Why You Aren't Seeing Results...



You Don't Have A Plan...


The most likely reason first...


"Fail to plan... plan to fail!"...


It might seem obvious that failing to follow a plan will lead to disappointing results...


But you'd be surprised by how many people claim to be baffled by their lack of progress, despite not actually having a clear plan to follow!


There is a significant difference between "exercising" regularly, but with a random approach... vs "training", which would technically refer to following a much more structured and deliberate training programme, providing a clear direction and predictable end result.


For example... if you wake up on Monday morning and decide to go for a 5km walk/jog/run, and then on Wednesday you go for a 30 minute swim, then Pilates on Friday, followed by a completely different selection of exercise sessions the following week... you can quite fairly say that you have exercised regularly for two weeks.


That would of course have some benefits... you will be burning more calories than if you did nothing... you might see some improvements to your strength and aerobic endurance, you will enjoy most of the mental benefits of exercise...


And that might suit your goals perfectly... so it isn't necessarily "wrong"...


But your progress is going to be far slower and less likely to be focussed on any particular area of your fitness.


Any results that you do notice, will probably have been obtained via luck rather than judgement.


In other words, you're probably not going to achieve a great deal of success in the long-term...


Simply due to the fact that you have no plan... and are exercising in a relatively random way.


Then you also have to question the sustainability of that approach...


Even with the best initial intentions, apart from the lack of specific focus, you're now open to fluctuations in mood, "motivation", and scheduling conflicts...


Because without a proper plan... you have nothing to fully commit to.


Compare that to a programme where you have a structured pattern of aerobic and resistance based training, designed in a way that is deliberately optimising increases in your metabolic rate... and by extension your potential to burn calories and lose body fat (just an example)...


Here you have 3 major differences...


1) you have a specific goal which allows you to specify the types of exercises needed (see below)

2) you have more repetition... based around the specific exercises (or types of exercise) that will produce the goal that you want

3) you can now focus on progression... how do you progressively increase your ability to do something if you're only doing it sporadically?




Poor Exercise Technique


Once you have a plan or programme, take the time to learn how to do the exercises in that programme correctly.


Going faster, longer or heavier isn't always the key to progress...


More often than not, quality beats quantity.


For example, if you are prescribed an exercise for your tricep (arm) muscles, you could remove the emphasis from the target muscle and place it elsewhere (eg. your shoulders) by performing the exercise incorrectly...


Predictably... you will end up disappointed with the results that you see in your arms!




You Don't Know What You Want...


Closely related to not having a proper plan/programme...


Not having a clear picture of what you are actually trying to achieve makes it impossible to make the best choices to achieve success...


For example...


A lot of new clients will attend a consultation with a very vague idea of why they are there...


"I guess i just want to tone-up a bit"... is a common answer from somebody who hasn't thought about their goals in much detail...


What does that actually mean?


Fat loss?


Muscle gain?


A bit of both?


Understanding precisely what you want your exercise/diet to do to your body is a crucial first step, BEFORE designing a programme to help you achieve that outcome.


Without a clear end goal... you won't have a programme that is optimised to that goal...


And, at best, your progress is going to be extremely slow and frustrating!




You Try To Take Shortcuts...


The human body works in a certain way...


This is the end-result of millions/billions of years of human evolution.


What we've all ended up with, is a highly adaptive system...


Which means that your body has the ability to gradually adapt to the physical challenges that it is presented with.


If you run regularly, gradually increasing your distances and/or speed... your aerobic and muscle systems will adapt accordingly... increasing your aerobic endurance and speed.


If you lift weights (correctly), and gradually increase the weight used... the relevant muscles become stronger... and you can then continue to gradually lift heavier weights.


A lot of people take this for granted...


(When you really think about it... the fact that these processes ever evolved is extraordinary)...


But by definition...


They require effort (usually to the point where it is physically challenging and uncomfortable), repetition, consistency and patience.


Which, for the majority of people, is more than enough to put them off.


Instead, you might be tempted by the endless promises of quick, easy alternatives from...

  • food manufacturers

  • fitness equipment providers

  • supplement companies

  • even Personal Trainers...


It's easy to exploit the fact that everybody wants to find a shortcut...


But in reality, these shortcuts don't work!


At least not on their own.


If you want to combine proven, supplemental tactics with the basic fundamentals...


...go ahead!


But don't expect to be able to shortcut the processes that your body is specifically designed/evolved to respond to!




You Don't Train Hard Enough... Or You Train Too Hard!


The body adapts to exercise in a relatively predictable way...


There isn't really much luck involved.


Having said that, you do need to make sure that you are training in the 'sweet spot'...


That means finding the balance between challenging yourself enough to trigger a response from your body...


But also allowing room for growth, adaptation and changes to occur...


In other words, making sure that you both plan enough rest, and avoid having to take excess time off due to injury.


