5 Reasons You’re Not Seeing Results in the Gym

5 Reasons You’re Not Seeing Results in the Gym

Read time: 7 minute read

Spinning you wheels and not getting the results you seek in the gym or your lifestyle routine? If so, you are not alone, so I thought I would dedicate this post to all the ladies out there who are busting their butts but can’t work out what’s missing!

Essentially, results come from consistency, adequate training with progressive overload and plenty of recovery, and for most people, really good nutrition.

Let’s start with the first, consistency.

 

  1. You’re not consistent enough

Consistency is key, and the main reason results fall short. This probably comes more under ‘mindset’ but without it, you can’t get results. Building a body is a long-term endeavour, it can’t be fast-tracked or skipped, you just eat and train, train and eat, and be patient.

All professional bodybuilders can attest to the time and dedication it takes to build a physique, particularly one that turns heads. On the plus side though, a body built over the long term is something you get to walk around in.

The reason people fall short on consistency is because they chase the fads – fasting, no carbs, double workouts, HIIT sessions. These things have benefits yes, but when it comes to the long-term results, eating well, and eating a lot of good food, daily and consistently and pairing this with a solid weight training regime is the only way.

There are outliers, yes, those who do this kind of thing and look great, but this is not why they look great. If they look good with these methods it’s their genetics that have allowed it.

 

  1. You’re following poor programming, or have poor program balance

Training should always be a strength-based development program with cardio as a ‘topper’. Cardio should never be the focus – including HIIT. This is not the way to build a strong, lean physique.

Programming should be progressive and not random, so you need to follow a program which is within your capabilities and where you aim to increase strength in each exercise over a period of time. The program that follows that will be more challenging in either exercise order, volume, load or all three, but it won’t be completely different from the first one if your focus is to get results.

I believe the ideal time period for a program is 8 weeks if you’re in the first year of training, as you can progress a lot more quickly within that first year. I even do 4-week blocks for brand new clients. Once established and stronger all over, I find 12-weeks to be a great time-frame to commit to each program.

If you break it down over 12 weeks, it takes around 2-4 weeks to find the ideal weight and learn a new exercise, and then 8-10 weeks following that to really push your capabilities with those exercises. Just as you start to get bored or plateau, it’s time to change in up. This is where patience comes in, changing your program all the time because you’re ‘bored’ or ‘impatient’ will only hinder your long-term progress.

 

  1. Inadequate nutrition

Changes in body composition are even more dependent on food intake than training. If you don’t eat enough you will have inadequate nutrition to recover and build muscle from your sessions, but if you eat too much you will gain body-fat.

You also need to determine what kind of constitution you have – can you handle dairy, processed foods, gluten and wheat, or not? For some people, a whole-foods diet is essential for progress but for others they can be more flexible. You need to work out where you fit here and stick within reasonable boundaries if you want your body to respond positively.

I always try to get my clients eating as much food as they can, whilst still feeling good, and not gaining body-fat. For some women this is 1700 calories, and for others it’s 2300. Everyone is different and unique differences are uncovered not with a calculator, but with consistent tracking, patience, and check-ins where we look at weight, measurements, photos, and strength progression.

This applies even when dieting – you want as much food as you can get away with, and you don’t want to be eliminating food groups unless your body tells you they need to go (and there are professional ways to approach this).

 

  1. Improper technique

Back to training – you can’t build a physique if you don’t have good technique.

I get that is feels good to enter a gym in your first week and put a 60kg barbell on your back, but if you’re not doing it properly all you’re doing is ‘impressing’ the people around you whom also have no idea and sabotaging your results in the long term.

Most women don’t naturally have the structure for weight training, they need to build it. This means developing the glutes, hamstrings, abs and back muscles to a point where your posture is sound, and those muscles are working just as hard as (or harder than), the muscles that are naturally developed like the quads and traps. See my post on the posterior chain here, to dive a little deeper into that.

