Sunday, April 6, 2014

3 Reasons You're Not Making Progress in the Gym

The number one reason you may not be making progress in the gym is that you're not working outside the gym. 

I've said it before, and I'll say it 'till I'm blue in the face ...

The only way to be truly healthy is to get fit from the inside out. (That's tweetable.)

It's a journey. It's a progression. You have to constantly be improving, seeking change, making a difference, evaluating, re-evaluating, experimenting, and reflecting.


1. You Haven't Become King of the Kitchen.

Most people who kill it in the gym but still aren't seeing results are lacking the same control at the kitchen bar that they have at the squat bar. They're allowing food to rule over them. You have to remind yourself daily that food is simply fuel for your body. You're the one in charge of what you feed your body. Food doesn't rule you.

If you feel confused or like you don't know what you may be doing wrong in the kitchen, ask for help. While there's a ton of information out there to school you on proper nutrition, it's often overwhelming to try to make the necessary changes to our habits and busy lifestyle. Part of becoming better involves humbling yourself, becoming smaller and constantly learning from others.


2. You're Going the Distance. But, You're Not Going for Speed.

I'm not going to say that you may be overtraining, because I believe a few hours spent training per day is not going to kill you when we, as 21st century citizens (and may I say majority 1st world-ers), spend 15-20 hours sitting on our rears. However, you may be spending too much time training the wrong way.

Let me tell you a very short story. Once there was a girl (me) who started running outside everyday when she noticed she lost some weight spending a half hour or more jogging every day. That girl deducted that the longer she jogged, the leaner she'd become. Thus, that girl spent the next five years running up to 25 miles every week. It wasn't until she decided to try something different (bodybuilding) that she learned she had been wasting away her muscles, not to mention her time, running and running and running.

You don't have to spend an hour on the treadmill, elliptical or any other cardio machine to get lean - or even skinny. 

The only thing pure steady-state cardio like that will do for you is condition your heart over time to make it insanely hard for you to raise your heart rate into 85-90 percent of your max heart rate and keep it there for 12-20 minutes, which in turn, puts your body into EPOC (Excess Post Oxygen Consumption), which is a long, wordy term used to describe the state in which your body can burn extra calories for 24-36 hours after your workout while you're just sitting there. Can I get a hallelujah?

So, the moral of the story is.... Keep going the distance, as in never stop pursuing a healthier lifestyle, but don't neglect your speed. You need to change it up. You need to freak your body out once in a while. Practically speaking, interval training, sprinting, plyometrics and weight-lifting all need to be included in your gym routines.

I save my leisurely jogs and cardio machines for my appointments with God. Steady-state cardio is not part of my workout, although, it's an essential part of my healthy lifestlyle, which brings me to my next point ....


4. You're Working Out for the Wrong Reasons.

You must come to terms with yourself and all of your flaws, mistakes, bad habits and hurdles before you can expect to get past them. You must be able to see that Crap in yourself (because we all have Crap), grab it by the scruff, and look at it square in the eye, saying ...

"I see you, and I'm not going to allow you to define me. I'm thankful that God redeems the broken and he uses Crap like you to humble me, make me relatable and give me a testimony. Although I know you, Crap, will keep piling up, I want you to know that my God is bigger, and he comes to scrape you away every day. I choose to honor him by honoring my body, and in turn, giving him the glory!"

Remind yourself that God created you in his image and you are perfectly and wonderfully made. God calls you his masterpiece. You must learn to see yourself the way he sees you.

If you are not a good steward with what God has given you now, why would God bless you more? While we can ask ourselves that question in regards to many areas of our lives like finances, business, and family, we can also apply that principle to our fitness life.

If you can honestly say that you have been working hard at conditioning your physique and fitness level, but you continue to verbally abuse it or not fuel it properly, why should you expect to see any progress?

Start setting apart time to meet with God, and thank him for your body. He is the giver of life and all things good. Ask him to give you a pure desire to pursue fitness and improve your physique. He is faithful, and he will produce results.

If you or someone you know struggles with getting fit from the inside out, consider contacting me for fitness/nutrition consulting. If you're in the DFW area, stop by one of my classes at Rob's Fitness, Granite Park or Orange Theory. If you're a girl, and you like to have fun, consider booking your next party with me. These and other services are provided by Amber Michelle Fit, LLC.

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