This time of year, seems to bring out the best and the worst in people. The holidays are a time for giving, self-reflection on the past year, and an overall disdain for the way our bodies look. Most people have the tendency to forget the resolutions they made last year, and fall into the old habits that are more “comfortable” for their body and mind. Though, as we get closer and closer to the new year, the cycle repeats itself.
“New Year, New Me”
I may have made up a few of those but the message still holds true. The new year is used as a time for people to attempt to get a fresh start on their routines or choices, and begin living the life the way they know they should be living it.
So if you are one of those people that find yourself struggling to stick to your resolutions or if you are merely not where you want to be with getting the body you are looking for, then I am here to help.
Reason number 1: Your Nutrition is Terrible
This is one of the biggest if not THE biggest reason that people do not lose weight, get stronger, or maintain their “goal” weight. Nowadays, we look for crash diets or fads to help us lose weight. We try low carbs because carbs CAN KILL YOU….or something (not true). We try low fat because if you eat fat you gain fat ( not true either) and we try low protein because we think eating animals makes you a bad person (animals are tasty). Gimmicks do not work and fads are never going to give you the long term results you are looking for. The truth is never at one extreme or the other, and can usually be found somewhere in the middle.
The basic formula that I utilize to maintain my body weight, or to lose excess fat is very simple. I stick to food that is real food. Fruits, veggies, meats, nuts and healthy carbs. You see, we all know the types of foods we SHOULD be eating. We know that we should eat some spinach with our dinner, or eat some eggs and veggies for breakfast. If you work out or are very physically active during your day, carbs are your friend. See carbs are fuel for your engine. The more work you put in for your body, the more carbs you can have and the more carbs you will burn through.
Simplicity works and so do the basics. Eat healthy, nutritious foods 80% of the time and you will already be in a better position then you were. You will feel better, look better, and perform better.
Oh and if you notice I didn’t mention calories or counting calories. That was on purpose. I believe that if you are eating healthy and nutrient dense foods, you will already be putting yourself in the caloric deficit you need to lose weight. It takes a lot of chicken, rice and broccoli to make up the same amount of calories that snickers bars, cake, and ice cream can carry. Swap some of the less nutritious food with healthier choices and you won’t have to worry about too much about counting anything other than the pounds off the scale.
Reason Number 2: You are not drinking enough water.
Telling people to drink more water is the same as a dentist telling you to floss more. It is one of those messages that we hear, but pay no attention to because you know…reasons… The truth of the matter is that we are all not drinking enough water.
The benefits of drinking water and staying hydrated are vast. Let’s look at a few statistics shall we?
First off, your kidneys are used to filter the blood in your body. It requires a steady supply of water to do this. If your body does not have enough water to fuction your kidneys correctly, then the brunt of the flitering job goes to the liver. If you were not aware, the liver also has another job of utilizing stored body fat as energy. So, bottom line here is if you are not drinking enough water, your body is literally not burning as much fat as if could be.
If that was not enough, fat metabolism and the endocrine system take a hit when you are dehydrated. Human growth hormone is potent at burning fat and reducing the size of fat cells. When there is not enough water in your body, hormone production begins to reduce, thus reducing your bodies ability to regulate hormones and keep burning fat. Strike two.
Strike three comes in the form of your brain and cognitive function. Being that your brain is made of roughly 80% water, if you are not drinking enough water, you are yourself a direct cognitive impairment due to dehydration. Studies have shown that dehydration of roughly 2% leads to a cognitive impairment of roughly 30%. So it would be really smart to drink more water…(see what I did there).
If those reasons aren’t enough for you, simply drinking enough water during the day will reduce your cravings and make you feel fuller for longer. This is because a lot of the time when we think we are “hungry” it is really our body telling us to drink more water. Bottoms up.
Reason number 3: Your Training Program Doesn't Work
“4 Weeks to Shredded Abs” or “Jacked in 17 Days” are all bullshit. There is no way on this planet that doing something for a month will get you into the best shape of your life. The only thing that will get you to where you want to be is hard work and that is ok. Though, I have to say that merely walking into the gym and lifting things up wildly will not work (for long) because at some point your progress will stop and you will most likely get yourself hurt.