That sweet spot is known as hormesis...


Missing the ideal zone in the middle will lead to a lack of results/progress (or worse)...


Don't challenge yourself enough... and your body has no reason to change. You might maintain your current fitness level if you're lucky.


Over-do it, and you're either going to get injured, or you're simply going to be getting inadequate rest (which is when the long-term physical changes in your body actually take place, as opposed to instantly occurring during your workout).


Again, a proper plan is vital to ensure that you are finding that balance... if you're making it up as you go along, there's a good chance you're going to land outside of that sweet-spot'.




You Fell For The 'Fad Diet' Trap...


Consistently following a 'perfect' diet is not always simple...


If it was we would all be doing it already!


But that doesn't mean that it must be complicated.


And while the creators (sellers) of the latest trend in dieting may present their method as a simple solution to a "complicated" problem...


It's more likely that you are actually going to be making things much more complex.


Take 'intermittent fasting' as a method for fat loss, as one example...


I'm not going to tell you that there are absolutely no potential benefits to IF. That would be simplifying it too much... so don't take this as a way of saying that fasting is completely useless.


In many cases, what appears to be an attempt to reduce calories, resulting in a deficit (and therefore theoretically induce weight loss), can actually move you even further away from the scenario which you are hoping to reach.


The basic (simplified) idea, is that by reducing the number of hours in which you are 'allowed' to eat (and increasing the number of hours in which you are not eating/digesting food)... you should find it much easier to achieve a calorie deficit by almost automatically reducing the number of calories that you eat, simply because you have less time to eat them.


It's worth re-emphasising that the above may well be true... and there might be additional health benefits associated with fasting...


But in this example, focussing on fat loss...


While the description above may seem logical...


There is one big disadvantage that may mean this is actually going to slow, or even stop your fitness/fat loss progress.


Exercising on an empty stomach is likely to significantly reduce your exercise intensity and endurance.


This is obviously a bad thing...


Especially if you are relying on that exercise capacity to 'burn' enough calories to maintain your target calorie deficit or build muscle (which is a key factor in your overall metabolic rate)...


While you might be eating less and therefore taking in less calories, you are now potentially sacrificing the other side of the equation... the calories that you burn directly and indirectly through exercise.


For the sake of argument... say you manage to reduce your daily calorie intake by 500 calories...


But your overall daily calorie 'burn' drops by 300...


Your actual 'net' achievement is a reduction of 200 calories per day (not the 500 that you made all that effort to achieve!)


That's just an example... but you can decide for yourself if it's worth the sacrifice that arguably comes with a fasting plan.


Any fad diet is likely to have its own drawbacks...


And in most cases, it's hard to justify those drawbacks with positive results.




You Are Not Consistent...


Your fitness, body shape etc... will always reflect your most consistent behaviours.


If you diet and exercise like a pro athlete throughout January, and then overeat and skip the majority of your workouts for the following 11 months... you will feel (and look) like somebody who overeats and skips most of their workouts... not an athlete!


Again, that might seem obvious.


But it's an extremely common mistake.


The good news... is that 'consistent' doesn't have to mean '100% perfect, all of the time'.


Roughly... if you can maintain something resembling your ideal plan 80% of the time (5-6 days per week), with a sensible amount of flexibility elsewhere, you should end up roughly where you want to be...


And you've always got the option of stepping things up for a short amount of time when necessary, just to add the 'finishing touches' eg. pre-wedding, pre-holiday etc.


Still, it's human nature to try to do the minimum.


Most people probably don't genuinely enjoy the 'process' of an exercise programme.


Exercise can seem like an unpleasant experience;

  • hot & sweaty

  • breathlessness

  • muscle aches & pains

  • possible injuries/joint pains etc...

It can be hard to voluntarily experience these feelings on a regular basis.


You may also feel that you are having to make too many sacrifices to maintain your diet plan...


So it makes sense to try to bend the rules every now and then.


But, sadly, there is no escaping the fact that to achieve a significant result, you will have to commit to a consistent process eventually.


This rule is unbreakable.


Of course, the internet is full of 'hacks' and 'shortcuts' that will suggest otherwise.


But if they worked... we would all be using them. And as a result we'd all be perfectly happy with our bodies already...


The methods that do work... require a bit of effort...


And most importantly... need to be applied consistently.


Note: One of the common attempts at avoiding the need for long-term consistency...


...is to simply train as hard as possible in the short-term (January!?), in the HOPE that this somehow compensates for the lack of good long-term habits.


I'm not saying you shouldn't, or can't train hard if you want to...


But given the choice of prescribing extremely intense exercise for 4 weeks before a client's holiday...


Or prescribing a 12 month... sustainable, consistent plan that a client can realistically maintain in the long-term...


The long-term, consistent plan is almost always going to be the preferred choice... even if the difficulty/intensity of the programme appears to be 'lower'.




