9 Reasons Your Workout Isn't Working | What to Do When Your Fitness Progress Stalls
- If you feel like you have reached a point in your workout routine where you just can’t seem to break past that “wall” and have stopped seeing progress, KEEP READING. -
Happy December! I can hardly believe it's already the last month of 2017. There are some exciting things coming to the blog in the next month (including a website re-design AND a December holiday challenge). Thank you to everyone who participated in my Thanksgiving Core Comeback Challenge last week. There were over 300 of you that joined, which BLEW ME AWAY! So thank you! I am working on the December challenge and let me tell you: it is going to be even MORE FUN than the Thanksgiving Core Comeback (think full body workouts you can do ANYWHERE).
If you have anything you would like to see in the December challenge, send me a message on Instagram @samanthabowers_ or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love making these challenges something you all enjoy and want to participate in.
So, before we jump in to another workout challenge, I want to take a second to talk about a topic that has SO MANY people stumped when it comes to their fitness progress: The dreaded plateau.
We’ve all been there! If you feel like you have reached a point in your training where you just can’t seem to break past that “wall” and have stopped seeing progress, KEEP READING.
1. You aren't mixing up your routine
When we do the same exercises over and over again without mixing things up or presenting our bodies with a new challenge, we adapt and hit that dreaded "progress plateau." Try changing up your routine or implementing some form of cross training every 6-8 weeks to make sure you keep your body on its toes.
2. You're overeating
Portion control is HUGE when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. A lot of times, portions at restaurants are oversized and we end up getting a false perception of what a "normal portion" size really is. Take the time to measure out or weigh your food so you know what's really going in your body.
3. You're eating the wrong kinds of foods
90 calories of fruit snacks are different from 90 calories of fresh strawberries. Yes, you may stick to your calorie allowance for the day but you won't be getting near as many health benefits from the sugar loaded packaged snack as you would from nature's candy!
4. You aren't getting enough sleep
You're stressed out, you stay out late, and still have to be at class at 8:00 a.m. sharp the next morning. So you're tired, still stressed, and may end up over eating in attempt to get an energy boost. When we are stressed out our cortisol levels are higher than usual which can lead to fat storage in the stomach region. Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night and try an activity that relaxes the body - like yoga!
5. Your workout isn't challenging enough
If you stop when your workout gets hard, you'll miss out on the fat burning, endorphin releasing, calorie burning time period of your session! You know what they say: when the going gets tough the tough get going!
6. You're not lifting weights
I think there is a HUGE misconception among girls my age that lifting heavy weights will make you “bulky.” I think girls shy away from lifting weights because they fear getting “bigger” or “manly” but they want to be toned. I used to have the SAME THOUGHTS. I was terrified that lifting anything over 10 pounds would turn me into a body builder, which I now realize was insane. Lifting weights is the BEST WAY to build lean muscle mass. The more lean muscle mass we have, the faster our metabolism, the more calories we will burn, and (the best part) the more food we can eat! I noticed the biggest difference in my body when I started challenging myself in the gym and lifting heavier weights.
7. You aren't eating enough protein
Another factor that caused one of the BIGGEST changes in my body: eating more protein. I used to fear eating too much meat, protein shakes and bars, and other high protein foods would make me bulky, but I quickly learned the exact opposite to be true. I try to eat around 20-30g of protein at every meal. I find when I do so, I stay full for a longer period of time and do not have near as many hunger cravings. When I started eating more protein, I noticed it became easier for me to build muscle and I really began to see an increase in the leanness of my body. Your diet is a HUGE part of the progress you are wanting to see!
8. You're not moving outside of the gym
So you go to the gym for an hour and do your typical workout, then head off to go about your day. You think about walking to class, but since you had a good lifting session earlier you skip the walk and decide to just take the shuttle. You spend the rest of the day sitting at the library studying, then you shuttle back to your car and drive home, where you sit on the couch and watch the news before heading to bed. See the problem? Just because you spent some time working out, doesn't mean you should skip on getting extra movement in throughout your day. If you wear an activity tracker or use a pedometer app on your phone, aim to hit 12,000 steps a day outside of your normal workout. You'll be surprised at how much "hidden exercise" you can squeeze in just by doing simple things like walking instead of riding the bus.
9. Your attitude isn't where it should be
You HAVE to start looking past the aesthetic aspect of fitness and focusing on the internal factors to find TRUE joy in exercise. We are ALL guilty of the “I want to start working out because I want to LOOK a certain way,” thought process, but as soon as we move past this & put more of an emphasis on thoughts like:
“I want to work out because it makes me happy.”
“I want to eat healthier because it’s good for my body.”
“I want to exercise today because it makes me more productive.”
and so on, it is easier to dig deeper into your WHY and focus on the internal reasons for your actions.
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