Some women take 12+ months before they can squat 60kg, and others take 3 months. Some need to do months of mobility and postural correction whereas others need minimal. If you want to learn good technique, you need to hire an experienced professional. Just because someone has a gym or 300K followers on Instagram does not indicate experience – it indicates cash in hand and time spend on their phone, posting things that trend and interacting with other accounts.

Research someone’s history and understand the industry is very new, and the more years spent mastering their craft, the more you’re going to get for your money. The overall point here is, good technique will have you burning more calories, and building way more overall muscle (in all the right places) than poor technique will. So don’t skip the fundamentals and again, be patient.

 

  1. You are training too much!

Lastly here we have over-training. It is not that common to over-train in a way that is damaging for athletic performance but it does happen, particularly when there is poor programming or if you aren’t eating enough to fuel your activity.

Where I find it most common is amongst gym people who are trying to change their body composition. Doing ‘more’ is not always the answer. Well, it’s rarely the answer. It is crucial to choose an exercise load that your body can handle, and that you are nourishing for. If you eat as little as you can, and train as much as you can in the hopes that this will ‘speed up’ progress, you are misinformed.

My philosophy with my clientele is always to give them as much food as possible, and as little training as possible, that is needed to get results. I never through extra training in, particularly cardio, in the hopes that they will get more out of it as this just isn’t the case Long story short, over-training can leave you falling behind on your goals and it just isn’t worth it.

 

What to do if you’re doing any of these things…

Stop. Reset. Restructure your approach. Seek professional help if you must but avoid continuing down a path that isn’t working well for you! Send me an email if you want more information about any of these topics.

Want to master this topic? Check out my super-affordable mini-course on Female Training

Jen x

Acid & Alkaline Food Balancing

Acid & Alkaline Food Balancing

Read time: 5 minute read

Lately I’ve been asked alot about the alkaline diet/acidic foods etc. There is a lot of information on the web talking about its benefits and then an equal amount saying it’s total rubbish, so I thought I would address it here!

All foods no matter what they are, are either acid or alkaline forming once it reaches the digestive system. Your body will keep this balance in the blood naturally, from 7.35 to 7.45, below 7.35 being too acidic and above 7.45 being too alkaline; if either end of the scale is off-balance it is suggested by health practitioners that it could lead to disease.

Luckily for us the body has pretty good mechanisms in place to avoid either of the following from occurring but in looking further into the issue there is research to suggest that even a slight deviation upward or downward within that scale can be too much when you are talking about optimal health, as when its out of balance your body can’t digest minerals and nutrients properly. So if optimal health is something you are striving for then understanding the acid/alkaline balance of foods is a good thing to know.

Higher levels of stomach acid can make it easier for parasites, bad bacteria and yeast to thrive in the digestive tract, and when bad bacteria is able to thrive the balance between good/bad bacteria is also thrown out of balance. When this occurs it is not uncommon for symptoms such as allergies, bloating, low energy, muscular pain, hyperactivity and dizziness, or more advanced symptoms such as depression, hay-fever, hives, fungal/viral infections, hair loss, psoriasis, headaches, insomnia, asthma and brain fog to accompany it.

The key here is to balance your nutrition, and eat foods from both sides of the scale. Typically, acid forming foods include most animal proteins (meat and dairy), most cereals and grains, and all processed food. The more processed it is, the higher the acid formation when you digest it. The alkaline foods include most fruits and vegetables, nuts/seeds, and herbs/spices. Any fruit that is dried is considered acidic, as well as coffee, black tea and alcohol. So put simply, if your diet consists of packet foods and animal products, you are consuming almost all acid-forming foods. By including fresh vegetables and fruits you are already balancing it out.

I found it funny how much negative information I found especially considering its promoting healthy eating! Personally I think its important as I have seen first hand the improvements made in peoples’ physical and psychological wellbeing from eating a well-balanced diet

Why your Nutrition and Programming Needs to be Personalised if you are Serious About Getting Results

Why your Nutrition and Programming Needs to be Personalised if you are Serious About Getting Results

Read time: 7 minute read

Body re-composition can be a complex, layered process. Some people respond easily and others don’t, and this is simply unavoidable. Genetics, your athletic background and your emotional/mental state play a HUGE part in this.