You Are Not Patient Enough


Your body will not change overnight!


You will have to learn to be patient...


A single workout is not going to produce noticeable changes...


It is the gradual accumulation of tiny steps that produce the noticeable changes you are looking for.


It's easy to be fooled by the 'Before vs After' transformations of other people...


Two photos, taken 12 weeks apart (usually in different locations, with different lighting etc by the way)...


Will always emphasise the contrast between the start and finish of a programme... making it seem that a rapid, dramatic change has taken place.


In many cases, the changes may well be genuinely impressive. But if you saw two photos of that person taken one day after the other, you wouldn't notice the difference...


So why are you giving up after a handful of workouts or a couple of days of dieting?


Early on... accept that success on your programme is going to require you to change your lifestyle long-term/permanently!




You're Missing The Bigger Picture...


The fitness "industry" is extremely good at convincing the general public that the answer to all of their problems is a simple solution;

  • a specific "new" way of doing individual workouts

  • a 4 week diet/detox plan

  • or a newly discovered "secret" supplement...


The truth, which you won't like, is that to produce impressive results...


You might need to make changes to a wide range of lifestyle choices.


"You can't out-run a bad diet" is a cliche that sums it up well...


The idea being of course, that if your diet stinks, it doesn't matter how "perfectly" you exercise/train...


You simply won't see positive results until you modify your diet to support that training.


Not only is the opposite also true...


But there are a huge number of other choices/habits that you are making everyday (mostly without even realising), that are also likely to be counter-acting the positive steps that you take in the gym and in the kitchen.


This can be one of the most frustrating situations to be in...


Because it's easy to believe that training and diet must be the keys to success.


They are a major part of it obviously.


But if you feel that you are already training, and eating as well as you possibly could be...


And still not seeing the desired result...


There must be something missing.


And it's not your "genes" or your "innately slow metabolism"...


It's something/several things that you are, consciously or unconsciously doing, or not doing, everyday (remember... your current situation reflects your most consistent habits).


That might seem demoralising.


But the good news...


Is that it is something that you are doing...


And therefore is something that you can control...


And reverse where necessary!




You Are Achieving Results... You Just Aren't Noticing...


It's always worth remembering that even a really effective programme doesn't produce results overnight...


It's going to be a gradual process.


It's important to decide at the beginning how you are going to measure that progress.


While the correct method needs to reflect the goal that you are aiming for...


...one key factor to consider is that you can somehow quantify any changes that you are making to your body.


For example...


If you aiming to increase or decrease your overall bodyweight... measuring your weight regularly on weighing scales is a relatively straightforward way of accurately measuring what happens over a month, year etc.


Relying on less 'scientific' methods can cause problems.


Let's say your initial motivation to start a new programme came from simply being unhappy with your appearance in the mirror...


And you decide that "losing weight" is the solution...


(that may or may not be the best way to approach that particular problem... but that's a different story)


As you progress through the early days/weeks of your programme, it will be tempting to return to said mirror, to assess any changes that are, or are not, taking place...


In other words, you're relying on a very subjective view of your current situation to make a judgement regarding your plan... you are not actually measuring.


This opens you up to all sorts of issues... how are you possibly going to make a fair comparison each time you approach the mirror?


And do you have the patience to avoid making daily comparisons, which will make it seem like nothing ever changes?


Just imagine the range of factors that could (probably will) make your measurements inaccurate...

  • your current mood

  • the lighting at that particular moment

  • what you've eaten that day

  • different effects of hormones which will fluctuate at different times (level of stress, sleep, different stages of menstrual cycles etc)...

...and that's just a few examples.


The point is...


You are not measuring accurately.


So if you are getting frustrated at an apparent lack of progress, or overly excited at what looks like rapid short-term progress...


You could be getting it completely wrong and making changes to your programme that you shouldn't be.


Even if you are progressing nicely, most physical changes are so gradual that you are never going to see the changes asthey happen...


It's a bit like watching your hair grow...


If you compare in the mirror on consecutive days... you are never going to notice any difference.


But obviously your hair is growing.


And if you measured it properly (with a ruler, after say 7 days)... you'd obviously see a difference.


Anything less than 28 days is far too soon to definitively decide whether your fitness programme is successful or not...


Be patient!


Again, ideally your programme should be a long-term intention.


Slow progress is still good progress... as long as you remember to maintain your consistency!


So...


  • Decide how you're going to (properly) measure your progress

  • Accept that it might take a while

  • Only make changes when the numbers are clearly not moving in the right direction in the long-term (minimum 28 days)



Keep It Simple...


Your health & fitness doesn't (and shouldn't) be complicated...


But it's easy to make any of these simple mistakes which can cause frustrating progress...


Or even stop it completely.


If you are not seeing the results that you were expecting...


There's likely to be a simple reason...


And for most people, it will be one of the above.



 

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