Have you been diligently hitting the gym but still have weight clinging to your body like sticky taffy? Has summer passed and you still don’t have your summer body? If so, chances are it boils down to a couple of simple training and nutritional errors that may be grinding your progress to a halt.
Here are 10 of the most common reasons you’re still fat from a nutrition, training and lifestyle perspective.
Nutrition is the key to any training program, whether it’s for sports conditioning or bodybuilding. Despite the fact that you have changed up your diet plan, you may be missing some of the biggest keys to losing that extra weight. Some of the most common mistakes are:
- Not tracking calories
Do you track your calorie intake on a daily basis or do you guesstimate it? If you’re only guessing, chances are you’re loading on more calories than you think. If you’re serious about weight loss, then start tracking everything you put in your mouth. Follow a planned diet and take care to really read the nutrition info on what you consume and also pay attention to when you’re consuming it (more on that later). If weighing your food is impossible, use at app like MyFitnessPal, which has nearly every food and supplement you can think of already programmed in.
- Not tracking the calories from your supplements
So you’re measuring and weighing your foods, but not tracking your supplements? You’d better start! Everything from protein powders to post-workouts contain calories that, when added on top of your food intake, could be pushing you over your maintenance level for calories.
- Not enough protein
Are you getting enough protein in your diet? You need to ensure you’re taking quality protein from food and supplements – you should be consuming at least one gram per pound of bodyweight if you’re training hard. Outside of lean cuts of meat, use a high-quality whey protein that doesn’t pack additional calories from fat and carbs, like NITRO-TECH®, to ensure you’re hitting your goals for this important macro.
- Poor pre-/during/post-training nutrition
Yes, this is important! What are your pre-, during and post-workout habits? A lot of people who are struggling with their weight are catabolic in and around their workout because they don’t feed their muscles with the proper macro- and micronutrients to optimize insulin response for optimal recovery. Consuming fast-acting protein immediately after training, along with muscle-sparing carbs, will help your body hold on to more metabolically active muscle, which will increase your BMI and allow you to burn more calories throughout the day.
- Too much processed foods
If the majority of your meals come from a box, are heated in a microwave or are handed to you through a drive-through window – it’s likely why you’re still fat. Get back to basics and start relying on fresh vegetables and lean protein sources from your local butcher or fish market. You’ll be also able to better control your portion sizes (and track calories).
Training and Lifestyle
You diet is relatively decent, but you’re still not seeing that bulge disappear. What now? Maybe it’s your workouts. Let’s see if any of these apply to you!
- You skip leg day
Leg training is painful; get over it! Your legs and posterior chain are also the largest muscle groups and biggest calorie burners. Learn to love leg day, as consistent leg training will also increase your natural levels of testosterone and growth hormone.
- You never change up workouts
Variety is the spice of life and that also applies to your training. Maybe you’re comfortable or in a plateau, and you feel the program you have is sufficient to see gains. If you don’t shock your body and change things up at least every 6 to 8 weeks, your body knows what to expect. Either challenge your body when you train or accept that it won’t change.It’s okay to keep the basic exercises, like bench, squat and deadlift; however, you should start adding in some new assistance exercises and alter your rep ranges to truly test your limits in the gym. Ditch the comfort and try something new.
- No cardio or only cardio
Both can be attributed to final fat hang-on. Too much cardio and no weights means you’re not building the muscle mass to continue to sustain a calorie burn. Not enough cardio and your body will just hang on to the fat until the very last moment. Cardio = a healthy heart, a higher blood volume being pumped + a lower heart rate. A more effective heart means more blood pumping to your muscles.
- Poor sleeping habits
Just as sleep affects your daily grind, it affects how well your body’s metabolic rates work. Sleep means recovery! Muscles recover through protein synthesis and your body basically goes into reset and rebuild mode when you sleep. It’s important to ensure you are getting good quality sleep at least most of the time.
- Lack of training volume
Many lifters fear overtraining and, as a result, don’t get enough cycles of training in each month – meaning they’re not training a body part soon enough after it’s recovered from the last session. Training once every 7 to 10 days probably isn’t going to cut it, regardless of your goals. In addition, if you’re looking to get lean, your training frequency and volume need to be high – and six training sessions a week should be what you aim for.