Want to master this topic? Check out my super-affordable mini-course on Female Training

I find men often respond easier than women, which comes down to hormones, as well as attitude. Women have been prayed on and taught to hate their bodies for years, and I hear it ALL the time, women saying ‘nothing works for me’, but 9/10 of those women are following generic nutrition and training plans. With the right support and programming/nutrition, transformation is definitely not impossible. The same applies to men when it comes to achieving optimal strength/nutrition

What needs to be considered though is that EVERYONE is different, and I can tell you from personal experience that if I didn’t personalize my clients meal/training programs, AT LEAST 80% of them wouldn’t have gotten any tangible results.

So, why does your programming need to be individualized?

Because you have you own experience level, weak points, strong points, levers, limb lengths, schedules, lifestyles, preferences, etc. Programming should become more difficult over time if you wish to get stronger over time. Likewise, if you follow the same program or intensity of training forever, your results will eventually halt.

I find the worst examples of ‘halt’ programs are the very generic ones such as body-pump and circuit training. You will get results at first, but after a few months you will just get/stay ‘fit’. This is fine, however if it is body re-composition, or strength development you are after you need to lift weights, and push yourself progressively harder in weight/volume/intensity in order to keep getting results. And this needs to be teed up with a good nutritional plan. The human body is like an adaptation machine.

I follow a basic template with my girls as most will have similar weaknesses (eg hips and upper back), but I then adapt this template to suit individual requirements. NONE of them are exactly the same, unless one client has the exact same circumstances as another.

Why does your food plan need to be individualised?

Because no one is the same hormonally, metabolically, physiologically, psychologically, and no one has the same history. Many fitness/nutrition businesses these days work on the following model – make three templates, hand out the closest one to the client, cross fingers, hope for the best. If it doesn’t work, scrap that person and highlight the person that it does work for. It’s more of a business model rather than a service model, but the fitness industry is a big-money business now.

Take for example the following women (and for this example, lets just assume that they are all aiming to increase muscle and decrease body-fat so they can feel good in a bikini in summer);

Client 1: Weighs 90kgs, used to suffer from bulimia, has just introduced some light training, has been predominantly inactive throughout her life, and has little or no education about the fundamentals of nutrition

Client 2: Is tall, thin and underweight, and really wants to build muscle. She has tried to in the past but just doesn’t see results, which effects her motivation

Client 3: Suffers depression, allergies and fatigue, walks 3-4 days per week, works and studies full-time, and has two children

Client 4: Is active, has always been active, had a six-pack since childhood and can eat whatever she wants, and generally remains pretty lean

There are some massive differences there, but this kind of variety is NORMAL. All of these women want to change their body composition but each require a totally different approach to their nutrition

So lets assume I give them all the same 1800-calorie meal plan, and the same program with 5 days of weights and two cardio sessions per week. Here is an example of the potential outcome for each of those clients;

Client 1: Could become overwhelmed and drop off very quickly, returning to old habits

Client 2: Will probably get through the training okay but will struggle to stick to that many calories as she will churn through them once she adds the exercise

Client 3: May struggle to find the time and energy to complete all the workouts, which will leave her feeling doubtful and defeated. The training may also add to her fatigue

Client 4: Most likely, she will breeze through, probably even go off the plan here and there because she’s looking good and feeling confident. This is what you call a high-responding client.

So as you can see in that situation, one of these clients has succeeded and the rest aren’t too happy. Which is why they need to be taken care of individually, which takes effort on the part of your coach, but you shouldn’t be expecting anything less.

If you are just aiming to improve your health and overall wellbeing, then a generalized plan will most often suit. These plans are often much cheaper and also serve as a good starting/introductory point.

However, if you have specific goals and you feel like there are a few ‘layers’ that you will need to work through, then you may need support and no matter who you hire for the job, make sure what they write up for you is ESPECIALLY FOR YOU – an individualised plan with a long-term goal in mind

Jen 🙂

Why It Can Be Hard To Give Up Junk Food

Why It Can Be Hard To Give Up Junk Food

Read time: 7 minute read

Finding it hard to ditch the junk food? You are not alone. I meet people every day that, no matter how hard they try, can’t seem to make that switch from junk food to healthy eating.

