There’s nothing more frustrating than making the decision to get yourself to the gym, actually getting yourself there, and not seeing progress. Whether your goal is losing weight, putting on muscle, or a combination of both, when you’re putting in the work, you want to see the results. Unfortunately, it’s not rare to feel like you’re spinning your wheels when it comes to fat loss and fitness. And that feeling sucks.
If you feel like you’ve never made the progress you’ve wanted in the gym, or your progress has stalled, here are a few things that may be holding you back (they may surprise you).
You’re eating too much.
As simple as this is, it’s often overlooked. You need to be in a caloric deficit in order to lose weight. But when that scale isn’t budging, people often think the reason is much more complicated than it is. They chalk it up to hormonal issues or a slow metabolism. The truth is, it’s far too easy to rack up hundreds of extra calories a day without being aware of it, even if you’re eating healthy food. An extra handful of almonds here and there, some cream in your coffee that you don’t track, a few bites of your partner’s dessert on date night. These little nibbles usually go unaccounted for, but the calories that come along with them do count. Don’t sell yourself short. Keep track of everything you’re eating on a daily basis, and when we say everything, we mean everything. You might be surprised how many extra calories you’re consuming. Calories that may make the difference in that scale moving in the direction you want it to, or not.
You Aren’t Moving Enough (not enough NEAT).
EAT (Exercise activity is thermogenesis) is the calories we burn through exercise, whether it be weightlifting, biking, or going for a jog. Training properly is hard work, It’s natural to feel like you’ve burnt your calories for the day when you rack your weights at the gym. And you very well may be burning all the calories you need to with exercise. But the problem isn’t EAT, it’s NEAT. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis is the calories we burn outside of exercise, whether it be walking, taking the stairs, tidying the house, or even standing. As a society we’ve become far too sedentary, and we’re not burning nearly enough calories with NEAT as we should be.
We like to think of the calories we burn with NEAT as keeping us at baseline. If we move enough throughout the day, we won’t lose weight, but we also won’t gain it. Now if we don’t move much throughout the day, but we do workout, the calories that we burn during the workout are keeping at baseline. We worked out so we wouldn’t gain weight, but we still may not lose it. Do you want all the work you’re putting in the gym to go towards moving the needle, or keeping you where you are? Personally, I want to be moving the needle. For that reason, it’s critical to make sure you’re not sedentary. The easiest way to do that is to walk. If your goal is to lose weight, set yourself a daily step goal, and reach it.
You’re Not Consistent
When it comes to health or body composition goals, consistency is key. Eating smoothies, chicken breast and salads for one day can’t make up for a fast food diet. When we reach a plateau it’s natural to clearly remember Monday-Friday when we got our steps in, made it to the gym, and fueled our bodies properly. The bread basket we indulged in Saturday night, mimosas at brunch on Sunday, and sweets that crept in throughout the weekend somehow slip our mind, and we feel frustrated. Making changes to your physique is a slow process that takes determination. It requires making the right decisions time and time again and slowly chipping away. You may be eating well and exercising, but not doing either one enough of the time.