BY EOIN EVERARD
Feel like you’re not getting anywhere with your current programme? – Or you were but now you’re progress has completely stalled?
Here’s why this is more than likely the case…
While more and more people are making wise decisions regarding their health and fitness, it is likely true that many of us are not seeing the benefits of our fitness regimen that we would expect given the time and effort that we put into becoming in shape. This disappointing lack of results is actually the most frequent excuse given for not exercising, along with a lack of time.
Many of us frequently perform admirably throughout the first week before suddenly and mysteriously seeing no more development. This might happen a few weeks or a few months down the road but there generally seems to be a plateau that we hit in our fitness. Nevertheless, why is this the case and what can we do to change it?
Here are five common reasons and some practical steps to fix it.
1. Your Technique is Poor
A lot of times doing exercises incorrectly can not only increase your chance of injury but also reduce the results we see when working out.
If you do a plank with an arch in your back for example then you are predominately working the hip flexors and not the core. The same goes for poor squat or deadlift technique, where the back is being overly stressed rather than the glutes and legs being worked the way they should.
The BackAware Belt is a new technology coming on stream that gives you feedback on your back position. It allows you to know if you are doing exercises correctly so you start working the muscles you are targeting.
2. You work out way too much
I understand that it may sound unusual for someone who should be an advocate for regular exercise to advise you to exercise less frequently, but for some of us, engaging in less scheduled exercise may really produce greater outcomes. Recognizing that exercise causes stress is crucial because, like all forms of stress, it can be beneficial as long as we don’t experience it frequently or for an extended period of time. If we keep pushing the limits of exercise without matching this with our rest and regeneration strategies, we will almost certainly hit the wall at some point. We need periods of stress, in this case exercise, punctuated with periods of rest, in this case good nutrition, sleep, hydration, and relaxation.
For the majority of us, the problem is under-recovering rather than overtraining. Our bodies are stronger than we realize, but we can only push ourselves so far because of our early mornings, late evenings, poor sleep, erratic eating habits, and high levels of stress. If we disregard this, we will exhaust ourselves physically and emotionally, our training will be of worse quality, and we won’t get the benefits of our gym time.
Solution: Aim for at least one rest day in the week and every second day should be relatively easier. If you do a HIIT or Gym type session Monday. Do an easy run or walk Tuesday before going back to a Sport Pilates, HIIT or Gym session Wednesday. Once in the year you should take an extended rest of at least 10 days off completely and then the rest of the month easy training to allow sufficient adaptation. We must keep in mind that we should only exercise to the extent that we can recover if we want the best overall results.
3. You do not push yourself
The hardest workouts are frequently the most productive, especially if you regularly do home workouts. By asking the body questions it has never been asked before, or by pushing it a little bit harder, we can drive the body to adapt in order to change. Far from implying that exercise that doesn’t make you sick isn’t valuable, you should challenge yourself if you want the best outcomes in the shortest amount of time.
With the popularity of activities like metabolic resistance training and high intensity interval training, the phrase “train like you mean it” has been widely accepted, but the reality is that many of us do not push ourselves as hard as we should. The main cause of this, as previously indicated, is that we train too frequently. For many of us, this results in a constant state of mild weariness, which prevents us from truly pushing our physical or mental limitations.
Since quality, not quantity, is what makes exercise effective, the majority of us would probably perform better if we trained less but harder. Going through the motions during our workouts without inspiration or motivation will not produce long-term gains and will eventually cause frustration. A good rule of thumb is having two hard workouts in the week. Generally one Wednesday and one Saturday. These could be a running session, a hard gym session or HIIT class. Use the other sessions to improve aerobic or make them slightly easier.
4. You don’t vary up your workouts
You must give the body a reason to adapt and change if you want to see benefits. Practically speaking, this means that we need to adjust how we do things. The truth is that any program will be effective for six weeks, especially if you are new to exercising or it is significantly different from what you have done in the past, but performing the same thing repeatedly is very unlikely to lead to a different result. The main idea behind stress adaptation is that once we have adjusted to the stimulus, we must present the body with something fresh and more difficult so that it is compelled to continue adapting and changing.
The goal, like with most things, is to strike the appropriate balance, thus the secret is to avoid going overboard here. A program must have enough time to allow us to improve but not so much time that the exercises become stale and our progress is halted. For the majority of people, a change every four to six weeks is a decent rule of thumb, but it’s important to note that different people and personality types will fare better and respond to changes in different ways. Some of us require more of them, while others do better with a little less.
With our BackAware Program we have gym classes, Sports Pilates and Running Suggestions that are constantly changing. In this way you are getting constant variety allowing you to constantly improve.
5. You’re not eating right
Unless you are a full-time athlete or workout like one, then it is very difficult to out train a poor diet. A lot of us over value how many calories we have actually burned.
Although this is undoubtedly common knowledge, it bears repeating because it is the main factor in why many of us do not experience success. We all very conveniently choose to forget it. It is also important to keep in mind that some of us respond to exercise differently from others. It is important to examine in yourself if you seem to be able to eat a lot and not put on weight when you exercise or if you have to work both at the same time.
The secret is to find the eating and exercise regimen that works best for you. Exercise is really important.
As a side note, it is typically not advantageous to drastically alter both nutrition and exercise at the same time. A lot of us make the error of raising our level of activity while also cutting back on calories. Although this may help you lose weight at first, you’ll soon experience weariness, food cravings, and decreased workout performance, as described in the paragraphs above. We can be more consistent when we introduce change gradually, and consistency equates to better long-term outcomes.