I trained my butt off for years, and yet the growth seemed to be lacking. I would hobble around day in day out with sore quads, glutes, and hamstrings, and although my shape improved, it was super slow.
So I began to say to myself (as many people do!): “it’s just not in my genetics. I’ll never look like her. It won’t happen for me” etc. The stress and self-doubt would build and I’d begin to question my decisions and values.
I was training 6 days per week, for 1.5hrs and burning at least 500 calories. My diet calories were what I considered to be high, and so despite feeling hungry most of the time, I restrained from ‘over-eating’ because I wanted to ‘stay lean’ and avoid fat gain. I felt stressed and run down, but I wouldn’t miss a single session because I wanted the gains! My stomach was holding fat, and my muscles weren’t getting bigger.
Ironically, these were the factors holding me back from building muscle and getting leaner. I was over-training and under-eating, therefore my body could not function optimally. My body couldn’t recover, heal and build muscle, and the stress levels actually aided fat preservation – particularly around the gut (cortisol).
I want you to ask yourself the following questions. If you answer yes to more than one, it is a clear indication you may be self-sabotaging:
- Do you find yourself decreasing in energy, and yet mysteriously increasing in body fat / softness?
- Are you in the vicious cycle of:
- Under-eating to lose weight
- Binge-eating from starvation
- Under-eating to punish yourself
- Binge-eating from starvation?
- Have you been ‘lifting’ for months if not years, but haven’t really changed shape?
- Are you lifting the same weight (not progressing) for months if not years?
- Are you giving yourself time to eat, time to rest, and time to de-stress?
- Are you genuinely happy in your job / daily life?
- Have you given self-love and acceptance to your own soul?
- Are you ‘on point’ with your nutrition Mon-Fri then blow it all on a ‘big weekend’?
I can imagine you said yes to at least two of the above? That’s great! – Why? Because it’s your first step in acknowledging the decisions and choices we make will define our future. Now these issues have been brought to your attention (side note: any of the above are applicable to any aspect of your life) – we can begin to work on them.
- Decreasing in energy and increasing in body fat can be an indication of a number of things going on in your body – lack of food, lack of sleep, chronic stress, hormonal imbalances etc. Hormones play a big part in our health. You can read about hormonal deficiencies and excesses by clicking here
- Starve-binge-starve cycle is an indication you need to re-assess your eating habits and mindset. It could be that you’re under-eating (though not feeling ‘hungry’) and the gradual build-up leads to a breaking point, particularly on weekends once out of routine and accompanied by friends (to share the guilt). Or it could be that “manifestations like obesity, and personal sloppiness and eating disorders often are the fear-based projection of yourself” according to the amazing Wayne Dyer – look him up on YouTube. His motivational speeches and meditation are amazing
- Training for months/years with little progress might suggest you are doing multiple things wrong, or missing important factors in your programming to ensure periodization (progression), or missing essential nutrients for repair and growth. Beyond the __Reps x __sets there is the tempo, the coupling of exercises, the rest period, length of session, intensity of session etc. I cannot encourage you enough to purchase a Training Program from Ambitious Bodies and see what you’ve been missing out on
- Not allowing yourself time to eat, rest and de-stress can do more harm than you realise. It is in the time we rest that our body heals and rebuilds the damage. If you aren’t dedicating time to this important process, it is possible to relapse into those bad habits
- Your mood towards your job sets your mood for the whole day – the whole week – majority of your adult life! Let’s say you work 8 hours x 5 days a week, and are awake 7am to 10pm. That’s 42% of your working week spent awake. If you are not happy enough, it may be time to mix things up
- If you are at war with your own mind you will be at war with others. When you become peaceful within, that is what you will have more to give to the world. When you are driven by your ego, you dominate others. If there is no inner-harmony, there will be no outer-harmony. (again this is inspired from Wayne Dyer)
- Big Weekends can be just enough to completely undo all efforts on your fat-loss you’d made that week.
- Let’s say your standard daily is 1,900 calories – this means:
- You’ll face a 20% deficit in fat-loss, which is 1,520 calories, Mon-Fri.
- Saturday you eat 2,000cals and drink 2 bottles of wine over the weekend (1,500 calories)
- Sunday you’re hungover so you eat another 2,500 calories
- Your weekly total calories are now 13,600
- They would’ve been 13,300 if you’d eaten 1900 over 7 days…
There is no fat-loss here! In fact you’d be more likely to gain fat, because out of those weekend calories there’d likely be very minimal protein, and extremely excessive amounts of empty carbohydrates. Can you see now why ‘blowing it’ on the weekend is completely self-sabotaging?
I hope by now some of the information I have provided you as started to sink in and therefore more in control of your thoughts and actions. Here are the key points for that strong, lean and energetic figure *and mind* you desire:
- Eat the correct amount of Macronutrients – that’s Proteins, Fats and Carbs
- Ensure you have 1-3 rest days per week and plenty of sleep – this is when the muscles are built!
- Ensure you relieve stress and feel at peace with your mind – stress can wreak havoc on your metabolism
- Ensure you see a professional for any help with your health and hormones – they impact everything
Begin to change the way you think, so you can begin to change your physical self. Become more PROactive, and less REactive. Become more tolerant and less dominant. Learn to become completely satisfied in yourself, and this will help set you free.