Tuesday, March 29, 2011

5 Reasons you aren't getting results

The fitness world is full of people that try so hard to get lean, lose weight, run faster, jump higher, improve performance, bounce back from injury and so on. You can walk into any gym right now and every single person is there for a reason. Most gym goers workout with a goal in mind. "I want to lose weight". "I want to bench a certain weight." "I play football." "My doctor said I had to." What are your goals? Do you find yourself just going to the gym aimlessly without an objective or purpose? Are you stuck in a rut and can't figure a way out of the plateau? Have you lost all motivation to workout and eat healthy? Are you bored? Well these are all legitimate questions that are asked everyday with gym goers. Keeping and maintaining motivation to train, stay in shape and continue down the healthy path is tough. It's not all peaches and cream and it's definitely not a quick fix. But with the right motivation, a persistent attitude and a "go get em" approach, you can get results and stay in the game. Here are 5 reasons that you might not be getting the results you are looking for:

1. Your nutrition plan doesn't fit your goals. This to me, is the #1 reason most people do not get results in their fitness program. You might be doing everything right with your workouts but if your nutrition is not on the same lines as your goals then your results will be stagnate. A triathlete's diet should look different than a football player. A runner trying to lose weight should eat differently than a wrestler looking to pack on some muscle. Let's take a few examples. #1 A football player who is trying to pack on muscle in the off season should have a very dialed in nutrition plan. This athlete can lift week after week and if his diet is off and inconsistent with his goal, he will not gain muscle. First, he must figure out his BMR. There is an easy way of doing this. Just add a 0 to your weight. So if this athlete weighs 200 pounds, his Basal Metabolic Rate (calories he will use up at complete rest) will be approximately 2000 calories. Then you add in activity. If he is in the gym 5 days a week burning approximately 600 calories each workout, his weekly average would be 428. We add that to the BMR number. So now we have 2428 calories. Now you add in how active this athlete is outside of training. Does he go to school, hang out with his friends, walk around the mall, etc. I usually add another 500 calories for someone extremely active. We will use this number for this example. Now our burned calories is 2928. In order to gain lean muscle, first his nutrition must be complete with healthy foods. We do not want to gain fat so he must be disciplined to eat lean foods throughout the day. If the goal was to gain 1/2 pound of muscle a week for 16 weeks, so 8 pounds of muscle, he would need to take in 250 extra calories every day. This needs to be done consistently for the 16 weeks. So now we are at 3178 calories. To make sure we hit our goal, I would recommend this athlete eat 3300-3500 calories on workout days and 3100 calories on non-workout days. Lean meats, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains and a whey protein supplement should be the majority of his food content. Let's take one more example. A 45 year old female is looking to lose weight. She weighs 150 pounds. Her goal weight is 135 pounds and would like to accomplish this goal in 16 weeks so a weight loss of 15 pounds, which is feasible with the right nutrition plan in tact. Her training should consist of 2 weight training days, 2 metabolic training sessions and 1 interval conditioning workout. On average she would burn 500 calories each workout, which would make a weekly average of 357 calories. Now her calories will be at 1857. Her job is sedentary, she sits at a desk all day but has 2 young children that keeps her pretty active when she comes home. For this individual I will add in an extra 200 calories a day for light activity. Now we are at 2057 calories. Remember, she must eat a minimum of 1500 calories a day to keep her metabolism sparked and internal organs functioning correctly. On non-workout days she will eat her minimum and will cut out all breads, pastas, and rice content. On workout days she will eat approximately 1700-1800 calories. Just like the football player, the food should consist of lean meats, fruits and vegetables and healthy fats. She could add in a whey protein supplement to get in her protein. The woman must focus on eating a big, healthy breakfast, 2-3 snacks with protein, a lunch that consists of a bowl of fruit and a lean meat and dinner will be a meat and a vegetable. Unless there are some specific GI problems or thyroid issues, this female should lose her 15 pounds in 16 weeks if she stays consistent with her workouts and follows the nutrition plan accurately.

