Are you not seeing any progress even-though you are trying our best?
The first thing to keep in mind is that that’s ok. If you have been trying your best with your dieting and exercise, it means that you are closer to where you want to be than you think. The hard part as with anything is to start. Once you have started, it is all a matter of creating a habit and sticking with it, but it’s not all hard work.
Sometimes, having a clear focus can be equally important to hard work. After all, if you do not know what you are working for, how can you work hard for it.
In this post, we will go through some things that you might be doing and most importantly, what you should be doing to start stacking on that progress you are after.
Are you eating like a silly goose?
Yeah, you heard me. 70% of your progress in fitness is going to be what you eat. If you have been working out like crazy, sleeping like a baby, but eating like a silly goose, no wonder it is so hard to see the progress that you deserve. But what does that mean?
If I have said it once, I have said it a million times. I find it really hard to believe that you can have steady progress unless you track what you eat. Each and every one of us is different, which means that each and every one of us has different needs and requirements. A diet can not be a good fit for everyone, yes chicken and salads are healthy, but that’s not even 1% of a balanced diet. If you are not seeing progress, diet might be something to consider.
The only three principles of diet you will ever need:
How much: A massive part of everyone’s diets, is simply how much you should be eating. You might know everything about eating and food, if you do not know how much you should be eating, what is it all worth.
What: Once you know how much, the next question is what should you be eating. Unfortunately, not all calories are made equal. Eating 1000 calories of candy, will not have the same effect as having 1000 calories of a well-balanced meal rich in nutrients. It’s the same as being 100kg of muscle and 100kg of fat, is it the same? Your diet should be based on your individual needs of macronutrients.
How to track: The million-dollar question. How do I know how much and what I am consuming? Simple :
Not seeing progress? Should you?
If you are not seeing progress, there is a good chance that maybe you are rushing. Or, maybe you are progressing but it is not as obvious as you would want it to be. In both cases, it is fine and you can do something about it.
I get it, progress is very important to all of us. Especially if you are putting in hard work, not seeing progress can make it hard to continue or stay motivated. But at the same time, we tend to trip over our own expectations some times. Progress is a game of patience, you put something day in and day out but you don’t get something back immediately. You have to give yourself the time that you need, you will not see the results immediately, but always remember that as long as you keep going, results are getting closer.
Also, remember that the title was about seeing progress. The progress might be there and you can’t see it. There are a few things that could be happening here:
- unrealistic expectations
- lack of patience
- forgetting where you started
Something that people do to help them stay motivated, is progress pictures. That is going to be the easiest way to see if what you are doing works. Over time changes do happen, but some times we need to compare where we are to where we were to be able to tell.
What are your goals?
Are you bulking? Are you cutting? Do you want to lose or do you want to gain weight? You have to be clear about what you want and go after it.
Lack of clarity can have you running all over the place. For better or worse, you can and you should only do one thing at a time. As in the immortal words of Ron Swanson:
“Never half ass two things. Always hole ass one thing!”
If your goal is to lose fat, it will be difficult to gain muscle at the same time unless you are in the early stages of your fitness journey. If you are trying to put on muscle, do not try to get shredded at the same time.
When you want to put on muscle, you are going to put on both. Gaining muscle requires that you eat on a calorie surplus, meaning that you have to consume more calories than you normally need. If you plan your diet right, you are going to put on muscle and a little fat as well. You cannot focus on the gain or the loss.
When you are trying to get leaner, you are after fat loss, not weight loss. Nobody wants to lose muscle. When that is your goal, you will have to eat on a calorie deficit, meaning that you have to eat fewer calories than your body needs to maintain its weight. Again, if you plan it well, you are going to lose mainly fat and a little bit of muscle.
I am not seeing progress in the gym! What is your gym time doing for you?
You have been working out for a while, putting the time in with your training and dieting like a champ. If you are taking care of all of that, it is still possible that you are not seeing any progress because your workout routine is not working for you.
This is actually far more common than you think and an easy fix. The first step, is to understand what makes a good workout routine, well, a good workout routine. Let us have a look at three of the most common workout splits:
So having looked into each one of them, what is the one thing common in our favourite splits?
They all allow you to hit each muscle twice a week.
A full-body workout is going to be the best example in this case. It is one of the best splits for strength training, beginner-friendly and allows you to train each muscle every time you train. If you train three times a week, every muscle has been worked three times. If you have read any of my previous posts about workouts, you must have picked up my preference for them.
As we have seen before, hitting each muscle more than once a week is going to be ideal for muscle growth. A regime to avoid, especially if you are a beginner, would be the bro-split.
It is called the bro split for a reason after all. The mighty classic, chest-triceps, back-biceps, shoulder-legs. Avoid it, you train three days and only manage to train each muscle once, try one of the above variations instead.
Gyms closed or no access to a gym? I got you:
Avoid the shiny object syndrome
This is something that should be avoided generally in life. The shiny object syndrome is when you jump in on every next big thing or trend. A new diet, a new workout or some crazy supplement that is guaranteed to make the difference. The key to fitness, as well as with anything that requires you to progress, is consistency.
Even if that new trend you hoped on actually works, even if it works better than anything tried before, it is not going to be overnight. If you are not seeing progress and you have tried everything, trying everything is probably the problem.
Educate your self and experiment. Experimenting is important when it comes down to what works best for you. But even so, you will have to stick to it and be consistent.
Consistency is key to progressing to anything you have chosen to put your efforts in. Do not waist time and energy on the next big, shinny thing.
You’ve got this! Good things come to those who wait. The important thing is not always hard work, you need to know very well what you are working for in order to go after it.
Since you took the time to look into what is holding you back, you are on the right path towards working smarter instead of harder. Remember that it is ok to fail as long as you learn something out of it, because then you can never be a loser.
Have a look to what we discussed above and try to see where any of it might apply to you. If you have any concerns or questions, do not be afraid to ask for help. The comments below will always be available for suggestion on next topics.