Every once in a while I get asked the question, “Why am I not seeing results?”
Maybe this question is referring to weight loss. Sometimes it’s about a plateau with speed or strength. Regardless of which of your results have become stagnant, it’s generally for the same reason: you’re too comfortable.
It could be your routine. You may be doing the same workout with too much regularity. But your body needs variety. It is designed to adapt. Once it does, results begin to decline rapidly. It’s critical that you constantly mix up your routine, or find a program that does that for you. Completing the same exercises in the same sequence with the same duration can only take you so far. It’s variety and change that will take you much further.
Workouts can be repeated, but often the best reason to do so is to provide yourself with measurable results. Constantly challenge yourself to do something new, to try a new routine, to push yourself to mix it up. Don’t settle for a comfortable routine. Find a training partner, coach or studio that will constantly keep you on your toes and provide you with training inspiration and variety.
Another reason your results may be leveling off could be your lack of consistency. We have a saying in the fitness industry: training three days a week is just maintenance.
For most people, that sounds like a good week of exercise. But fitness is about adopting a lifestyle of being active and exercising regularly. Sure, three days a week could be devoted to your hard workouts, but you need to have a training regimen for your easy or “off” days too, which could include yoga, hopping on a bike, doing a solid pushup and situp routine, or even just getting out for a run. This will allow you to get your active recovery in, keep you more limber, maintain a high metabolism and continue your progression all at once. You don’t need to spend a ton of time or effort on your off days, but you should always be working on improving yourself. Stop settling for your set number of training days. Every day you could be training your body in some way.
But the biggest reason many people’s results vary is effort, which is the key to success. I’ve been coaching for years and I can guarantee you, most people think they’re working much harder than they are in reality. The majority of people could be running faster and further, lifting heavier weights, increasing their tempo, shortening their rests, adding extra reps, doing extra sets. They truly believe they’re giving their best, honest effort. I see it every day.
It’s one of the things I try and draw out of the athletes I coach on a daily basis. Give more.
You only get out what you put in. Showing up is not enough. Neither is just going through the motions. Not every workout needs to be an all-out assault on your body, but if you don’t regularly have workouts that test your grit, your limits and push you beyond your comfort zone, then there’s just no way you’ll maximize your potential. At some point, some training sessions are just not meant to be fun. They’re meant to be hard work, and through that hard work, you will see dramatic improvement.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your workout. But change your perspective. Find a reason to train differently, to do it more frequently to push harder than you’ve done before. Shed the confines of your limitations. Of your comfort zones. Give yourself a few workouts where you really flip that switch and need to dig deep and push yourself beyond your usual. Those are the workouts that will yield you the results you desire. To take your speed and strength to new heights. To maximize that caloric burn. To make you the athlete you want to be. Isn’t that the entire point of training? Get out of your comfort zone, and see the change you want.