This week in the Rock Your Life Community I got a great question from one of my members, MaryLou Rea.
No sooner had I answered her than I suddenly got a similar question on the blog, my fan page, on my Instagram, and even my friend Barb was asking me this question! While I had talked about this on live coaching calls before, I hadn’t put it together in one place for you as a reference until now.
If you’ve been wondering something similar, today I’ll take you through the top five reasons why you aren’t seeing the results you are after even though you are showing up and doing the work:
Overtraining is a factor in a lot of chronic fatigue, it's the reason people get injured when they shouldn't, AND it's a culprit in why you don't see results faster.
When you are able to give 100% to the workout you are doing, you will get more out of it. So it follows that you want to be ABLE to give 100% by being fully recovered from the last one. During your workout, you're actually creating inflammation in the muscle tissue and tearing it down.
In a strong, healthy person (one who is well rested, well nourished and injury free), that is great, because that tissue grows back stronger than ever AFTER your workout WHEN you REST.
Exercising too much can also set you up for chronic tiredness eventually, lack of weight loss (your system is stressed out, which makes it hold onto body fat) and you're more likely to get injured on muscle tissue that hasn't fully recovered.
This is why you don't want to overtrain, or exercise with high intensity every day.
Be aware of the type of workouts you're doing daily, and mindful of your energy levels. We're all in different places, with varying goals - so let your fitness level and the way your body feels after you workout be your guide.
You'll need to experiment to find out your sweet spot - but for me personally I focus on doing 3 resistance style workouts per week (either using my bodyweight, or some equipment), 1-2 cardio sessions per week - one being a HIIT (high intensity interval training) or Tabata workout, and the other being either a run, a spin class or something else that's just fun and gets me going if I have time and energy. I always have stretching in the mix, and I always take 2 days off.
2: Skipping Meals
One of the MOST important parts to seeing results is fueling your body often and with the correct balance of nutrients.
Skipping meals (within your total daily needs) does NOT equate to losing weight. In fact, the opposite happens. When you deprive your body of its energy source, it figures it ought to conserve the energy you have (stored in your fat cells) for later. That means it HOLDS ON to fat, making it harder to lose.
The other thing that will mess you up when you don't eat is you'll be more likely to play that mental game with yourself like, I didn't have lunch, so this piece of chocolate cake is NBD.
And skipping meals also sets you up for cravings -because your body just needs energy, and reaching for the fastest source of it, sugar, is a handy way to get some. But that has consequences, as you know.
Insulin helps your body regulate blood sugar levels by guiding your cells to accept the glucose from the food you just ate. When your cells absorb that fuel, you get energy. A skipped meal can cause blood sugar levels to drop, which can throw off your insulin system and over time, create insulin resistance. Once your body and brain have stopped “listening” to insulin’s signals and stop absorbing glucose, you end up with excess glucose floating around in your bloodstream which your body (in)conveniently packages up as fat.
You see, your body likes to be in a state of constant equilibrium-that’s what hunger is for-to remind you to eat so you can maintain a steady energy state. Skipping meals will make you feel tired, lessen your ability to focus, create cravings, and make you hold onto your body fat.
It's totally fine if you eat 5 times a day, 3 times a day or within a time window. Just be sure to eat ENOUGH food daily so that you feel satisfied and full, and ensure its from nutrient dense sources so you get the benefits and reap the rewards.
3: Not getting enough sleep
Not getting enough sleep is such a SNEAKY way that we can sabotage our results. A typical day for a lot of people is to get up early, prioritize their workout, skip breakfast, have a few drinks after work, and then after a long day stay up late to cram in just a little extra "me time."
Unfortunately, this is like a perfect storm for metabolic meltdown, and the best way to keep padding your waistline.
We already talked about what happens when you skip meals, but skipping sleep is terrible for our health. It can also lead to the development of insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease and high blood pressure
Getting less than 6 hours of sleep a night can lead to weight gain and increased cravings for unhealthy foods.
Lack of sleep can lead to the development of many chronic diseases. It also disrupts important metabolic pathways that are involved in your energy balance and regulation which in turn effects your results.
Getting enough sleep allows you to perform better, makes you happier, regulates your hormones (insulin), reduces stress levels, improves focus, creativity, memory and regulates and reduces inflammation.
