So you’ve made the decision to start working out, start eating healthy and start making serious inroads towards achieving those illusive health and fitness goals.
You get off to a great start, sticking to your regime, eating well, training hard 3-5 times a week and seeing physical changes as a result of your hard work.
But then, your progress inevitably begins to slow down and you hit that dreaded plateau.
So now you have 2 choices, you either start doing more, training for longer, adding to your current training regimen and starving your body of more calories to trigger your weight loss again, or you lose the will to carry on and give up on the whole thing, right…?
Many of us are hard-wired to think that the only way to speed up our results is to do more, when more often than not, this will actually be detrimental and the answer is actually quite the opposite.
Doing too much, training too hard, for too long, too often and not giving your muscles chance to rest and recover properly causes stress which can be extremely costly when it comes to long-lasting results.
Not to mention how difficult an effort of that magnitude is to sustain.
How many times have you tried to start a new, gruelling training regime, or a new fad diet that eliminates every last morsel of enjoyment from your meals?
How long did you stick to that programme/diet? Did you complete it? Did you see the results you wanted or expected? And even if you did stick to it and see results, how long did those results last? When you finished it and your body was so exhausted and run-down you could barely get through the day, did you revert back to old ways and gain back every last pound and then some?
Instead of looking for what you can add to your programme, ask yourself…
Einstein said it best… “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result” So why when one gruelling training regime, or when the fad diet has just left you so burnt out that you were forced to give up, would you jump straight to the next one, or even worse, further increase the workload and stress, only to end up right back where you started again?
Don’t get caught up in this never-ending cycle of exhaustion, frustration and hopelessness.
Instead, look at how you can improve your programme to make it easier to follow, more time-efficient, more enjoyable and more effective.
Are those single-legged pistol squats, balancing on a Bosu Board whilst juggling 2kg dumbbells really helping you achieve a better physique? (ok, maybe a slight exaggeration)
Instead of constantly trying to add more and more complex movements, focus on building up and improving the heavy, compound, multi-joint lifts that work several muscle groups all at once and give you far more “bang for your buck”.
Instead of pushing yourself to go even longer with punishing, joint-destroying and soul-destroying hours on the treadmill, cut the length of your cardio workouts right down and up the intensity with HIIT sessions that are far more effective when it comes to burning stubborn body fat whilst protecting muscle stores (which help keep increase your metabolism and burn calories more efficiently)
Instead of following short-term fad diets, cutting your calories and carbs so low that you can barely get through the day, ending up with nutrient deficiencies and hormone imbalances to boot, make a long-term lifestyle change, eating healthy, wholesome foods at regular intervals (however best fits around your own schedule) well-balanced meals and keep your metabolism working efficiently around the clock.
And the best part is, instead of making the whole process harder on yourself, following these basic principles will boost your day-to-day energy levels and make working towards your goals feel less like a chore, and more as it should, like a hobby and a process that you can, and should enjoy.
Stop looking for what you can add to your programme, or where you can cut calories. Instead, start looking at how you can reduce your workouts down to their best and most important elements and get more “bang for your buck”.
Ditch the fad diets and “short cuts” and stick to a healthy, balanced nutritional programme that you can stick to permanently and that will provide long-lasting results!