Most people who wish to change their body do so because they are unhappy with the condition that they are in, and the habits which have been formed over time have got them to that condition. Often it's a catch-22, as many of these habits may be enjoyable. However, the result of doing them continuously over time can cause a person to feel negatively about their body and it's not uncommon for somebody trying to achieve results to have conflicting 'want' and 'don't want' values. For example, they want to lose weight but they don't want to reduce their alcohol intake.
This article identifies some of the main reasons people either gain weight or fail to reach their desired goal of achieving a better body shape and it may help you to identify some of your own barriers. Identifying and understanding your own habits and barriers is one of the first steps to overcoming them and can assist you with achieving results.
1. I don't track my food: Playing darts in the dark
Consistently hitting your macronutrient requirements is by far the most successful way to achieve results. Many people don't understand the intricacies of energy balance and how the body works and I often hear 'I eat healthy, but I can't lose weight?' Most likely it's because you eat too much, or maybe not enough. Tracking your macros eliminates any questions around over or under eating and it allows you to clearly see where you might need to make changes to your eating habits in order to get results.
Using your food diary is the best way to stay on track. Whether you choose to eat as clean as possible, eat 3, 4 or 5 meals per day or whether you like to add in some chocolate to curb your sweet tooth. Regardless of how you like to eat, if you don't track your macros then you are just guessing and guessing is like trying to play darts in the dark. You'll have a go but chances are you're going to miss the target. So many people waste countless hours in the gym trying to achieve results that will never come simply because they do not track their intake. Start tracking your macros and you will save yourself time and stress.
Benefits of tracking macros:
1. Allows you to confidently hit your nutrition target
2. Allows you to clearly see where you might need to make changes
3. If you've over consumed you know exactly by how much, so you can do the right amount of exercise to burn it off
4. Allows you flexibility with your food choices so you can add in the things you like or crave
5. Saves you time in the long run
6. Track your intake by using your food diary on Vision Virtual Training
2. I eat too much: Deficit vs Surplus
Most people that are overweight got that way because they consumed more energy from food than they needed over a consistent period of time, mainly from excess carbohydrates and/or fats. In order to lose weight, you must be in an energy deficit. That means that the total number of calories you consume on a daily basis must be less than what your body needs to stay at maintenance level. When you are in a deficit it forces the body to use your existing fat stores as energy. As soon as you consume at maintenance level or above you are no longer in a deficit therefore no longer able to burn those existing fat stores. The process of fat loss is very simple. Consume the right number of macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein and fat; we've taken care of the calorie conversions for you!) specific to your body type, exercise and goal, do it consistently over time and you will lose weight. One of the reasons people fail to achieve fat loss results is because they frequently surpass their body's energy requirements. And yes… that includes the weekend.
What to remember
1. You must be in a deficit to burn fat
2. As soon as you consume at maintenance or above you can no longer burn fat
3. Calories come in the form of carbs, fats, protein and alcohol and exceeding on any of these can lead to weight gain
4. Hit your nutrition targets by using your food diary on Vision Virtual Training
3. I drink too much alcohol: That glass of wine is a macronutrient too!
Most people know that alcohol can contribute to weight gain, however people forget to identify or ignore it as an energy source leaving them disappointed or in denial when they gain weight thinking they've eaten well but forgot about the 15 drinks they had over the weekend. You might have hit your macros for the day but those glasses of wine you forgot about contain calories too! And a lot of them.
Here's a bit more detail:
For every 1 gram of alcohol there's 7 calories
For every 1 gram of carbohydrate there's 4 calories
For every 1 gram of fat there's 9 calories
As you can see there are more calories in 1 gram of alcohol than there are in 1 gram of carbohydrate; so if you're consuming extra calories through alcohol then you need to ensure you burn them off if you want to have any chance of losing weight. The body's immediate response to alcohol is to get rid of it straight away, it's a toxin that the body doesn't actually like. Until the alcohol is processed and completely out of your system you will not burn any carbohydrates or fat. Keeping a track of your alcohol intake is important so you know how much extra exercise you need to do to burn it off. Don't be disappointed if you gained weight and you didn't put in the extra time to burn off the booze. Alcohol is high in energy but has no nutritional benefits.
