You’re living as healthy as you know how to, eating cleanly and exercising daily. So why aren’t you seeing your dream body looking back at you in the mirror?
There are many factors in the equation for changing your body – whether your goal be weight loss, muscle building, increased fitness or strength gains.
Here are 3 top reasons why you’re not seeing the changes that you’d hoped for:
Not enough rest
Getting enough rest and sleep is essential for your body to function at its best day in and day out. Your body undergoes the biggest changes while your sleeping, from muscle recovery and growth (hello lean gorgeous muscles) to hormone regulation (upping your willpower to say no to that 3pm donut craving). So if weightloss is your goal, without adequate sleep, your metabolism becomes ‘groggy’ and cannot burn through your food intake as fast, greatly impacting your weight loss goals. If muscle and strength gains are your main goal, adequate sleep is critical to allow to body to repair your muscle cells and rebuild new ones (hello hypertrophy aka bigger muscles!).
So how much sleep is enough? Everyone is different but for the average adult, 7-9 hours seems to be the magic range. Don’t forget, whilst it may be tempting to train yourself silly every day of the week, do yourself a favour and stick to 5 workout days each week, allowing 2 days of complete rest.
No variation or progression
You’ve probably heard this time and time again. But your body needs regular variation to your workouts in order to improve and change. Regularly changing your exercise stimulus shocks the body and makes it work harder in order to keep up with the change, avoiding plateaus in your results. Try change up your workouts every 3-4 weeks – you’ll be surprised how quickly you see and feel changes in your body!
The same principles go for training progressions. If you’re going through your weekly workouts without increasing the difficulty, your results will plateau pretty quickly. For resistance workouts, if you’re aiming for 12 reps in each set and reaching it, you need to up your weight. You should be really struggling to get to the 12 rep mark. For your cardio workouts, continually aim to push yourself harder. If you’re breezing through a run session, increase your speed or incline. Perhaps you’re doing a park circuit? Jump a little higher or push a little harder. Little increases in intensity every session are the difference between plateaus and awesome training results!
Nutrition off balance
Abs are most certainly made in the kitchen. So if your nutrition is not 100% on point, your body won’t resemble the end goal you have in your mind. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to nutrition – making it even more confusing to know what works!! So do some trial and error around your food.
For some people, eating 5-6 small meals a day works best to keep fuelled, energised and feeling satisfied. Whilst others find it better to eat 3 main meals plus 2 in-between snacks. Try each method for a week and track how you’re feeling to find your body’s preference. The focus should be on the content of your meals and each one should have the same nutritional breakdown – a palm size of lean protein, ¼ cup of complex carbohydrates and fill the rest of the plate up with vegetables (the more colourful the better!). Add 2 portions of fruit to your meals per day as well.
Also read: How to Instantly Increase Your Calorie Burn