Plus, having adequate rest gives you the energy to get to a workout at the end of the day if that’s the only time you can go, get you up and at it ﬁrst thing in the morning, and help you manage stressful things that may come up throughout the day.
Everyone is different but I agree with the National Sleep Foundation - getting around 7-9 hours is optimal. Some things that help with falling asleep and staying asleep are making sure your environment doesn't expose you to light as light on your skin signals your body that it's time to wake up.
You can also use a sleep mask as needed for a really good sound sleep. Begin winding down from computer or phone use an hour or so before you're planning to sleep and keep in mind that the light from TV's and electronic devices disturbs your ability to rest.
4: Not mitigating your stress
We all have sources of stress in our lives but learning ways to combat it and reduce it is key to seeing results. Stress raises your levels of a hormone called cortisol in your body. Cortisol, in its normal capacity has several positive roles in the body, but as it pertains to this discussion it also has the ability to raise blood glucose levels when it skyrockets because you’re stressed.
In times of stress our bodies go into "flight or fight mode." When this happens your body releases adrenaline and cortisol. In the short-term, the adrenaline reduces your hunger levels as your blood flows away from the internal organs to your larger muscles to help you defend yourself. However, once the effects of adrenaline wear off, we are left with cortisol.
This cortisol tells your body it's time to replenish your food supply but we are also left with excess amounts at the same time. The excess levels of cortisol slows down your metabolism to maintain an adequate supply of glucose in your blood in order to fight off any threat (stress).
Once the stressful event is over and our stress levels fall, our glucose levels remain high and that glucose gets stored as fat. Most notably visceral fat and BELLY FAT.
So getting stressed about your expected results and how fast they’re going to happen can also cause our stress hormones to rise, which in turn promotes storage of more belly fat, decreases our ability to get good rest and decreases quality of life and life enjoyment.
Don’t stress yourself out about the little things. Remember to breathe. Try to give others the benefit of the doubt and steer away from negative thoughts as much as possible. Don’t get caught up in beating yourself up – know that YOU are in control of your thoughts, your actions and the direction you decide to go.
5: Not eating enough nutrient dense food
Every time you eat, you're creating the foundation and tissue that make up the actual shape and structure of your body - and every time you exercise, you're simply putting the finishing touches on the beautiful physique you've sculpted with what you put in your mouth.
So many people are walking around with nutrient deficiencies masquerading as CRAVINGS, that could be resolved by eating real foods and rotating their greens (read my 5-step food prep and recipes guide for a 3-day plan and recipes to try.)
A great way to get started is to think about 2-3 breakfast options you like (for me it's eggs, oatmeal and smoothies), your favorite entrees that could double as dinner or lunch - and I just think of what proteins I want to base them on, then what carbs, and finally what fats would work well (as simple as olive oil or hemp seeds or avocado).
I fill that in with a couple snacks like home made pumpkin protein muffins or an easy to make trail mix, a couple staple sides I would want on hand daily like a big mixed greens salad and some rice, quinoa or pre-made easy to grab sweet potato chunks - and make my list and pick my recipes around that.
For so many reasons, it is essential that you take your eating just as seriously as you take your workouts.
While it's easy to get focused on our workouts and harder to get focused on nutrition, remember that how you eat is so much more important to your external (and internal) results. There is no exercise plan in the world that can out-train poor nutrition.
Bonus Nutrient 101 Series:
Read these articles to get some great information about the nutrients your body needs so you can start making sure they're included in your day:
I hope you got a TON out of this article, please pass it on and share it with someone you love. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts, comments, and questions - leave them below.
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- Lv, Wen, et al. "Sleep, food cravings and taste." Science Direct Journal of Appetite. Volume 125. June 1, 2018. Web. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195666317312345
- Marniemi, Jukka, et.al. "Visceral fat and psychosocial stress in identical twins discordant for obesity." Journal of Internal Medicine. February 22, 2002. Web. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2796.2002.00921.x
- Mozaffarian, Dariush, et.al "Changes in Diet and Lifestyle and Long-Term Weight Gain in Women and Men." The New England Journal of Medicine. June 23, 2001. Web. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1014296