1 – You Only Measure Progress via the Scale
You exercise 2-3 times per week and you track what you eat using MyFitnessPal but the scale has not moved.
What you are doing must not be working. You must be eating too much and the workouts are ineffective. Why are you trying to eat close to your body weight in protein, that’s too high any way right?
The scale is possibly the worst tool to measure progress (on its own). A scale only measures your body weight at that point in time, what it does not do is tell you where that weight is coming from. Here are a few factors that can affect the scale:
- Muscle Gain
- Full Stomachs
- Hormonal Fluctuations
- Time of Day
- Inaccuracies in the Scale
You need to rely on better data to track your progress. A scale will not let you know that you gained a pound of muscle. You need to take progress pictures and measurements. The scale can be a good tool if used with other forms of measurement, BUT NOT ON ITS OWN!
2 – You are not Lifting Enough Weight
We should all agree at this point that if the goal is weight loss, focus on strength training as the means of getting there. Proper strength training involves lifting weights that challenge you. That is where a proper lifting program comes in (hint: see a trainer). If you are exercising but not lifting progressively heavier weights, it gives your body no reason to build more muscle. On top of that, if you are in a caloric deficit, not lifting enough weight can give your body no reason to keep hard earned muscle. Muscle is metabolically active, which means it burns calories, so if the body is in an energy deficit, it will sacrifice muscle to create fuel.
3 – You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep
Do not neglect sleep. It is not a sign of laziness. You need to rest to recuperate and continue making progress. Sleep loss can affect your immune system, decrease insulin sensitivity, and increase cortisol (stress hormone). These are not good things for fat loss. In fact, not getting enough sleep can make you gain weight.
Adding to all this, beautiful growth hormone is released over a good night’s sleep. This anabolic hormone is necessary to build up the tissues in our body. So please put your phone down and get 6-8 hours of sleep per night.
4 – You Plan Hop
This one goes almost in hand with using the scale to measure progress. We get anxious and excited when we read about the latest workout. We pick up the latest fitness magazine and see Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman Workout and get inspired to follow it, leaving the fat burning program you started last week in the dust. After Gal’s workout sees to provide little results, we see a bikini booty workout and start that. What happens is that no one program is done long enough to see if it is effective. Pair that with using the scale to determine progress and you are up the creek with no paddle. Pick one nutrition program and one workout program and stick to them for 6+ weeks. Tweak where you need to but, keep the program.
- Track progress via body measurements.
- Lift progressively heavier weights.
- Sleep at least 7 hours per night.
- Pick one plan and commit.