Although we might think we’re doing all the right things to get fit, we often miss daily habits, routines, and thoughts that keep us from reaching our goals. Identifying the problem is the first step towards finding a solution. If you’re not getting the results you want, the following reasons might be why.
- Exercise Rut: Are you a creature of habit, doing the same exercises with no variations? Your body adapts and improves when you challenge it. Stay with the same routine too long and your fitness could actually regress. Change up your routine approximately every four to six weeks to keep things fresh, motivational, and challenging.
- Inconsistent Training: Because muscle is metabolically active, it responds to being progressively stimulated with resistance training. Consistent training means your body must adapt to the demands placed on it. Exercising once or twice a week followed by days of missed workouts will produce little to no results.
- Under-Recovering: How often are you working out? How long are your workouts? Recovery times vary from person to person; but there are signs to look for, like an elevated resting heart rate, sleep disturbances, lack of motivation, and lack of appetite. Never getting a chance to recover can lead to injuries and illness.
- Lack of Sleep: Your growth happens when you sleep. You might be able to get away with a few days of inadequate sleep, but your body will quickly communicate the need. Inadequate sleep disrupts the balance of the appetite, increasing levels of the hormone ghrelin, while leptin, the hormone that tells you you’re full, is suppressed . People that consistently get less than six hours of sleep have a higher BMI.
- Hours of Sitting: Hours at a desk is not only bad for your health but also leaves you with posture problems, muscle tightness in one area, and weakness in another . And studies show that the effects can’t be offset by just a morning workout. Make the effort to stand up and move throughout your day.
- Weekend Bingeing: All week you exercise and eat the right foods, but come the weekend you’re a party animal. Weekends are wonderful for relaxing from a hard work week, but be mindful of inhaling junk food as a way to unwind. You want to be full of motivation and feeling ready for a new week come Monday, not nursing a hangover and frantically searching for the elastic waist pants to deal with bloating.
- Eating Out: The problem with eating at restaurants is that most don’t provide nutritional information. Even if your chicken or fish is grilled or baked, it’s likely coated in butter and salt. Try requesting your chicken and fish without oils and seasoning, say no to the chip or bread basket, and stick with water with lemon. Ask to have any chips or fries left off your plate. You can’t eat what’s not in front of you.
- Analysis Paralysis: With a gazillion workouts available, deciding which one will give the best results can be a bit overwhelming. There’s HIIT, CrossFit, Zumba, Spinning, yoga, running, weights, circuit training, high reps, low reps, supersets, drop-sets, group classes, DVD’s, and more. The best workout is the one you’ll do consistently and meets your personal goals. Find what works for YOU.
- Poor Planning: Healthy living requires some organization and planning. If you’re hoping to squeeze in a workout and have no idea where your meals will be, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Plan by scheduling workouts in advance and food shopping for the coming week.
- Social Pressure: Although we can’t blame others for our own choices, we do need to recognize when they influence them. Avoid situations where you’ve caved to peer pressure in the past. You won’t regret the margarita guzzling and chip devouring tomorrow when you pull on your workout shorts.
- Negative Self-talk: Phrases like “I’ll always be heavy” and “I’m not good at sports” are all negative self-talk. Words have power; keep them positive. Most people never think twice about encouraging others when they hear them talk about themselves in a negative way, yet they don’t think twice about negative self-talk. Become your own best friend.
- Emotional Eating: Do you find yourself reaching for food when you’re sad or bored? Do you reward yourself with food? Sometimes we’re not even aware that we’re using food to medicate our emotions. Use non-food items as rewards like new sneakers, workout shorts, books, or movies. Emotional eating creates a cycle of feel bad, eat, feel worse, eat more. Be mindful of the food-emotion connection.
- Stress: Are you stressed out by a mountain of responsibilities? Chronic stress is linked to heart disease, a suppressed immune system, sleep problems, depression, obesity, and more . Search for ways to positively direct and deal with stress. It’s often an overlooked source of underlying health issues.
- Guilt: I find guilt to be a very unproductive emotion. Guilt doesn’t seem to motivate you to be better. Guilty means you did something wrong and feel bad about it. Unless you can direct that negative feeling and turn it into motivation to do better, you can find yourself stuck. Realizing you have failed and need to change something is awesome, but when there’s no solution in sight, the guilt can create a downward spiral leading to a feeling of defeat.
- Unworthiness: You can have all the best workout equipment and access to the most nutritious foods available, but if you feel unworthy of the investment in your fitness, you’ll stay at the place you are now. Although it’s awesome to have people and things that motivate us, ultimately we have to find that voice inside of us that tells us we’re worth it.