Obviously we train to see progress yet sometimes we feel like we’re slaving in the gym but getting nowhere. Without evidence of progress, sessions become mundane, you may skip one or two, and before you know it you’ve lost all motivation and not going at all. Here’s a brief look at some of the possible reasons for your lack of progress:
You’re not eating enough – Sounds silly right? You’re not losing weight because you’re not eating enough? “Take this man and have him publicly executed.” But this may in fact be one of the reasons why. What I’m referring to is the CONSISTENCY of your meals – you need to eat approximately every 2-3 hours to keep that metabolism pumping. The key here is portion size – you still want to be around the recommended calorie intake for your specific goal but the constant eating will help your food digest properly and help fight cravings and the possible BINGE session. A breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, supper is a commonly used split with roughly 2 hours between each.
Drinking – As we know our body is made up mostly of water and if you restrict it of fluids or put in useless fluids it’s not going to function at its full potential. Alcohol contains what the fitness world call “EMPTY CARBS” and these are of absolutely no value to your body. Quick nutrition lesson. Each gram (or mL because its liquid but they’re equivalent) of alcohol contains 7 calories. Now this is only just 2 calories behind Fat (9 cal per gram). The other two main nutrients (Carbohydrates and Protein) only contain 4 calories per gram. This means on a night where you’ve had a few drinks, especially if drinking pre-mixes containing soft drink or beers, you can easily have more than a whole days calorie intake from drinks alone. Other than that a hangover will cause you to be lazy the next day or two and you wont be training at your peak, that is if you even make it to the gym! So try going dry for a while and you may surprise yourself at your gains.
Heart Rate – You may be training everyday, gym and cardio, but if your heart rate is not above resting you are wasting your time. For example if you are on the pec flye machine complete a set and then take a break for a couple of minutes before your next set, your heart rate has more than enough time to return to “resting” mode. This is a common mistake novice gym goers make because machines are the easiest to use. They are still fine to use but it is better to use them in a “circuit” routine or in a superset with another machine or exercise. Also with cardio, we need to elevate the heart rate and keep it up there for a decent amount of time. Interval training is of the most value to you when stripping fat or attempting to replace it with muscle. You want to peak that heart rate, recover for a bit but not long enough for it to return all the way to resting and then pump it up again. Successful cardio is about raising the heart rate and more importantly keeping it there.
These are a few of the reasons you may not be seeing the gains you want to in your physique. Quite simple really but some people don’t fully comprehend how important the simple things are. If you stay consistent, train hard, eat clean, your body will have no choice but to give you gains towards whatever your goal is!