The Fitness Zone
There are many reasons why you may not being seeing the results you are after in the gym. These may include poor programming, not training specifically, or not using the correct techniques or equipment. While most of the time, we are focussed on what is happening during the workout, Australian Institute of Fitness, Course Coach, Claire Biggs, shares four OTHER factors that may affect your performance that you also need to focus on:
#1 Not Having A Goal
Having a goal, long or short term, will provide you with the motivation to get out of bed on those days when sleeping in feels like the better option. Whether your goal is weight loss, to increase strength or fitness, or to compete in an event, having a goal will drive you to work harder to see better results. It’s what keeps you pushing through the hard parts of the workout and staying focused.
When setting your goals make sure they are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and set a Timeframe. Once you have your goals in place, you can plan your workouts more effectively, and be more specific with your training.
TIP: Have a long term plan, which can be broken down into weekly plans and then daily workouts.
#2 Having Poor Nutrition And Hydration
The saying “You can’t out train a poor diet” is correct. If you are training effectively, but eating poorly, you will not see the results your training COULD be providing you. Make sure that what you are eating is the correct fuel for your workouts, and if you are not sure, get in touch with a Nutrition Coach, or a Sports Dietitian who can guide you to making better nutritional decisions.
The type of food you eat is also very important, make sure you are consuming whole foods rather than processed where you can, and a good variety of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats, dairy, nuts and seeds.
Dehydration may also affect your training and results. Studies have shown that not consuming enough water can reduce your performance both physically and mentally. It also increases your rate of perceived exertion, meaning you are not working as hard as you might feel. TIP: Remember to always stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.
#3 Not Reaching Optimum Workout Intensity
Ok, so this is during the workout, but it is important. Often people overestimate how hard they are working in the gym. Sure we all have our off days, and when we are feeling under the weather, pulling back is ok, BUT if you know you are slacking in the gym, it’s time to ramp it up.
We can use the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) which is a measure out of ten, to give an indication of intensity. One out of ten being no effort, and ten out of ten being maximum effort.
Many people believe they are sprinting, or lifting at 60-80% of their maximum intensity but are actually working at 30-40%. So how do you know if you are working hard enough? Listening to your body is key! If you leave a training session knowing you could have worked harder, or longer, then that could be a sign to increase your intensity, but it all depends on your goals and what you are training for. Having a Personal Trainer is a great way to establish your BASE level, and you can work up towards your goals from there.
TIP: Using a fitness tracker that measures calories burned and your heart rate, can also be helpful as you can compare one day's training session to another day’s, to check yourself, and see if you are training consistently or holding back.
Did you know that when you are exercising you are actually placing your body under stress? It is during the rest and recovery period that your body rebuilds itself, and as a result gets stronger, and this is a process called super compensation.
This is why it is important to plan your rest and recovery days. It is good practise to have at least one day off a week training in order to allow the body to repair itself. If you don’t, you can experience a decrease in performance, it can lead to injury, and in extreme cases neural and endocrine fatigue.
So next time you are unhappy with your performance or feeling as though you are not progressing, make sure that you address these four factors. If you need help with programming, nutrition, or with recovery then seek out a specialist that can help. There are always professionals, such as Personal Trainers, to help you get the best out of every workout.