You’ve tried every diet and training plan out there, but you just can’t get in the incredible shape you want to be in.
Sound familiar? This is something we see every day when new clients come through the doors at Ultimate Performance to finally achieve the transformations they’ve always dreamed of.
While every UP client is different and every transformation plan we create is individualised to get the best results based on their goals and lifestyle, we often see the same factors crop up again and again that are holding them back from their ideal physique.
So we have put together a list of the 10 biggest things that stop people getting in the best shape of their lives.
1. You don’t sleep long or well.
When you sleep, your body goes through three main phases which are essential for fat loss and muscle building.
The first is digestion. Your body digests and absorbs a good proportion of the food you ate, in the later stages of the day, while you sleep. This is essential for the body to repair itself and get adequate nutrition to keep your body functioning as it should.
The second is detoxification. Your liver processes a lot of toxins during your sleep. If you can’t detoxify effectively (be that due to liver dysfunction or poor sleep) you will not burn fat efficiently.
Finally, the last phase is repair and regeneration, when your body takes time to build lean muscle and replenish energy stores (usually from fat cells). If you aren’t sleeping long enough to reach this phase you will never be as lean as you could be.
Not enough sleep results in poor absorption of nutrients, inadequate recovery and ultimately bad results.
2. You’re not eating enough.
You MUST be in a calorie deficit to burn fat. There’s no argument over that. However, it’s not as simple as many would think. Your metabolism is flexible. What that means is it can speed up or slow down within a matter of days. If you eat too little your body will work very hard to slow your metabolism down.
Being in a calorie deficit of greater than 500 calories could result in your body reducing its metabolic rate. It will attempt to match your calorie intake as a way of surviving – it thinks you are enduring a winter famine and it wants to hold onto that fatty insulation!
We typically find people who train with us end up eating a greater volume of food (the right foods) than they ever have before. As you can see from our Real Results they still end up leaner, even with more food.
3. You always moan about your situation or genetics
Guess what? We’ve all got incredibly busy lives, but everyone can change and have the body of their dreams. We prove that day in and day out here at UP. People with families to look after, companies to run and a whole host of other situations.
At the end of the day, all those things are just excuses. You can have excuses or you can have results.
4. You don’t train enough.
If you want to be in good shape, great shape or have the body you dream about – you need to train. You need to train hard and you’ll need to train more than once or twice a week. And guess what? You can only count the days you actually train. Not the days you planned to train. We have clients come to us all of the time and we ask them in their initial consultation how often they train.
You often hear people say ‘I train four times a week…. Oh wait, except last week because I got busy at work on a couple of days. Oh and the week before I missed one because I had a dinner to go to. And the week before that I was away on holiday…’
We get spectacular results with our clients who train with us three times per week – that’s all they do. We don’t consider that a lot of training, but guess what? They train hard, they train smart, they are supported every step of the way. Most importantly, it’s really three sessions. It’s not three, sometimes two, sometimes one. It’s consistent hard work. You don’t get results without training enough.
5. You have your ‘cheat meal’ once a week.
Saturday night, time to chow down on that massive takeaway and ice cream. Did you earn it? Are you intolerant to any of the ingredients? It doesn’t matter right? It’s cheat night, it doesn’t ‘count’. Rubbish! We aren’t saying ‘cheat meals’ are bad, but you’ve got to put some thought into it if you want results. Should you have it more or less often? What types of foods should you have? Why are you even having it in the first place?
If you’re in the ‘cheat-meal-once-a-week’ routine, it might be time to take a step back and see if it really is what you need to get results. Don’t just have it because you read about it online somewhere and thought it sounded good because it involved pizza. Having a cheat meal isn’t the issue – the autopilot junk food binge is.
6. You think that counting calories is the best nutritional strategy.
There is a time and a place for counting calories. But honestly, you can get in incredible shape without once plugging in the exact 237g of chicken breast you ate for lunch into a calculator. Having a vague idea of your usual quantity of food per day can be helpful, but are you going to be opening your calories app every time you eat for the next 30-plus years of your life?
But, ‘the law of thermodynamics!’ we hear you cry. ‘If calories in are less than calories out you will burn fat. It’s physics, right?!’ – the law of thermodynamics only applies when all forces are equal. ‘Calories in versus calories out’ doesn’t take into account the constantly varying biochemistry of the human body and the whole host of other external factors. The body is not a machine placed in a vacuum where that equation is always correct. And that’s not even getting into how inaccurate the measurement of calories is in the first place (that’s for a future article!).
7. You do cardio without first lifting four days a week.
Cardio has its place, but if you want to be in the best shape of your life you shouldn’t be touching traditional cardio (10 minutes-plus on a treadmill or bike etc.) until you are lifting weights for at least four hours per week.
Cardio isn’t bad for you or for weight loss. However, if you are limited on time, lift first, do intervals (HIIT) second and only then do any cardio.
8. You listen to the PT in the gym with six months’ experience and a weekend certification in kettlebells.
We only employ career trainers – not kids who didn’t know what else to do with a summer vacation. We make sure that every trainer constantly strives for their best and remains among the most educated and dedicated trainers in the world.
If you needed an accountant or a lawyer, you’d look for one with experience, a proven track record and a high level of training. Personal Trainers should be just as professional and you should expect no less.
9. You do something different every workout.
Variety in training is good. However, your body will adapt more quickly and more positively if you provide it with a consistent stimulus. That means you should not change your workout each time you enter the gym. That said, if you’ve been doing the same routine for three months, you’ve also got a problem.
You should keep the same routine for around six workouts. So, if you have an upper body programme and a lower body programme each of which you repeat twice per week, you should change your routine after around three weeks.
10. You sweat the small stuff without first taking care of the big things.
We get asked all kinds of complicated nutrition – and training-related questions on a regular basis. It’s great that people are taking an interest in the complexities of training and nutrition and are smart enough to come to the right people for help. However, too often we notice people are sweating the small stuff without taking care of the big things.
They don’t eat protein at every meal or drink enough water. They don’t do resistance training when working towards fat loss or get enough good sleep at night. Take care of the big things day in and day out and only then worry about the finer details.