Going in the right direction?
Find you've been training super insane... but still remaining the same? Welcome to the plateau, the frustrating part of fitness. Whether it be a lack of weight loss or a stall in muscle gain! Don't be discouraged, you're not the only one. Weeks of repetition can leave our bodies bored... bored of the same old exercise and bored of the same old 'fish and a rice cake'. By following these simple steps, you can keep the scales going in the right direction!
1) Metabolism booster Eating too little may be the cause of all this controversy. Having a lower energy intake may work wonders at the start of your fitness regime, but overtime your body adapts... you know, survival of the fittest. This means the basic metabolic reactions use less energy to perform, and therefore less energy is burnt during daily tasks or exercise. In addition, when you decide to have that all exciting 'treat' meal (AKA the day you eat the entire world) excess calories get stored for reserved energy. Mixing up your eating habits and increasing energy intake can do just the trick... this doesn't mean having a chocolate bar a day to up the calories (As much as we wish it did), stick to lean proteins and healthy fats!
Tip? Instead of giving yourself a daily calorie target, give yourself a weekly target (dependent on your goals) and spread them out over the week. So, let's do the math: If you were a male hoping to gain size and had a daily calorie goal of 3000 KCAL. 7days = 21,000 KCAL. Now using those calories, give yourself 4 higher calorie days and 3 lower calorie days to keep your metabolism thinking! For example, have roughly 2,300 on lower days and 3,500 KCAL on high days.
2) Muscle Confusion This is were you need to challenge yourself! Doing 8-10 70kg squats may of been an uphill battle at the start, but now you're whacking them out with no second thought, familiar? It's time to change it up. As an exercise becomes easier, it starts to become less effective. Chuck the old routine and create something new and exciting, it will also increase the motivation! Not ready to part with it? Have a play with the weight and rep range.
Tip? Try something completely new to really put a spanner in the works. For example: 'Time under Tension', instead of having the in and out moto, take your time! I'd recommend 5 seconds up, 5 seconds down and to really feel the burn.
3) Consistency Weeks go by where we are on the very top of our game, before the motivation starts to dwindle (we are all guilty of this dont worry). However, the question is how do we keep consitent? The New Year is upon us and the time to start assessing goals and aims for 2016, which generally involve health and fitness, whether you be a beginner or beast. One way of making sure you stay consistant is keeping track of your achievements and following your SMART goals! By starting off full throttle, it's likely to become too much! Little achievable changes to both fitness and food can be more effective!
Specific - Make sure your training is specific to your goals. Wanting to build muscle but deciding to run 5 miles a day? This will counter balance any hopes of making 'gainz'.
Measurable - Keeping count of weight lifted or distance ran will spur you on to see all your improvements!
Achieveable - Don't set yourself silly goals, as you're setting yourself up for a fail before you've even started. 'I want to loose 2 stone in 1 week' - we all know this isnt happening.
Realistic - Make sure you are realistic with your training. First time in the gym for a while and planning to deadlift 100kg... only to be disheartened. Start off small and be excited if you feel you can increase weight or distance.
Timely - 7 days a week for 2 hours may work for some people (normally Instagram fitness folk). Although, there's no point planning your training for 5 days, when you know you can only make 3 days a week at a push! Quality not quantity, just make your days count!
Feel you need a little help to kick start 2016? Get in touch with a personal trainer to get the ball rolling, who can help you with training, goals and keeping the motivation!
Here's to a happy, healthy 2016!
- Lizzie Whitehead
Nutritional Science student