Most of us go through life on autopilot, and when we are functioning like this we are stressed, rushed, and we aren’t really thinking for ourselves. This makes us less likely to make good decisions and more likely to fall for the lures of advertising and addictive, fast, low-nutrient food choices

A few years ago I read a book about the fine-tuning that went in to the sales of junk food. EVERYTHING is planned, and I mean everything! Addictive ingredients, macronutrient balance, advertising, emotional targeting, social stigma, and supermarket placement all play a part in getting you hooked

Basically, it’s you against the world when it comes to junk food. Awareness of these things plays a large role in making these kinds of changes in your life

ADVERTISING: Advertising is an art-form in itself, and the point of advertising is to make you buy something. They use product placement, colours, quotes, font, imagery (often sexual), and subliminal tactics to lure you in to buy a product. For memory, there is something like 100 employees who specialize in psychology that work for Coca-Cola, and they are certainly not employed there to make it taste good.

Why do they need to go this far to sell these products? Because they’re not good for you. If they were good for you, we would buy them naturally without having to be pulled in

ADDICTIVE INGREDIENTS: Sugar is addictive, additives can be addictive, artificial sweeteners are addictive. In most people, they fire off the same part of the brain as illicit-drug do. Most of us have addictive personalities, so this one is a big one. They even use macronutrient balance to throw off your body’s natural hunger hormones so that you eat more than you need to.

One study on this macronutrient balance exposed rats to either unlimited fatty foods, or unlimited sugary foods. In both groups, the rats ate until they were full and then stopped. They didn’t gain weight. Then, they applied a macronutrient ratio where carbs and fats were combined, and all of a sudden the rats couldn’t stop eating. It was like this balance completely over-rode their internal mechanisms, and the rats became obese.

After learning that, being the nerd that I am, I went to the supermarket and checked the biscuits, ice-cream and chocolate and sure enough, all of these processed foods contained this ratio!

TARGETING YOUR EMOTIONS: We are all emotional beings, and many of us are way to busy to deal with them properly. I would say that being a workaholic, drinking alcohol, and over-eating are probably the most socially acceptable coping mechanisms we have to squash these emotions down. The food companies know this, and they use the tactics mentioned above to evoke an emotional response from you

Additionally when you eat, your salivary glands release a type of ‘feel good’ hormone, which is why you feel so great when you ‘eat’ your emotions. We then remember this experience next time we are feeling emotional, and repeat the process. Clever, huh?

SUPERMARKET PLACEMENT: Last but not least, the supermarkets want to sell food, so where do they put it? At the front of all the isles and throughout the middle of the supermarket with all the foods we ‘need’ it milk, bread etc, toward the back. This is predatory marketing, and most of the foods are on sale. When you’re caught up in this cycle, it’s hard to resist a massive block of chocolate that is on sale for $2.

Another one I could chuck in there (though it’s more based on life experience) is social stigma. You are less likely to be judged for eating rubbish than you are for eating a chicken salad. I say forget the stigma, do your research, and give your body the best chance it has at being healthy!

The more informed you are, the easier it is to avoid falling into the trap. If you eat whole foods, you can’t eat nearly as much, and when you aren’t nutrient deprived, your appetite wont be as crazy.

Our bodies are designed with physiological mechanisms to control eating, so we can stay healthy. Many of these foods will over-ride those mechanisms. Eat things that aren’t advertised, but are whole, nutritious, and non-addictive.

Want to master this topic? Check out my super-affordable mini-course on Nutrition

9 Benefits to Bodybuilding That Are Rarely Talked About

9 Benefits to Bodybuilding That Are Rarely Talked About

Read time: 4 minute read

Quite often i read posts that complain about bodybuilding competitions, usually from ex-competitors who didn’t enjoy it for one reason or another, or from people who don’t have much knowledge or experience in the sport. Recently I saw a study connecting it to Narcissism! Whilst this is true for some people, its far from true for the women i work with.

