effort, or time, or focus?
Because building your physique takes effort, focus and dedication, and you’d be robbing yourself of an experience rich in achievement if you try to take shortcuts, or gave anything less than your very best.
In the next installment, I’m going to reveal all the practical ideas and exact steps to fixing all the slip-ups I mentioned above. I’ll have a full article + video + audio explanations on how to correct the areas you’re messing up in to get the results you want.
WHAT ARE YOU STRUGGLING THE MOST WITH?
Let us know in the comments below.