Working out is a test in and of itself. Given the increasingly busy lifestyles of most Americans, physically getting to the gym and having a good workout can be a challenge for some.
But do you know what’s even more challenging than repetitively picking up countless tons of forged steel? Continuing to work out even when you’re not seeing results.
According to your Twitter you spend countless hours “crushing it” in the gym during each workout, you weigh all your meals with a food scale, and your pantry looks like a vending machine for meatheads.
So, what gives? It seems like you’re doing everything right but nothing changes. He’s a few things you might want to reconsider…
1. Following Social Media “Experts”
If you’re receiving most of your information from someone whose educational background is primarily based upon YouTube and Pinterest, then you’ve got a massive problem on your hands.
Social media is a minefield when it comes to health and fitness. Given the extremely low barrier of entry, nearly anyone can market themselves as a “coach” despite any sort of formal education or board certification.
· Competed in a bodybuilding show? Congratulations, you can be a coach.
· Given someone unsolicited advice at the gym regarding training or nutrition? Congratulations, you can be a coach.
· Set up a camera in your parent’s basement and made a video about IIFYM and MyFitnessPal? Congratulations, you can be a coach.
· Broke a PR and filmed it for “the ‘gram”? Congratulations, you can be a coach.
· Rocking low body fat because of excellent genetics from your parents? Congratulations you can be a coach.
· Uploaded all your recent meals and their corresponding macronutrient composition to social media? Congratulations, you can be a coach.
To many, fitness may seem easy – it’s just numbers and equations. Eat this much, burn that much, and this is what you’ll look like. However, in reality, that’s the furthest thing from the truth. Your body is not a calculator and there are tons of positive and negative feedback loops present to keep you upright, breathing, and cognizant despite any repeated attempts to disrupt homeostasis.
Those who seek to distill fitness and health into simple social media based infographics are usually the ones who have only begun to scratch the surface. In the words of one of my mentors:
"The difference between knowing just enough to be dangerous and knowing enough to really help others is not that large. Yet, to bridge the gap takes maintaining the attitude that you might not know everything and therein lies the problem." - Dr. Ben House
Takeaway: Check your sources and examine them with extreme skepticism if their background is based upon “hours of self-study and experimentation”. Life is short, examine it deeply.
2. Trying to Train Through Pain Instead of Working Around it
Conventional deadlifts are slowly becoming the African rhino of the fitness industry. Soon they’ll be extinct as sumo deadlifts take the forefront in the online fitness sector.
Now, I will make the caveat that there are some who shouldn’t be deadlifting from the floor. Whether it be due to the bony structure of their hips or their active range of motion into hip flexion, many folks default into poor positions (sometimes without even realizing it) while deadlifting. If you combine crappy biomechanics with excessive load, high velocity, or large cumulative workloads, you’ve got a pretty solid formula for generating chronic ligament/tendon issues.
Have you ever wondered why your elbows always hurt with straight bar curls? Maybe your missing end range within supination. Maybe your elbow extension is poor because you train triceps like a madman and never get any soft tissue work. Or, maybe your anatomy just isn’t well suited for straight bar work.
Either way, whatever the cause, I can guarantee that the hypertrophic stimulus from EZ bar curls is going to be nearly identical to straight bar work. Now you might be able to pick up slight differences in cross sectional area with high resolution imaging but I highly doubt the difference would be statistically significant,
Takeaway: Don’t be married to specific exercises during a workout. All variations are beneficial, it just depends upon the context and individual demands of the situation.
The fitness world is a rather interesting paradox – on one side you have those who look at lifting weights and burning calories as a means to an end (aka eating lots of good food and not dying from a host of cardiometabolic diseases).
However, on the other end you’ll find those who eat, sleep, and breathe fitness. These are the individuals who are notorious for posting every meal on Instagram and blowing up Snapchat with daily swolfies.
But, this can be a very slippery slope and many find that they end up cutting themselves with the double-edged sword many describe as a “fitness lifestyle”. 4 days at the gym turns into 6, extra conditioning gets dropped into your weekly agenda, sleep is lessened to make time for more training – are you noticing the trend here? Fitness has turned into an all or nothing mindset. Enter the false dichotomy.