Personally I love bodybuilding and I think much can be gained and learned in the process of stepping onstage. So, I thought it was about time to put out some of the GREAT things about competing. When done properly the benefits far outweigh the ‘negatives’. So these are the reasons I love training women for competition;

1/ It can help to improve your body image and self-esteem 

This one is massive, which is why i put it first. Truth be told, it could flip either way, but that completely depends on your mindset. If you compete with the intention of seeing what you are capable of, and bringing YOUR best body forward, you will walk away feeling pretty amazing about your achievements. Going into it with the intention of winning, or looking like someone else will leave you feeling completely the opposite. Competing can be a really great way of learning to love and appreciate your body for what it is, in a whole new way.

2/ It teaches you about what your body needs and how healthy it is

When you compete, it is crucial that you are on a healthy eating plan. IIFYM works for some, but not most women. Your body stores fat out of stress, so if your organs aren’t healthy, if your mindset isn’t right, you will have toxins running through your system and hit a few roadblocks along the way to losing body-fat. This may sound ‘bad’, but overcoming these obstacles will improve your overall health, leaving you with a clean slate to work with in the future once you’re done

3/ It shows you what it feels like to be running on good fuel

When right in the middle of your prep, if you are doing it properly (i.e. not starving yourself or smashing yourself on cardio), then you will reach a point where you feel ridiculously healthy, light, and clear-minded. It really teaches you what optimal health feels like, and it’s pretty eye-opening. It gives you something to strive for in everyday life as you will have a new baseline goal from there-on out.

4/ It teaches you some insane will-power

Competing makes you realise how much of our lives revolve around food and drink. Its your birthday? have some cake. Just got a promotion? Go out for drinks. Feeling sad? Go buy a tub of Ben & Jerry’s and sit in bed eating the whole tub. Getting through these situations without ‘caving in’ gives you a chance to actually reflect on these habits which leaves you feeling strong, empowered and in control.

5/ It brings your vulnerabilities to the surface so you can understand yourself better

Competing also makes you realise how much food and drink is used as a way of stuffing down your emotions. This is a pretty big one. Many women have an emotional connection to food, and when feeling low, we overindulge. When you are competing and you don’t squash your feelings down with food, it forces you to learn to understand yourself better – your patterns, your insecurities, and your vulnerabilities. The more you know yourself, the stronger you will be both inside and out.

6/ When you step off stage, you feel like you could conquer anything 

Usually when you set this goal of competing, you aren’t 100% sure if you will be able to do it. You are also not aware of the challenging journey ahead until you’re right in the middle of it. Once you get off that stage, and you think back about all the obstacles you had to overcome to achieve it, you seriously feel like you can conquer anything.

7/ You get to wear sparkly things and essentially, perform on stage 

This one is superficial but, its one of the reasons I did it. If you have a dance background, you love to perform, and you LOVE going to the gym, this is an awesome way to express yourself and all your hard work in the most feminine way.

8/ You can make great friends

If you find yourself in a great team, you will make friends for life. You share struggles and triumphs and these are the key to building great friendships. Most of the people competing will have the same motivations as you; self-improvements, empowerment, a love for good food and physical fitness. Who doesn’t want friends like that??

9/ It’s practically an art-form – a way of expressing yourself

So this one is why i did it. I am creative by nature and i loved the idea of using the body as a canvas and sculpting it how i wanted it to be. So, it’s art. Weight lifting has countless benefits, and being able to create a shape you love can seriously improve your body-confidence and self-expression.

So there you have it. This isn’t to say that I don’t think there are a lot of things that could be improved, things that could go wrong, or that there aren’t certain things to be considered before you take the leap, but that is a different post altogether. The trick to making it a great experience is to find the right guidance and a good team fit for you. Then you will walk away from the experience a happier, stronger, and more empowered woman

Jen 🙂

Want to master this topic? Check out my super-affordable mini-course on Female Training

 

 

 

 

 

 

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