Are you getting fed up with the lack of results you are seeing after putting what feels like hours at the gym? Guest contributor Kodjo Hounnake may very well expose the reasons as to why you're not achieving the lean gain you're after...
Like most fitness conscious people, you have been going to the gym religiously. You feel like you’ve gotten a handle on most of the equipment in there, and you have graduated from the elliptical machine, to the bench press, and even the barbell squatting rack. However there seems to be a problem: no matter how much you’ve been working out, you do not see an iota of positive change in your physique. You’ve noticed no six packs (not even a 2-pack!), and it’s been 2 years of consistent workout! No general toning and no buildup of lean muscle mass.
So what is the issue here? Is there some kind of well-guarded secret code that you need in order to finally unlock your full body potential? Well, that brings us to the topic du jour. If you have been working out for a while and have not seen any progress at all, it’s probably because you are ruining your workout in one of the following seven ways.
1 - You are eating whatever
No matter how much you exercise, you have to remember the golden rule of a great looking physique: 70% diet, 30% fitness. This means, if you have been eating junk food or rewarding every workout session with sweets, then you are in for a rude awakening. If this is you, then your diet is seriously countering any effort you produce at the gym. Instead of junk food, start incorporating cruciferous vegetables in your diet. Also, if you have a sweet tooth, try substituting chocolate with fruit. Learn to make new friends; their names are: banana, pineapple, apple, blueberries, etc.
2 - You are not eating enough
Some people are under the impression that in order to lose weight, they have to eat less. Theoretically, it makes sense, but in practice it’s the complete opposite. In order to lose weight and remain in shape, you have to eat 4 to 6 times a day.
When you exercise, your body is constantly looking for nutrients. Fueling your body 4 to 6 times daily guarantees that there is adequate supply of nutrients available for your body’s metabolic process. If on the other hand you don’t eat enough, your body is forced to break down your muscles in order to extract those nutrients. If this is the case, no matter how hard you work out, you will never see positive results.
3 - You are consuming too much alcohol
Want to know a sure-fire way to help your fitness efforts? Stop drinking too much alcohol. Drinking socially (and in small quantity) if perfectly fine, but when you make it a daily habit, it can seriously hinder your fitness goals. The effects of alcohol on athletic performance are multiple; one of which is a decrease in testosterone. The lower your testosterone, the lower your muscle mass, and the lower your muscle mass the less ability your body has to burn calories.
If you can’t live without alcohol, then try red wine (moderately of course). Red wine contains a naturally occurring plant compound called resveratrol. Resveratrol has notable anti-inflammatory properties and as such, helps neutralize free radicals in the human body.
4 - You are not getting enough sleep
Are you guilty of too much exercising and not enough sleeping? If so, you can be ruining your workout efforts. The reason is simple: muscles do not grow at the gym while you’re exercising. They grow while you are resting. The most sleep you get, the faster your muscles recover from the exertion they endure at the gym, and the quicker they produce new muscle fibers to patch previous tears.
Attempt to sleep between 7 to 8 hours nightly. Or get in the habit of taking a short nap during the day, if you know you won’t be able to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night. You would be doing your body a lot of good.
5 - You haven’t changed your workout routines in a long time
Our body is extremely smart; smart to the point where it registers the workouts that you do. When your workout becomes repetitive in nature, your body begins to burn incrementally less calories. For example, if you jog on the treadmill every single day (5 days a week), your first week you might burn 500 calories per day (hypothetically). By the second month, you will be burning less than 500 calories at the same distance run. After an extended period, your body practically ceases to burn any calorie.
The only way to keep your body constantly burning calories is by adding variations to your workout routines so that your body never anticipates what you would do next. Have an inventory of 10 to 15 exercise routines, and toggle through them every week.
6 - You fail to manage your stress
Stress favors the production of cortisol in the human body. Normally, cortisol helps the body regain its normal state by producing a relaxation response. However, a state of constant stress creates a prolonged level of cortisol in your blood stream. This has several negative ramifications, one of which is blood sugar imbalance. The higher your blood sugar level the more prone your body is to store fat.
7 - You are skipping breakfast
If you have been exercising, but have not been seeing any results, you should check your breakfast regimen. It might be non-existent.
It is said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This is true because it provides you with enough energy to jumpstart your day. This energy provision is even more important when you exercise.
Effectively, when you wake up in the morning, your body is ready to fuel on food. When you skip that critical part of your day (breakfast), your body tends to store anything you eat later that day because it doesn’t know when you will eat again next. In other words, it goes into preservation mode. That fat storage ends up around your waist area, regardless of the amount of exercise you do. So, start making breakfast an integral part of your fitness regimen.
About the Author: Kodjo Hounnake is a fitness enthusiast and manages a Health and Wellness Blog. When he is not tweeting or blogging about home workout and healthy organic eating, he is likely eating healthy and exercising at home.