Your diet and nutrition will have a huge impact on your progress and results. The popular phrase “you can’t out-train a bad diet” is spot on, and learning how to properly eat for your goals is key. If you’re training to your full potential in the gym but not getting anywhere, your diet could be the cause, either because you’re overeating or under eating. Make sure that you are eating enough to fuel your intense workouts. Dieting on extremely low calories and hitting the gym every day can actually cause your metabolism to slow down and progress to stall. You need energy to complete a hard workout, and that energy comes from food. Eat wholesome, nutrient dense foods that are packed with vitamins, minerals, and the essential macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) in order to keep your metabolism revved up and your energy high. Just as it’s possible to under eat after a hard workout, you may also be consuming more food than you actually need. Restaurant dishes can be packed with high calories, and a few extra spoonfuls here or late night snacking there can add up quickly. Be mindful of your portions, and pay attention to your hunger/fullness cues. Eat to feel full and satisfied, without stuffing yourself to the gills.
This is a transformation focused on food. Naturally my favorite subject. On the left I was finishing my senior year of college. I had been tracking calories (not macros) for a few months and doing cardio 2 times per DAY, sometimes 3. I was eating 900-1200 calories a day. That's it. That's the magical number I kept reading and that's what I believed. This was my first experience with "fitness." This was my start. Cardio bunny eating far too little. The middle picture was a few months later, and just one week before I started tracking MACROS. I was done with college, lifting weights lightly in my basement and still doing cardio at least daily. I wasn't seeing the results I wanted and still eating 1200 calories a day. I knew I was doing something wrong. By some miracle I found an article about how eating more might help you lose weight. It clicked. I needed MORE food. My body had been in starvation mode for months. I was overworking and under eating. So I slowly increased my intake over time and my physique only got better. The right picture is today. I am in a caloric deficit (aka LOSING weight) on 1750 calories per day. There was a time when I couldn't lose weight on 900 calories a day!!!! I can now lose weight on almost double that! How? I've built up my metabolism over the last almost three years, and I've also built muscle. I took the time to eat more and gain when it was necessary. Fitness is a learning process. Take away from this: eating less is not always better. More cardio is not always better. Also, LEARN about your body and nutrition. If you don't know, find someone who has the knowledge and learn from them. Find a coach who will TEACH you rather than just throw macros at you with no rhyme or reason. Questions about this? About nutrition or macros or training? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Although you might feel like you are pushing yourself to the limits during your workouts, ask yourself if you could possibly be working harder. Maybe you could pick up a heavier weight on that exercise, or run just a bit faster on the treadmill, or add in a few extra sets at the end of your workout. More often than not, we can always bring more effort to the table! Challenge yourself to add more intensity to your workout. Of course there will be days when you don’t feel 100% and you can’t leave the gym totally spent, but the majority of your workouts should leave you with nothing left in the tank. Train hard, focus on your workout rather than texting or chatting between sets, and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Change and results happen most when we are uncomfortable, so be ready to feel a little pain and struggle, it will be worth it.
Pull ups and chin ups for today's full body workout I hear people say all the time "I'm horrible at pull ups!" Or "I can't even do one!" But then I ask how often they practice them and they say never if you want to get your first pull up or your fifth pull up, you have to DO pull ups! Use a band for assistance if you can't do one yet. Or use the assistance machine if you have one at your gym. Or do negative pull ups. There are a ton of ways to work on your pull ups but the point is you have to actually WORK on them to get better. Put them into your workout regularly and you will absolutely see progress. Any goal you have, make sure you have a plan on how to get there. If your goal is to do 5 pull ups in a row, you could start by setting a goal to practice pull ups 2x a week. Consistency breeds results.