What to do when it’s not working.

We’ve all been there at some point.  There is nothing more upsetting and frustrating when you are putting in the work everyday and you don’t see results.  It could be a plateau after a few months of working out or it could even be that right from the get go nothing you do seems to produce results.

I get asked all the time “why am I not seeing results?”.  “Why is it not working for me”. I have no expertise or qualifications that could ever adequately answer these questions, largely because everyone is different and I could never council anyone on how to get the best out of their own body.  But as someone who is constantly re-assessing their routine in order to discover what works for me and keeps working for me,  I can at least suggest some questions you can ask yourself in order to ascertain if there are areas of your nutrition or workouts that need addressing, in order to produce better results.

5 questions you should ask yourself when you’re feeling stuck.

  1. Water – Are you drinking enough? Not only will drinking more water reduce bloating revealing that leaner figure you’ve been working so hard on. But dehydrated cells shrivel so it means muscles will not be able to work as hard as they potentially could during exercise so your physical performance and in turn your progress will be less than it would if you were meeting your daily water requirements.
  2. Food (1) – Are you eating too much? Or too little? Your diet may constantly need tweaking.  It’s always a work in progress and will need changing as often as your body and fitness levels change.  If you have weight to lose you have to make sure you are in a calorie deficit each day.  Kayla’s HELP guide recommends around 1600 calories a day to do this.  I used this for reference when I was trying to lose my baby weight.  I don’t count calories as such, but every now and then I would put my normal day’s food intake in to myfitnesspal, just to check that I wasn’t eating too much for my weight loss goal.  However this totally flipped on its head once I was lean and wanted to tone up and start building muscle.  I now have to gradually increase my calories and so I am constantly changing and tweaking my diet in order to find that happy medium that fuels my workouts and muscle growth but keeps me lean. (to find out what I eat in a week and my principles on clean eating click here)
  3. Food (2) – How clean is your clean eating?  This is especially important to me when trying to lean out my mid section.  I carry most of my fat on my love handles, back and stomach.  The biggest, quickest change in this area came when I switch from healthy eating to clean eating.  The main difference being, I stopped eating processed food and ditched anything that had sugar as an added ingredient.  However I have to monitor myself carefully because as I ditch the refined sugars I find my self sub consciously upping the natural sugars more and more.  There’s extra honey going in my tea and on my oats and more fruit as snacks. Then there are the healthy fats and all the extra little dips in the peanut butter jar that soon turn in to big extra spoonfuls in the PB jar.  While fruits and peanut butter should absolutely make up part of your clean eating regime.  You have to remember, it’s still SUGAR and it’s still FAT.  So too much of it is still going to go straight to your waistline.  Right now this is my biggest struggle as my “clean diet” is actually way too high in sugar and fat right now.
  4. Move – what’s your daily activity like? Ask yourself this, apart from your workouts how active are you? As a stay at home mum who is often sat on the floor for most of the day playing Duplo with my one year old, it took me a long time to get my head around this, but it’s so so important.  As I said earlier In order to lose weight, you have to be using up more calories each day than you consume.  Even to maintain your weight you need to make sure you are using up all the energy you have eaten.  If you use any kind of fitness or activity tracker you will probably know that it sets you daily goals to meet.  It wants to make sure that in addition to your training you are moving your body enough throughout the day rather than just sitting for long periods of time at a desk or at home.   When I first got my apple watch I was astounded that even after doing LISS or a BBG resistance circuit, I was NOT achieving my daily MOVE goal nor reaching my daily calorie expenditure goal.  This proved to me that I although I was having a great workout, changing your body is about changing your lifestyle.  You have to be active.  Move often, walk more.  Take the stairs, get off the bus a stop early, walk to the local shop instead of taking the car, stand instead of sit.  Is your ‘in-activity’ during the rest of the day undoing all of the effort you put in to your diet and workout?
  5. Effort – are you working out to your maximum? The difficulty with a program like BBG is that it gives you a set amount of time to complete a set amount of reps.  This leaves little room to work each exercise to the point of failure.  The most effective workouts are those where you are fighting to complete the last rep.  When you feel like you could not possibly do one more burpee or lift one more weight.  With BBG you are told how many reps to do and are told to stop at the end of 7 minutes rather than when you can no longer continue.  BBG is HARD so usually this is fine because for the most part you couldn’t imagine continuing anyway. But how many times during the 7 minute round did you feel like you couldn’t do any more of each exercise?  If after doing weighted step ups you are aren’t feeling like your legs want to collapse, maybe its time to up the weights.  If 20 sit ups don’t make your abs feel like they are on fire add ten more reps or add a weight.  Even though the program is mapped out for you… its up to YOU to ensure it constantly challenges you. If your muscles aren’t screaming at the end, you can do MORE.

Like I said I’m not trained to advise you but these genuinely are the things I ask myself regularly to make sure I am getting the most out of my diet and training.

Always try to be honest with yourself… are you really going full out or are you mostly just going through the motions?  Are you adding in more sugar without realising it?  Are you actually drinking your calories, with sodas, fruit juice or alcohol?   How long has it been since you upped your weights? How much more could you move in a day by making little changes? 

(If you think it’s a lack of motivation standing in your way, click here for tips on how to feel motivated everyday.)

Hope this is helpful.  Happy hump day lovelies

Nikki xx

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6 thoughts on “What to do when it’s not working.

  1. Inspiring and useful. I often get frustrated as I’ve not seen results in a while despite the fact I’m increasing the distance and intensity of my runs. I often try to make ‘clean eating’ meals but I think I fail a lot with the little treats. Definitely going to try and be tighter in the next few weeks.

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      1. What was your move goal when you were just starting out in your fitness journey?

        I’m just asking because I started 8 weeks ago and it doesn’t seem like I’m losing weight. 😅 If anything, I feel bulkier. Not at the disheartened stage yet , but want to give myself some hope before I wallow. 🙃

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      2. Hello im so sorry for the late response, because i am a saty at home mum and therefore don’t naturally move further than room to room in my house. my fitness tracker always sets my move goal at 510 calories and i RARELY ever hit it! whoops! but i’m trying xxx

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