We hear it a lot, “I’m not seeing any progress!”. Why is that? Let’s go through some of the reasons you aren’t able to make progress in the gym.
1. Not Knowing What Your Goals Are
It’s a simple one that people tend to overlook. What is your goal? What progress are you wanting to see? When talking to people at the gym, some will have specific goals that they can motivate themselves towards. However, there are still a lot of people who do not have goals. It is difficult to see the right results and get yourself motivated, if you are working out without a purpose.
Understand what you want to achieve so you are able to work for it correctly with the right nutrition and workout plan.
Saying “I want to be fit” is a start, however in order to measure that progress so you can actually see your progress, be more specific. Do you want to increase your muscle mass? Or want to be able to run a certain length in a set time? Do you want to squat a certain weight? Having clear cut goals will make seeing progress easier, and keep you motivated.
Be clear with your intentions before you go into the gym. Set realistic goals that will be sustainable in your everyday life.
“Your body is made 20% in the gym and 80% in the kitchen”
Yeah, we know, you hate to hear the cliché. But it’s a cliché for a reason, nutrition is arguably the most important aspect of health and fitness.
It is no secret that having a nutritious diet is key to good health. However, your choice of foods could be the reason why you’re not seeing progress in your fitness journey.
Many clients have gone down the path of “I’m eating healthy, but I don’t see any results”. When analyzing their food choices, common mistakes are not eating a balanced diet, eating a lot of processed foods, and not eating the right amounts of food.
Eating a lot of vegetables and low-calorie meals are what some people would consider a healthy diet, and they will come in and complain about the lack of progress. However, nutrition goes beyond that. Learn how to read nutrition labels to understand what you are putting into your body.
Just because a meal is 200 calories, doesn’t necessarily mean it is healthier.
That 200 calories could comprise mostly of carbohydrates and fats. That meal is not balanced as you are missing an important macronutrient, protein, which is responsible for the growth and repair of muscular tissue.
Similarly, many will show healthy snacks they eat in a day. Low-calorie snacks, high protein snacks, you name it. However, this is the power of marketing “healthy foods”. While it is true that they are healthier than your average junk food snacks, they are still snacks. Focus on eating more meals with whole foods to keep you satiated throughout the day.
Lastly, to see favorable progress, your goals and your nutrition should work together. If your goal is to increase muscular size, consider eating in a caloric surplus so you are able to grow. If your goal is to decrease fat, consider eating in a caloric deficit so you are able to lose fat. Understanding how nutrition affects your body will help you determine the best path for your fitness journey.
3. Wrong workout programme
While any form of exercise is beneficial, to reach specific goals you have to train specifically. For example, if your goal is to lift heavy and get a one rep max of a certain movement, it will not benefit you to spend your workout days running the mile as fast as possible. Similarly, if your goal is to run faster or longer, maxing out on your bench press will not directly improve your running capabilities.
Besides considering your goals when programming, also consider what your body might need to perform optimally.
If you have a lot of imbalances in your body between the left and right side, or the front and back side, work to get your body balanced so you are able to focus on your goals.
For example, it will be hard to achieve a heavy squat in good form if you have noticeable imbalances in your right and left hamstrings.
Everyone should have a programme that will address their wants and needs, and this needs to be planned well with intention and knowledge of exercise science.
Alternatively, you can speak to a personal trainer to ensure you are on the right programme for your goal!
4. Not allowing your body to recover
Yes, it’s great that you’re working out intensely consistently. But are you still not seeing progress?
Ensure your body is able to handle the intensity of your workouts with enough rest.
If you work out hard and push your body to the max seven days a week, of course your body will get tired, start lagging and not able to go further.
Implementing rest days but not seeing results? Have you considered your sleep? Sleeping for seven to nine hours a night is crucial to recovery.
Sleep enhances muscle recovery by allowing for protein synthesis and human growth hormone release.
Besides getting good deep sleep for 7-8 hours a night, also consider how stressed out you are in your daily life. Stress produces a hormone called cortisol. Research has shown that cortisol causes muscles to atrophy, or waste away. Cortisol leads to muscle loss and negatively affected the body composition.
Ensuring your body is allowed it’s time to recover is important for progress and also general health.
Consider joining yoga or stretching classes on off days to promote mental health, decrease stress and allow for the body to recover while still moving your body.
5. Internal health problems
You’re doing everything right – you’re eating well and you’re hitting the gym consistently with enough intensity – but you’re still not seeing progress.
Consider checking with a medical professional to get testing done on your body to ensure your body is working well.
Often times, people do everything they can but are unable to see progress due to illnesses and diseases holding them back.
For example, Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder that affects numerous women. Many women with PCOS have reported to have difficulty losing or gaining weight, even when they live active and healthy lifestyles. For PCOS, many women have to go through hormonal treatments to balance out their inner health before they are able to see the progress from their healthy nutrition and workout habits.
It’s important for everyone of any age to regularly get your body checked.
However, seeing a specialist can be a necessity if you feel like you are not making progress to ensure that your organs are functioning as they should.
There are many more reasons why you could not be making the progress you feel you deserve. However, check through this list and you might surprise yourself. Fitness is a journey, and everyone’s experiences are different. Consider getting professional help with a certified Personal Trainer.