Cambridge’s Leading personal trainers

Why Am I Not Making Progress?

It’s been a few months of working towards your goal, you think you’re doing everything right… So why aren’t you progressing how you want?

The truth of it is, you probably aren’t hitting all elements of health and wellness that you need to progress.

There are a lot of elements to achieving your goals, so we are going to break that down for you.

Goal Setting – Expectation vs Reality

It is always great to reach for the stars, to want to push yourself further and harder with every goal and have something that is challenging to work towards.

However, if you are setting unrealistic goals, ones that are just too far out of reach or not possible in the time frame you’re looking for, you’re setting yourself up to fail.

I’m sure you’ve heard of SMART goal setting, but if you haven’t here is a brief breakdown:

Specific – does your goal have a focus with a specific tangible outcome?

Measurable – can you measure it clearly and accurately? Is it clear to define if you have been successful or not?

Attainable – is your goal challenging but reasonable to achieve, especially within the time frame you set?

Relevant – does this goal align with your overarching desired outcome?

Time Frame – what is the deadline to reach this goal? What is the schedule you are following to meet this goal?

Setting goals in some respects is easy. You are at point A, you want to be at point B. Simple!

Failure to consider all those points above, however, is setting yourself up to fail.

If you’re ever unsure if your goal is appropriate, any of the PT’s at The Barn Bootcamp will be happy to help!

NEAT – Exercise vs Everyday Movements

NEAT = Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis

This is the energy expended during everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sport-like exercise (this includes Bootcamp and PT).

Examples: walking to the shops, gardening, tidying the house, fidgeting, playing with children, taking your dog for a walk, carrying your shopping and so on.

How many times has your trainer replied to a comment about not hitting a weight loss goal with “well, how many steps are you averaging?” (I’m guessing it is a lot).

That is because this side of your everyday life cannot be ignored.

Sedentary behaviour can be defined as any activity involving sitting, reclining, or laying down which has very low energy expenditure. So, this includes sitting at your desk all day or spending a Sunday laying down with your feet up on the sofa.

Studies consistently demonstrate that extended periods of inactivity can reduce metabolism and impair the body’s ability to control blood sugar levels, regulate blood pressure and break down fat, as well as have a negative impact on mental well-being.

Getting a smartwatch is a good way to keep you accountable and motivated to move more outside of your workouts if this is something you currently struggle with.

Other things to consider:

–          Can you park in a spot further away from the entrance?

–          Can you go to a toilet further away in your office building?

–          Can you use a basket rather than a shopping trolley?

–          Are you able to take a 3 min walk break every hour to get some fresh air and move?

–          Can you walk to the park for your dog walk, rather than drive there?

Nutrition – Energy In vs Energy Out

When working towards a goal within fitness, whether it be to lose body fat, gain lean muscle mass or for mental health benefits, what you eat is going to play a huge part.

At The Barn Bootcamp, we calculate your personalised calorie and macro goal. This is to help make your life easier and to ensure you are eating what you need to achieve your goals!

Your calorie goal is the total calories per day you should be aiming to hit. This is then broken down into 3 macronutrient (macros) groups: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. These macro goals are vitally important when you are looking at your food intake. Neglecting to appropriately eat these 3 groups is not only setting you up for failure but bad for your health!

However, the most important thing is your Energy In vs Energy Out.

In other words, how many calories are you consuming per day versus how many you are burning per day.

Get this balance right, and you will find achieving your goal much easier.

Managing Your Calorie Goal

Do you find yourself sticking to your targets Monday-Thursday and feeling really positive about your progress?

Friday comes and you deserve a glass of wine.

And you fancy a takeaway.

Then Saturday comes.

You go out for lunch with friends.

You have a few beers whilst watching an afternoon of sport.

Now it’s time for a Sunday roast.

And you might as well have that apple crumble because you’ve already ‘ruined’ your nutrition this week?

This cycle is one of the most common and detrimental habits we see as personal trainers.

There are a few things to unpack here.

1.      You don’t need to wait until Monday to get yourself back on track. You don’t need to ‘throw away’ a day because of one bad choice.

2.      Life is for living, not attending social situations or enjoying some of life’s treats isn’t what we expect you to do. However, it can’t be ignored that certain choices will slow down or even prevent progress from happening. You need to be aware of the impact these choices are having on your progress so you are making informed decisions.

If you are someone who always has weekend plans or knows they enjoy a Friday night takeaway, don’t panic!

Here is a tip for you.

Start to look at your calorie goal as a weekly average.

Here is an example:

Your daily calorie target is 2000 (to keep the calculations easy).

2000 x 7 = 14,000

14,000 is your weekly calorie goal.

Now, stead of splitting this up evenly. Why don’t you try adjusting each day a little to give you more leeway at the weekend?

Monday – Thursday = 1,800 per day

Friday-Sunday = 2,250 per day

Your weekly intake will still be 13,950, meaning you are still within your targets intended for your goal.

For a more detailed breakdown of this, see our article – Energy Expenditure Explained

Sleep – Are you getting enough?

Understandably, a lack of sleep is not always voluntary. I am sure those with children, a demanding job, or those who have trouble sleeping, even though they want to, will agree!

However, there are times when we sometimes choose to not sleep. Late nights watching TV or scrolling mindlessly through social media are two common ways to spend the hours leading up to bedtime.

Bedtime Procrastination or Bedtime Revenge is a psychological phenomenon whereby people stay up later than they really desire, in a bid to gain some control over the night which they feel they lack during the day (subconsciously or not).

Some studies suggest that sleep deprivation could disrupt the hormones that regulate appetite, which results in body fat accumulation. 

For example, a study found that those with less than four hours of sleep per night recorded low leptin and high ghrelin – both hormones which stimulate hunger and appetite. Those studied reported overall high hunger ratings, especially with cravings for energy-dense, processed foods.

Let’s break it down:

You stay up later than you need for optimal sleep.

You wake up tired, sluggish and with low motivation.

You reach for caffeine over water all day.

You skip your workout as you don’t have the energy.

You reach for high sugar, high carb and highly processed foods to give you an energy kick.

You crash once that has worn off.

You repeat.

And suddenly it’s the end of the day, you’ve barely eaten anything with any nutritional value and you have sat down all day.

The amount and quality of your sleep are not only having an impact on your fitness journey, but it is also going to have a negative impact on your mental health.

Make the effort to have a solid bedtime and morning routine.

Do your best to stick to it.

Include things that you enjoy as part of your morning routine and things you find relaxing and de-stressing at night time. 

Training – Are You Doing the Right Things? 

Of course, we cannot ignore your training when we are looking at a fitness/health-related goal. 

The thing we see the most as personal trainers that are holding people back is their workout structure and routine. 

If you are following random Instagram workouts adhoc – always changing what you are doing with no real understanding of why you are doing something, you are unlikely to see any results. 

You need to be consistently doing the same movements and progressively overloading them to see results. 

If you do some push-ups one week, then do not attempt to do them again until 3 weeks later, how can you expect your body to adapt and become stronger in that movement? 

We need repetition which we are progressively overloading to create a sufficient stimulus to result in adaptation. 

We have a whole article on Progressive Overload, so check this out for a more detailed explanation of training and why you might not be seeing the results you want. 

As you can see, there are many elements to consider as to why you are not making the progress you would like. 

Need help making progress towards your goals? Click ‘Enquire Now’ to speak with a member of our team.

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