What to remember
1. Alcohol is an energy source and is high in calories which can lead to weight gain
2. There's more energy in 1 gram of alcohol than 1 gram of carbohydrate
3. Keep track of your consumption and use exercise to burn off alcohol - don't let it replace food
4. There are no nutritional benefits in alcohol
5. People make poor food choices around alcohol consumption
6. Use your alcohol vs exercise calculator on Vision Virtual Training to work out your extra exercise requirements
4. I don't eat enough protein: The building block for muscle
Protein is essential for tissue repair, muscle growth and it helps to maintain your metabolism. Generally, people who are overweight or with poor body composition will eat a diet high in carbs and/or fats and low in protein. Your body requires a certain amount of protein based on your weight, lean muscle mass and goal. People often underestimate what they require and understanding the importance of protein is vital as it is the primary building block for muscle, bone, skin, hair and many other tissues.
About 70% of the energy we burn happens in a rested state, so achieving your protein requirements is essential for building and maintaining muscle. The more muscle you have on your body the more energy you can burn throughout the day and at rest, so increasing your muscle mass will allow you to burn more energy. Every time you exercise and overload your muscles you tear the muscle fibres which is a good thing. Consuming adequate protein allows your muscles to repair which helps to increase muscle mass resulting in an increase in fat burning potential. However, if you under consume protein your body simply will not build and repair those muscles properly resulting in muscle deterioration, injury and slowed metabolism. As muscle begins to deteriorate the body cannot burn energy as quickly, resulting in fat gain over time.
What to remember
1. Protein is essential to repair, build and maintain your muscles
2. Under eating your protein requirements will lead to muscle loss
3. Muscle is responsible for 70% of the energy we burn daily
4. Your metabolism is greatly affected by your muscle mass
5. Reach your protein targets by using your food diary on Vision Virtual Training
5. I don't eat enough: Starving yourself
It's not surprising that with the vast amount of information out there people think that the only way to lose weight is to starve themselves. Yes you need to be in an energy deficit to lose weight, but being in an extreme deficit for a prolonged period of time could lead to many health problems, slowed metabolism, elevated cortisol levels, nutritional deficiencies and possible weight gain. Your plateau or weight gain may be the result of under eating.
Your body needs energy, vitamins, minerals and fibre from carbs, proteins and fats to ensure it can survive. Daily bodily functions such as breathing, sleeping, moving, metabolising food and exercise all require energy and if you're not providing your body with enough then there will be problems. As soon as the body begins to starve it can no longer build and repair muscle amongst other health issues. Once this happens your body will begin to use its existing protein (being your existing muscle) as energy, leading to muscle deterioration and a loss of muscle mass, slowed metabolism and fat gain.
Another concern for people who starve themselves is binging. At some point their restriction will lead to cravings which increases the urge to binge. Training whilst under eating can cause someone to binge as well as being tired or emotionally turning to food when they've had a bad or stressful day. The process of starving the body is not healthy, sustainable or the way to achieve results.
Don't be in a calorie deficit more than is required for your goal. Hit your macros, eat your food and love your food, it's your body's life source.
What to remember
1. Being in an extreme deficit has negative health effects on the body
2. Under eating will lead to loss of muscle which leads to slowed metabolism and can cause plateaus
3. Under eating can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies
4. Starving leads to binging
5. Hit your nutrition targets by using your food diary on Vision Virtual Training
6. I make excuses and blame others: Taking accountability and responsibility
People will come up with all sorts of 'reasons' aka 'excuses' when they fail to achieve their results. I'm too busy, I don't have enough time, it's too hard, it's not my fault… the list is long. But the reality of it is, regardless of whether your reasons are valid or not, the outcome will still be the same. Your 'reasons' aka 'excuses' are not going to get you what you want so unless you find a solution or strategy for your 'excuse', the only person you're going to end up failing is yourself. Achieving results requires habitual changes, consistency, accountability, responsibility and some good old fashion hard work.
