We all know that you have to put in the work for that hour or two a day you spend at the gym, and that it’s the other 23 hours a day that can dictate your progress. You may know this, but you may not always know the things you’re doing to hinder that hard fought for progress. Here are 10 things to look at if you’re plateauing.
You Skimp on Sleep
You may be one of those people that feel proud to say that they can operate on only 5 hours a sleep a night, but being proud that you’re not giving your body adequate rest isn’t a thing of pride. When you sleep, your body releases Growth Hormone, and your muscles are adequately fed, meaning muscle growth. Also, constantly moving helps you stay fit, but never giving your legs a chance for absolute rest can deter the muscle mass you’re trying for.
You Read Too Much, Or Not Enough
If you’re one of those people that are constantly citing a new article you read on muscle retention or the latest fitness trend, you’re probably doing more harm than good. People who are learning about fitness can easily get wrapped up in trying new things or believing hype instead of real knowledge. On the other hand, people who never research nutrition or technique could be doing themselves a disservice by not learning enough to implement into their daily routines or habits. The middle ground? Find 1-3 nutritionists, trainers, websites that have proven track records of accurate and pertinent information and stick with them.
You Believe Deficits Should Be Filled
I see this most with people who track their nutrition on apps. You plug in your food for the day, then plug in your exercise and suddenly you calculate that while you ate 1600 calories, you burned 800, which means you can eat another 800 and still break even! This isn’t how to function if you’re working to get in shape or lose weight. Deficits are there to promote weight loss. Stick to eating the 1600, and whatever you burn is just your way of knowing how hard you’re working in the gym.
You Avoid the “Mental Game”
Many don’t take weightlifting seriously, but just like any other activity that you want to improve upon, reaching goals takes visualization and some quiet space. Whether its visualizing yourself wearing those goal jeans, or completing a successful lift, it should be part of your day to day. If you can see yourself succeeding, you’ll work harder to achieve that actual success.
You Become Obsessive
There is commitment and then there is obsessive. Many people who throw themselves into fitness or competition prep especially, often find this happens. You become obsessed with tracking your macros, and banning different foods and drinks. You won’t let yourself go out to eat with friends, or even have a cheat day. You weigh yourself constantly and pick your body a part. When you become this obsessive, it is mentally and emotionally exhausting, but also so dangerous. Your self esteem will crash because nothing is ever good enough, and you’ll tire out on being so demanding of yourself. Which is better? Being a little relaxed on yourself, but working out for a whole year…or being super strict and giving up after 3 months?
You Let Your Motivation Hinge on Results
Your motivation will die if you aren’t seeing the changes you want. If you’re going for spot reduction, and that back fat isn’t going anywhere, then you’re more likely to throw in the towel because “why bother if nothing will happen”. Motivation needs to hinge on how you feel as a whole, and knowing your goals can be achieved with commitment and hard work. Not because you are fitting in that bikini two weeks after picking up a dumbbell.
You Don’t Prepare
Meals, knowing what to order when you go out, your gym bag the night before. These simple ways of preparing yourself can be the difference between hitting macro goals today or not. The difference between going to the gym today or not. String enough times together where you lack preparation, and you’ll quickly lose sight of your goals.
You Don’t Fully Take Care of Yourself
Working out to be healthy is about taking care of yourself. Fitness helps your brain operate better, your body operate better, mood, memory, etc. But with how rigorous lifting can be, you need to take care of yourself after taking care of yourself. Massages to work out kinks, vitamins to supplement your diet, foam rolling and stretching, and getting regular check ups! Don’t ignore your entire health just because your abs are starting to show up.
Many don’t realize that it can take your body a few weeks to actually adjust to a new workout. You’ll never see immediate results from a brand new lifting routine. Those that follow trends and try lifting one week, then Barre the next, then spinning the next, aren’t giving their body that adjustment time. You’ll rarely see the results you want because you body can’t react to any one thing.
You Don’t Listen to Your Body
Your body tells you when its infected by making you sick. It does the same thing when a muscle or joint isn’t doing well either. When your body needs a rest, it will find a way to ask you for it. You’ll feel lethargic, you’ll squint out of pain each time you stand up, your knee may swell. We all want to be hardcore, but not taking a few days off when necessary, or going to a doctor even, is the least hardcore thing to do. Your body won’t increase muscle mass if its fighting to keep your knee functional. You’ll be hardcore alright, but you won’t much look it.