What you need to focus on is a simple program to get your stronger. This goes for men, women, children, the elderly and anyone else who finds themselves wanting to get healthier. Building muscle is the only way for you to look better naked. There is no such thing has toning. No, you will not get bulky and no, you cannot just “spot treat” your “trouble areas”. If someone tells you that doing bosu crunches is the only way to get a flatter stomach, then they need to be hit with a bar of soap wrapped in a tube sock.
I apologize for getting fired up but this is where my passion is. I love the pursuit of strength and everything that it means. The human body is an amazing machine that if given the right stimulus, can develop and change in amazing ways. You need to lift weights regularly to see those benefits.
The first piece of advice I would give you is to hire a personal trainer if you are really interested in having someone else write up your programming and motivate you along your way. I know a guy who can help if this is the direction you want to go in (LINK)
If you are a more of DIY’er, then listen up and take some notes here.
The key to making real gains in your life is to utilize compound lifts. Compound lifts are multi joint exercises that are truly the foundation to building a stronger and more aesthetic body. They are the bread and butter of any program that is worth a damn. These movements are the squat, the deadlift, and the press (overhead or bench press variety). You need to build your program around these lifts and you will get the most bang for your buck when it comes to your time in the gym.
If you are currently doing a program where you are not doing a single deadlift, squat, or pressing variation, I can whole heartedly, and without a doubt, say that your program sucks. No offence of course…
If you are looking for a FREE PROGRAM to get you started in the right direction click here and I will send it your way. It is a 15 week program that is great for anyone looking for something simple that works.
Reason Number 4: You do not sleep well/enough
This one is very straight forward and I could go all day telling you about the body systems that are negatively effected when you are tired. I will save you the hassle and get right to the meat and potatoes of what you should be focused on.
Ghrelin and Leptin are both hormones that your body makes. Ghrelin is the “hunger” hormone and signals to the brain that you are hungry and that it is time to eat. Leptin is the “satiety” hormone or the “put the fork down” hormone. This hormone controls the message to your brain that you are full and no longer require more food.
Guess what happens when you have a lack of sleep? Ghrelin increases and Leptin decreases meaning you are getting a DOUBLE attack to eat and keep eating. You will crave sugary and fatty foods and will not have the willpower to say no. It is a brutal combination if you are looking to lose weight.
This is not only detrimental to people who want to lose weight, but also for my athletes, power lifters, and strongmen out there. If you do not get enough sleep, your body is not repairing and recovering enough before your next workout. That means you will not be building the muscle, and nervous system adaptations that you are looking for to become better at your sport. You are simply spinning your wheels.
Reason number 5: You lack consistency.
Finally, we have come to final and most important reason that you do not have the body that you want, and that reason is that you lack consistency. In the words of my buddy Yoda, “Do or do not. There is no try”.
You need to be constantly putting in effort every single day to reach your goal. I understand that life happens, and sometimes you find yourself knocked out of your routine for the gym, or stuck in a place where you do not have the best choices for food. Slips happen but you do not want to turn them into a fall.
Again, I am not saying that you need to be perfect. I am not saying that your plan needs to be perfect. I am saying however that you need to treat every day as an chance to be better than yesterday. You need to keep TRYING to hit your goals.
Most of you will do something for a week, 2 weeks, or a month, not see the results you want and give up right there on the spot. You will blame your genetics, or say that “it’s not a good time in my life right now” or some other garbage.
You are lying to yourself and giving in to your excuses. You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it.
So there you have it.
Take this information as what it is and either choose to do better or choose to stay the same. You have the ability to change your life every single day. You simply need to focus on what is important and ignore the rest. Eat the right foods, sleep well, work hard, and keep working hard. It is a simple equation to finding success in anything you do.
Keep lifting heavy and be the best you can be.