Posted by connie b on

 width=Few things are more frustrating than giving all you've got to your weight loss efforts, only to be rewarded with.....absolutely nothing. Inches? Nada. Pounds? Zero. Body fat? Zip. It's almost guaranteed that your internal health has improved after several weeks of clean eating.  Things like blood pressure, cholesterol, and insulin resistance improve quickly after beginning a new fitness program.  Believe it or not, those things become increasingly more important, as you near your target weight/dress size/measurement list.  Overall health and vitality are what sustain this as a lifestyle, after the novelty of being lean wears off. But, let's face it, people:  Most of us aren't in it for our blood profile.  So what can you do, when you're doing your best and have nothing to show for it? First, be patient!  Don't discredit those changes in endurance, agility and strength. If you're making progress there, it's only a matter of time before you see it in the mirror as well. Next, check your routine. If you're working out AND rehashing last night's Jersey Shore antics, you're not working hard enough. Hate to tell you, but exercise, like everything else, builds on itself. So you may have made tremendous gains just by walking for 20 minutes, in the beginning.   As your body adapts, though, the same effort won't yield the same results.  You've got to consistently challenge yourself, and the more fit you are, the harder you've got to work.  Most of us have neither time, nor inclination, to keep tacking on hours in the gym. That leaves us with nothing left to do but up the intensity!  If you're using 5  lb. weights, use 8. If you're using 25 pounders, use 30! The great part is, there are infinite ways to keep it fresh, no matter what your fitness level. Doing the same mind-numbing resistance-cardio routine is a surefire way to stall out fast. There are tons of resources available to the public online, so take advantage! Progress is made when muscles break down, then rebuild themselves to become stronger.  Using the same weight and rep range, month after month, will eventually become so easy that your muscles stop responding.  Be sure to shake things up AT LEAST every 3 weeks. Finally, assess your rest and recovery patterns.  Are you training hard every day, then skimping on sleep?  This sounds like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many, otherwise sound, fitness programs are unraveled by lack of rest. Let me explain, MUSCLE ISN'T MADE IN THE GYM. It is broken down there, but it only repairs and rebuilds at rest. Sleep is prime time for cell regeneration, and kickstarting a lazy metabolism.   If you're not getting enough, you aren't giving yourself a fair opportunity to grow.  A minimum of 6 hours a night of quality shut-eye is necessary for optimal recovery. Understand that this is a journey, and a process. You will ebb and flow, have days when you feel like a Beast, and others when you feel more like a burst of wind could knock you down . Don't give up! Nothing in the body is ever truly static. We are constantly in motion, so even when you can't see it, you're always moving in one direction or another.  Whether that means moving closer to, or further from, your goals depends on YOU.   So sink in your heels and hang in there, and results WILL come!    width=Erin stays busy pursuing her own fitness goals, and helping to educate and inspire those she loves to live healthier lives.  A hair stylist by trade, she manages a salon, and is chipping away at a degree, ultimately in dietetics and kinesiology.  She lives in South Florida with her husband and a “pound puppy” named Pedro.