“Dichotomy - dīˈkädəmē – noun: a division or contrast between two things that are or are represented as being opposed or entirely different.”
You see, when one believes this logical fallacy, they enter into territory rife with neuroticism and singular polarity. There is no grey area, they assume that they must lead the “fitspo” lifestyle 24/7/365.
“Progress come from balance, NOT burning both ends of the candle with a blow torch.” – Jance Footit
Don’t get me wrong, physiological adaptation requires deviations from homeostasis. But, we must be careful not let our growth mindset overtake our rational and logical thought processes.
Takeaway: Fitness can be a part of your lifestyle but one does not need to go to extremes to be healthy. There is a grey area which still allows for progression without sacrificing everything you know and love.
4. Poor Nutrient Timing
Nutrient timing is essentially the industry buzz word for glucose disposal agents, highly branched liquid carb sources, and carbohydrate partitioning compounds. Sure, what you eat is important but when you eat is also important.
Don’t blow this out of proportion though, a mixed macronutrient meal (i.e. proteins, fats, and carbs) requires roughly 3-5 hours for complete digestion depending upon the overall caloric content. Given that’s the case, if you’ve consumed a full meal prior to training, there is not an immediate need to consume additional protein right after the session.
However, on the flip side, if someone neglects to eat prior to a workout session (I’m looking at you, intermittent fasters…) then you will not have any amino acids circulating within your blood stream to elevate muscle protein synthesis (MPS). As such, you will be forced to pull additional amino acids from muscle tissue that is not being used during or remodeled after the session.
In other words, if you’re always training chest but you haven’t squatted since you were a baby, you’re going to be pulling amino acids from unused tissues (namely your legs) in order to promote growth and remodeling of your upper body (that is, if you haven’t consumed any nutrients prior to training).
Takeaway: Consume a large, mixed macronutrient meal within 2-3 hours of a training session to activate the appropriate cellular machinery for growth and repair. If you can’t eat prior to the training session, consider sipping a protein shake (like Beast Protein) during your workout along with a simple liquid carb source such as Gatorade or any dextrose based analog.
Before any of you PubMed keyboard warriors come storming into the comments section with data on intermittent fasting and lean body mass (LBM) retention, please try the above suggestion for at least a month. I can almost guarantee that you will notice a significant difference in your performance during the session, as well as your subjective recovery on following days.
5. Poor Data Management
Have you noticed how nearly everyone these days has an Apple Watch or FitBit? If you want to have some fun, ask your close friends how many of them are monitoring data with a fitness tracker. If they’re like most folks, I’m sure they’re probably aware of different metrics such as: hours of nightly sleep, resting heart rate, and daily step count. However, I would highly doubt any of them know how to quantify that data or adjust their lifestyles based upon it.
“What gets measured, gets managed”.
Data is great as it provides the necessary structure for a foundational baseline. However, if you’re not going to use that data to monitor physiological adaptation then what’s the point? Knowing your heart rate is cool but at the end of the day, what can you do with that?
Don’t get me wrong, tracking data is important. Sport science is the future of healthcare and athletic performance. Don’t believe me? Google just partnered with FitBit to allow healthcare providers to monitor real time data on patients and use their AI (artificial intelligence) based cloud system to study trends in patient care.
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Takeaway: Data monitoring and trend analysis is the future whether we like it or not. However, don’t become consumed with data unless you have a plan for how you’re going to alter output relative to input. Nothing changes unless you do.Take all of these into consideration for your next workout and get your progress back on the right track. Beast Sports is here to help, too, offering high-quality supplements that support any goal and every type of workout. From stacks to individual products, Beast Sports has you covered to keep you on track, have a better workout and reach your goal. For a limited time, used the code BEAST20 at checkout and save $20, plus get FREE shipping when you spend more than $49. It's the perfect time to get a jumpstart on your training and workout goals!