In my nearly 25 years of experience helping people get in shape and lose weight I have seen pretty much every reason people fail to achieve their goals. Often times it’s a lack of motivation or consistency of exercise and other times it can be distractions such as work travel or injury. The fixes to these problems are pretty obvious. However, this blog post looks at the 5 not so obvious reasons I have seen over the years that prevent people from hitting their weight loss goals and more importantly what you can do about it.
Most people eat way more calories than they are aware of and need on a day to day basis. And while nutrition and weight loss is definitely not as simple as a mathematic equation of calories in versus calories out, if you over eat you will eventually begin to gain weight. If you’re trying to lose weight and over eating it is going to be very hard to shed those stubborn pounds!
Most people are eating far too many refined carbohydrates which raises their insulin levels (fat storage hormone) and ultimately leads to a gain in body fat. By reducing the amount of refined carbohydrates you eat in your diet you will lower your insulin production and not only store less fat but you will also eventually dip into those fat stores and begin to lose weight.
Variety is key in any exercise programme as your body adapts to any stimulus pretty quickly. If you’re still doing the exact same workout after 4 weeks you’re probably not getting as much out of it as you should be. Your body needs changing stimulus in order to make it adapt which is what brings about the results you desire, whether it be weight loss or muscle building or speed development. There are so many variations of exercise, different pieces of kit, numbers of reps and sets that you could easily change your workout up every few weeks for a year before you needed to repeat anything. Yet so few people do. Look at changing your workout every few weeks or try a different type of class once in a while just to mix things up.
You’re probably well aware that as a society we don’t move enough but studies now show that people who are active but don’t exercise burn more calories and have less chronic disease (and better longevity) than people who go to the gym regularly but spend their workdays seated. Think about that for a moment. It is essential that even if you train several times a week you need to build activity into your day. Take the stairs in the office, get a standing desk, go for a walk every lunchtime are all ways to build movement into your day. The human body simply hasn’t evolved to be sedentary!
While each workout shouldn’t put you on the verge of vomiting, training hard is really a necessity. If you’re in the gym for 90 minutes and not sweating and working hard then you’re socialising, not training. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is all the rage in the fitness industry at the moment, and rightfully so, because when done properly it produces great results. However, the emphasis is on the high intensity part (work as hard as you can) followed by the appropriate recovery period. Multiple rounds of these intense bouts produce very good results. So if you’re still doing the same programme you did 5 years ago then change it up and some HIIT to your workouts.
As crazy as it may seem not getting enough sleep could be contributing to your weight gain. Lack of sleep is a stressor which can raise both your cortisol levels and your insulin levels, both of which ultimately lead to fat gain. Deep sleep also promotes the production of growth hormone which is what causes lean muscle tissue development (particularly if you have been weight training) and will increase your metabolism. Lack of sleep can be quite a complex issue but some simple tips include making sure your bedroom is totally dark and quiet. Keeping electronic items, particularly smart phones and the TV out of the bedroom is also a very good idea. Taking an Epsom salts bath (or a magnesium supplement) just before bedtime can also help you relax and facilitate sleep effectively. Think of sleep as an investment in your health not as wasted time, because your body desperately needs it.
There you have it – my top tips for kick starting weight loss. Try and address them one at a time and before you know it you will see the pounds begin to melt away. Remember it takes time, so don’t become disheartened if you haven’t lost a stone in two weeks!
Chris is one of our new Personal Trainers and he is also a certified CHEK Practitioner. He is offering all of our members a free 30 minute consultation this month so feel free to contact him if you think your workout needs an overhaul.