I started working out at age 21, otherwise known as the Dawn of Time. I was present for the birth of aerobics classes and the cult-like following of Atkins.
I survived Flashdance fashion and Jane Fonda high-rise leotards, and endured a stress fracture from many months of high-impact cardio on unforgiving, cement gym floors.
In short, I’ve been an eyewitness to trends, cults, and rises and falls of everything fitness.
Through it all, I always belonged to – and later worked at – one gym or another – private gyms, large chain gyms and a few one-on-one boutique type facilities.
It wasn’t long before I noticed a few patterns, regardless of the type of gym, class or clientele.
Can you guess which one?
- Every gym has at least one creepy guy who wears too much cologne, not enough clothes, and spends 90% of his time admiring himself in the mirror.
- There’s the person who treats the stationary bike like his or her barcalounger: a Starbucks latte occupies the cup holder, a newspaper (remember those?) draped across the monitor and a pedal push once every five or so minutes… never enough to break a sweat.
- Someone who does hours of cardio yet doesn’t seem to lose weight.
If you guessed all three you’d be right.
But for the sake of today’s post, let’s focus on #3, since I can’t do much about the other two aside from suggesting you carry a can of mace.
In addition, you may be person #3. How do you know? If you’ve ever uttered the words, “I’m doing everything and I’m still not losing weight/getting in shape!” you’re that person.
If you’re a healthy person – e.g., free of thyroid issues and any other medical condition that may affect your weight – here are the most likely reasons you’re in suspended animation.
You’re Already Fit
The closer you are to your goals, the harder it is to continue making progress. For example, an overweight sedentary person with 50 lbs. to lose, who cuts calories and starts walking, will quickly see results.
An athletic person who’s within a normal weight range but wants to shave off five pounds will take much longer.
You’re Afraid of Weight Training
I’m amazed at how often women will ask me if they’ll get “bulky” from resistance training. Not only is this P.P. (Pure Poppycock), but weight training could be the key to unlocking A. weight loss and B. muscle tone.
If you’re not lifting weights you won’t see muscle tone. Period. A total body workout twice to three times a week is all you need.
You Eat Too Much
You can’t outrun your fork, as the corny saying goes. But it’s true. Regardless of how much exercise you do – running included – if you’re taking in more calories than you need you won’t see changes. You must cut calories and eat clean, mostly fresh, unprocessed food to lose weight.
You Love Your Comfort Zone
If you’re unwilling to be a little uncomfortable you won’t see changes. If you enjoy a couple glasses of wine a night or dessert after every dinner and know you need to cut it out but won’t, that’s your choice.
However, you can’t expect to see the results you want if you’re unwilling to give up something. Instead, look at the things you gain: a healthier body overall, more energy or whatever else motivates you.
Keep in mind, too, that the initial feelings of deprivation go away with time. Once you establish a pattern it becomes a habit you no longer need to think about. Promise.
Your Workout When You’re “In The Mood”
It comes to that word again: consistency. It’s key to everything – the answer to nearly every question I get about results. If only we could exercise once and be done with it. Alas, it’s simply not the case.
It’s like taking prescription medication. If you have high blood pressure like me, skipping a few days is not an option. That is, unless I want to see sky-high numbers and risk getting into stroke territory.
Look at activity – whether structured (a specific workout plan) or unstructured (shopping at the mall, gardening, running after your grandkids, etc.) – as medicine to keep you sane, fit and help you manage your weight.
Your Workout is on Autopilot
It’s easy to get comfortable and simply repeat the same workout day in and day out, for days, weeks, months and even years on end. Besides the risk of dying from boredom, your body adapts. It gets easier because your muscles become more efficient.
That’s both good and bad news. Good news: It feels easier. Bad news: Your results come to a screeching halt. Add something new, increase the intensity in some way or otherwise change your approach every six to eight weeks to keep those results happening.
You Give Up Too Easily
Sometimes you do get out of your comfort zone. At first, it goes well. But you last for a couple of weeks and then decide it’s not working – just when you’re about to see some results.
Whew! Dodged that bullet. Time to get back to your old habits.
But therein lies the problem: Any changes you make must be ones you do for life if you want to keep those results for life.
This does not mean you can’t ever treat yourself, have a glass or two of wine here and there or enjoy dessert. It just can’t be every day. Temporary changes result in temporary results.
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