"If nothing changes, nothing changes"
To change you have to make changes and one of the first steps is taking accountability and responsibility for your habits and actions. You need to realise that the only one that can really make the difference is you. If you find yourself constantly making excuses or blaming others for why you did or didn't do something you might just be lying to yourself about how serious you are about wanting to change.
People will prioritise what's most important to them and if you are placing more importance on things that conflict with your goals then you need to ask yourself, "Am I actually ready to make the necessary changes to achieve my success?". Don't be disappointed by the results that you didn't get because you didn't do what was necessary to get them. Take responsibility for yourself, own your choices, don't blame others for influencing your decisions because if you do then achieving your results will always be a constant battle of ups and downs, stops and starts that never really getting anywhere.
Successful people find solutions. Unsuccessful people find excuses.
What to remember
1. Take accountability and responsibility for your choices
2. An excuse whether it's valid or not will still result in the same outcome
3. People who make excuses or blame others rarely achieve success
4. Excuses and blame is often just a reflection of your priorities
5. Visit Vision Virtual Training for motivational videos and success stories
7. I do too much cardio: Stop burning your muscle away
What's the most important thing for fat loss? If you said nutrition… Excellent! If you said weight training then great, you're on the right track! But if you said cardio then you better stop what you're doing and read on…
Without question the most important element for fat loss is nutrition. It is responsible for about 70-80% of your result, weight training is second and cardio is third. Picture the 100 meter sprinter vs the marathon runner comparison. They are 2 people with very different physiques, but why? Because of the type of training they do. The sprinter will focus on weight training and short burst of high intense cardio resulting in a more muscular, lean physique. Whilst the marathon runner will do less weight training, with an emphasis on high amounts of cardio resulting in a less muscular physique.
Cardio can assist with fat burn and is important for cardiovascular health, but doing too much cardio could be preventing you from achieving your results by wasting away your existing muscle.
In a nutshell, weight training (anaerobic) has a much more powerful effect on elevating your resting metabolic rate than aerobic exercise. Increasing your weights sessions and reducing your cardio will allow your body to build and maintain muscle and greatly assist with fat burn.
If cardio is part of your program, make sure you are doing the right amount but unless you're training to run a marathon then there's no need to go for a 2 plus hour run. Re-think your training. Stop wasting away your muscle.
What to remember
1. Over training with cardio can lead to muscle breakdown
2. Cardio is great for improving cardiovascular fitness and burning excess calories but weight training is more important for muscle growth and fat burning
3. Weight training elevates your resting metabolic rate more than cardio does
4. Make sure your nutrition requirements match your cardio goals
5. Make sure your cardio requirements match your goals
6. Use your exercise planner on Vision Virtual Training to keep a track of your training
8. I'm not consistent: I'll start again on Monday
It's Monday again, it's a new week and a chance to start over. You've just had an indulgent weekend of eating and drinking and your results from the previous week of healthy eating and exercise have been swallowed by an invasion of extra calories.
Fat loss requires consistently consuming the right amount of food over a set period of time in combination with exercise. But people often underestimate what consistency means believing that 5 out of 7 days is good enough and the weekend is free range to do and consume whatever they like. Unfortunately, the body doesn't work like that and when you are no longer in an energy deficit then you are no longer able to burn fat.
If you're inconsistent and it's preventing you from achieving your goals, then you need to find out why. If you are serious about achieving success then you need to find the solutions to whatever barriers are holding you back, if not you will form the traits of the classic yo-yo dieter.
People will use a lot of excuses for their inconsistencies, but consistency isn't about waiting for the right moment or being selective as to when you're prepared to do the right things. You must incorporate the appropriate actions for your goals every day, not just when it suits. That's how consistency and new habits are formed.
What to remember
1. Success is the result of doing good things consistency over time
2. You will only get better at something by doing it more often
3. Everyday counts… Including the weekend
4. Inconsistency is often just a reflection of how important your goals are to you
5. Use Vision Virtual Training to stay consistent with your nutrition and exercise
Need help? At Vision Personal Training Camberwell we provide you with the support, knowledge and tools to ensure your success. We empower you to take control of your life so you can achieve and maintain amazing results long-term. Contact us today to start the beginning of your new life.*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.