2. Your training doesn't fit your goal. If you want to get faster at running a marathon then why are you spending all of your time running long and slow? Here's another question, if you are trying to gain muscle and drop body fat, why are you lifting light weights and performing slow cardio? Here is another problem that leads people to not getting results. Their workout does not fit their goals. You must have a general training plan to fit your needs and goals. Don't just workout to workout. When you have goals you are more likely to stay motivated and on track to achieving that specific goal. Let's look at a couple examples. I always run into the runner or triathlete that wants to improve their speed in their sport. They have a pretty good base of training. But all of their training consists of long and slow aerobic work. I hate to break it to you but you will never get faster this way. In fact you might slow down. If you want to go faster you must train at faster speeds. No, I am not saying for every training session to be all out time trials but there are definitely smart and efficient ways to program speed training into your program. The great thing about interval and speed work is it is time efficient. So all of those long useless hours you were putting in can now be cut down and you can spend more time on things like stretching, foam rolling, strength work, spending time with the family, your job! The first three are mandatory for speed as well. A triathlete's program should incorporate at least 1 speed/interval day for all three disciplines. But you must program this wisely. You never want 2 hard days in a row, definitely a recipe for injury. So for example, Monday is your hard swim. Tuesday is a medium intensity bike with some added high cadence work and some functional strength work. Wednesday is your track workout and interval bike workout. Thursday is an easy recovery run. Friday is an off day. Saturday is a long bike mixed with hill repeats, tempo rides and/or just a long ride. And sunday is your long run spliced with some tempo work and/or hill work. Again, if your goal is speed, then train for speed. Get out of that comfort zone and challenge your threshold. But this type of training is demanding on the body so recovery is very crucial as well. Let's look at one more example. You are an average gym goer that enjoys pumping some weights. Your main goal is to shed some body fat and look leaner. First, go back and read #1. Second you need a dialed in training program that fits your needs. For your goal, you must be in the gym 4-6 times a week. You need 3 full body lifting days. Here is your simple program: upper body push paired with lower body hip dominant 3-4 sets through, upper body pull paired with lower body knee dominant 3-4 sets through and add in some core work....you choose different exercises to place in the template. For motivation purposes I like an undulating scheme where day 1 you hit 10-15 reps, Day 2 you hit 6-10 reps and day 3 you hit 3-6 reps. Push hard! Two days a week you are doing body weight training. Chin-ups, push-ups, plyometrics and core work. Think circuit format. Keep the tempo high. And the final day of the week hit a conditioning workout. Boxing, sprints, mountain bike, basketball game, whatever you want as long as you push yourself. Along with these training days, there must be foam rolling and flexibility work implemented so add these protocols either on your off days or before you go and train.

#3 You have no goal. So the first 2 we have talked about will not be credible if we did not set any goals. Goal setting, whether it be for your training, your job, your personal development, your relationships or your spiritual life is the key to success. If you do not have a direction you will aimlessly be shooting in the dark without a target. This gets boring, this gets unmotivating and you will fall off the bandwagon very quickly. In the training world, you must have some sort of goal to keep you on track and focused. What sparks you? What do you enjoy doing? Are you a weight training person? Or do you like running in triathlons? Heck, even if you have never done a triathlon, it could be a great sport to pick up. You must write down this goal once it is in your head. A goal is nothing more than a thought if it is not written down. Once it is written down it becomes real, it becomes conscious and now you can stare at it daily to keep you motivated. Now that the goal is written out you need steps to accomplishing this goal. If your goal is to lose 15 pounds in the next 16 weeks, write it down. Step #1 Nutrition plan must follow my goal, Step #2 Training must be done 4-6 times a week, Step #3 Find a workout partner, Step #4 Log all workouts and construct a food diary. Now it is up to you to follow through on these daily steps and so you can stay on path.

#4 You do not have the right support group. Being around like minded individuals is critical for you to accomplish your goals. You must surruound yourself with positive and motivating people that will support your endeavors. When all of your peers are negative and take you away from your goals, are they truly friends? If you want to lose weight and get in shape and all of your friends go out and drink and eat late, then it becomes quite difficult for you to achieve your goals. The hardest but yet smartest thing you can do is choose different friends. Find a network of people that is on the same lines as you and that will support you. You will stay motivated with the right group of friends because they are all doing it with you.

#5 You do it by yourself. Not that you can't get results by yourself but it is tremendously easier when you either have a good workout partner, a club to belong to or you hire a coach. Having a good workout partner can significantly improve your results and motivation. You both can keep each other accountable, push each other in the gym and stay on each other. Joining a club is another great choice. If you are an endurance athlete there are plenty of clubs to join in your local area. Having a club allows you to meet and discuss training tactis, strategies, nutrition and equipment. You may be doing the majority of your training alone but you know you have a group to bounce ideas off or train with once in awhile. Hiring the right coach is proven to increase results. First look for a qualifed, in the trenches and passionate coach. Ask him/her questions like, "Where did/do you go to school?" "What was the last book you have read pertaining to fitness?" "What is your training program like?" "How long have you been training people?" A coach could structure an exact program specifically for your needs. A coach will motivate and stay on you to work hard and smart throughout the program. A coach will be on the look out for overtraining symptoms and will know when to schedule active recovery days and weeks in the schedule. A coach will be there for to answer questions regarding training, nutrition or management of schedule. If you have been in a rut and have trouble with the previous 4 concepts we have discussed the right coach will put together a detailed plan that will be feasible for you to follow.

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