Why am I not seeing results? Part 3

AND….we’re back!

If you need to catch up on why you may not be seeing results from all your hard work in the gym , check out part 1 and part 2 before you move on.

As I am getting ready for a BIG trip to Disney World (accompanied by a couple hundred high school band members and parents), I wanted to hone in on one particular downfall to many gym patrons. You may hit the gym every day and work far harder than the guy checking his Facebook status every set (HUGE pet peeve), but you aren’t seeing results. I’m going to enlighten you with a bit of science on the subject of results :)

Does this scenario sound familiar?

You grab your gear and head for the gym, possibly after getting the kids to school OR after a long days work. You mentally prepare, grab a locker, hook in the old headphones and head for your favorite cardio to warm up…..where you spend the next 30-60 minutes hoofing it out on the hardest setting cause you came to work! Take that Facebook guy!!!! After this, you head towards the weight machines OR maybe even some free weights. About 6 minutes into lifting you are feeling beat down. That’s the sign it’s working right? So you trudge on. You may even throw some plyometrics and jogging in place right into your workout. You are killing it today! That magazine article inspired you to get after this workout hard, but you seem to be lacking a little in strength. No worries, we can pick up lighter weight. After a beating like that, you grab your stuff from the locker room and head home or to the office where you are beat down…..but that’s how it’s supposed to feel right? When it comes time to eat, you may indulge in a slightly larger portion or maybe something a bit sweet….cause that workout was KILLER! The next day you wake to do it again and again and again.

Question: If your workouts are so epic, why do you look exactly the same?

gym tread

There are 2 MAJOR things working against you here.

#1. You’re wasting your energy on cardio. Don’t roll your eyes cardio queen, pay attention. Your body is an energy store house. Energy comes from the calories you eat. Calories come from food. If you’re cranking away at the cardio for 30-60 minutes BEFORE you ever hit weights, you’ve doomed your actual body shaping. Cardio CAN help with weight loss, but not jiggle loss. Don’t like your thighs? Get off the treadmill and head to the squat rack. You need to lift heavy in order to create the tight body you covet. You need a LOT of energy to lift heavy….stop wasting it on the cardio pieces!

Am I saying cardio is bad? Of course not. We do need cardio as an integral part of training, but it shouldn’t be the proverbial cart before the horse. Strengthen your horse first. Want faster results? For a full MONTH try this:

  • Warm up on cardio equipment for 5 minutes at a light pace. It’s your warm up, not your workout.
  • Either place cardio at the end of your workout OR at a separate time. OR….
  • Perform cardio on alternating days from weight lifting.

This will enable you to utilize the proper muscles while lifting and strengthen the mind/muscle connection. Give it try. What do you have to lose?

cupcakes and women

#2. You’re not fueling post-workout.

I always find it odd that I’m the only one at the bar in the locker room mixing my shakes….while others are doing their hair :)

Your body needs nutrition post-workout because unless you were taking selfies, texting, or Facebooking between sets, then you worked through your fuel. Try for a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein and keep the fats out until about an hour or 2 post-workout. This has been shown to enhance recovery, slow down muscle loss and increase the loss of body fat. If you think eating post-workout will make you gain what you just lost……you really need to look up some scientific facts about how the body works. Fueling post-workout also keeps your immune system healthy so you can continue to workout regularly.

My preferred meal after a workout is a scoop of whey protein in water and an orange. This gives me the right ratio and a double whammy with vitamins and minerals from the orange. I usually eat a larger meal about an hour later to continue recovery.

What to try this month: pack some food with you! You can keep it in your car if needed. Have some fresh fruit ready to go at home. If you need protein, you can check out some of my faves HERE. If you prefer whole foods, opt for tuna or chicken breasts so the fat stays low (higher fat post-workout slows the assimilation and absorption of proteins).

Stay with it, try something new, and go get your results!

Why Am I NOT Seeing Results? ….a blog series to get you where you want to be

Hello Fit People!

This particular series will last 4 blogs (crazy right?) and will be posted weekly. So you get a month to learn what could be hold you back from your very best self.

If you are one of the MANY ( I have high hopes) who have continued on with those New Year’s goals long after that the groundhog came out of his hole, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!

But here is the million dollar question: Are you where you thought you would be? Are you struggling with your goals already? Are you asking yourself, “Am I there yet?” Have no fear. I’ve been in this game long enough to know a thing or 2 about habits and hangups that could be holding you back from your goals. How do I know? Cause I have them too :) But if I stayed with them I would never be where I am today.

BTW, these are in NO particular order, so tackle what is relevant to you right now.

Strong Camp 90 Photo by Paul Buceta for Strong Magazine

1. You think the food will just work itself out.

Here’s the deal, you HAVE to be aware of what you are eating, period. Even the guy that ate Twinkies for the study was AWARE of how many Twinkies he was eating. In my opinion, that’s probably why that little experiment worked. Know what you’re eating and know how much. The only reason that person at the gym seems to have more definition than you is most likely because they know what they are eating and they track their food.

Choose the style that works best for YOU. Macros rock my world, but close into my competition I prefer a pretty simple diet of eating similar foods every day. This is just because it is easier to be prepared. I’m not a fan of just counting calories as we can often fill those calorie requirements with foods that do not serve us very well. You know what I’m talking about ladies. How many of you eat MORE carbs (cause girls love carbs!) and run out of calories for your protein? The body works better in balance of all 3 macronutrients so give it a fighting chance. Track your food and know what works for you.

2.You really like your “cheat” meal……like REALLY.

Do you know why “cheat meals” were termed? Body builders would run out of stored glycogen (carbs get stored as glycogen in the muscle fibers and are used for energy during heavy lifting workouts) due to low carbohydrate diets. When glycogen is depleted, strength can fade. So, the bodybuilder began to implement refeeds (which are actually PLANNED days of eating more carbohydrates to refuel the glycogen stores) and some, cheat meals.

Here is the problem……90% of the gym population are not bodybuilders (not that we aren’t working hard, but really) and yet we try to eat like one. This can be particularly true with those just starting on a strength training program. We can get all geared up and hop on a deprivation diet which is followed by a cheat meal, which turns into a cheat weekend, which causes shame and we get back in line on Monday to start the cycle again. Sound familiar?

A treat is warranted if you have been withholding calories AND especially if you have been withholding macronutrients (I don’t believe EITHER should be very low, even in weight loss), but it should be contained to ONE small treat per week with the goal of refueling a system, not bingeing to good glory because you deserve it…….

NEXT WEEK we will tackle some common mistakes in the gym and figure out how to make your membership work better for you :)

Stay Strong!

Michelle