Frustrated because you seem to be doing everything right but you’re not getting the results you see so many other people getting?
It’s something all too common in the fitness industry. We see people around us, or online getting a result following a certain training or nutrition program and so we buy it too- expecting to get that same result from that program. She got the result, so the program must work, right?
Of course, you don’t see the photos of the people who followed the same program and didn’t get results. But why is it that some people get results on the program and others don’t?
Regardless of whether it’s a tailor made program or a cookie-cutter guide, there are going to be people who don’t get the results they expect. I am going to highlight to you the MOST COMMON REASONS why people DON’T get results, and the characteristics of the people who DO.
DISCLAIMER: I am being pretty brutally honest here. So if you’ve got soft skin and don’t want to hear that its maybe YOU that’s stopping you from getting results… don’t read on.
Reason Number 1…. You weren’t fully compliant.
Everybody wants the result, but nobody wants to do the hard work. And as a trainer for the best part of 5 years now, I can tell you for a fact that a person’s idea of “being compliant” is vastly different between individuals! And for the most part, people THINK they are doing the right thing even though they’re actually not. For example, following the meal plan to a tee but having an extra apple and 2 handfuls of almonds as your snacks each day actually is enough to totally alter your calorie intake for the day, and overall week. So even though those choices are nutritious, they can still be affecting your results. Similarly, you might order one or two latte’s a day; not accounting for the fact that that’s probably nearly a whole meal worth of calories, even if you’re choosing skinny, almond, coconut milk etc.
I have girls who tell me they feel like they’ve stuffed up the whole week because they ate one tim tam at a friend’s party over the weekend (note: you haven’t, chill).
And then I have other girls tell me that they were “pretty good”, even though they actually drank 7 vodka raspberries on the weekend and ordered Uber-Eats three times for dinner (note: this IS enough to put you in calorie surplus for the week and sabotage your results).
Compliance means something different to everyone. So your friend that followed a program and got epic results might have a very different view of compliance and different level of dedication to you! You need to be HONEST WITH YOURSELF. What extras are sneaking in? What are the little things you think might be innocent but could be affecting your result? Be 100% open and honest with your coach, and they can tell you whether those little things are affecting your result or not. If you aren’t honest and they don’t know, then they can’t help you!
You don’t have to be perfect, but if you really want to get a result then you need to be over or above 90% on compliance. Every week. For 8-12 weeks. Not one week on, one week off. Not one day on, one day off. CONSISTENCY OVER TIME is what gets you results. Your weight isn’t just going to fall off, you need to put in the WORK and the TIME required to train and meal prep. And you need to exercise a degree of DISCIPLINE to say no to things that aren’t serving you and your goals.
If you do slip up, don’t throw in the towel and write off the whole day/week. Just get back on track and account for the extra calories elsewhere.
Reason Number 2… You just don’t train hard enough.
There are a huge number of people I see in the gym who always look the same year round and make little progress. They do the same routines and lift the same amount of weight every time. They’ve probably eaten the same amount of calories for weeks/ months/ years.
The key to results is PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD. You need to be slightly increasing weights to the majority of your lifts (especially compounds) every session. Of course, you’re going to have days where your strength is just off, and you’re going to have some exercises that you just really struggle to improve your strength in, but AS A WHOLE there must be progressive overload. That means slightly more weight, slightly more reps, slightly more sets- whatever overload technique you’re using- you need to constantly apply new challenge on your body.
IF IT DOESN’T CHALLENGE YOU IT DOESN’T CHANGE YOU.
As an exclusively female trainer, I must say that I think it’s more common in females to have a “fear” of pushing themselves. A lot of women start to feel a burn and that’s when they give up. No, babe- that’s when you need to START COUNTING.
When you train, you need to focus on both improving your strength and improving your PAIN TOLERANCE, which really comes down to the strength of your MIND. I guarantee you that 9 times out of 10, your mind will give up before your body does. Focus on your breathing, or the song you’re listening to, and push through the pain (the good pain of course) because you won’t evolve from training in your comfort zone every day!
Oh, and stop skipping the gym because you’re feeling tired or unmotivated! Listening to your body is important, and if you’re genuinely sick you need to rest. But I think women fall victim to their excuses too often. We’re all tired. We’re all busy. If you want something bad enough, you will MAKE TIME FOR IT. If you’re program is 5 days a week then you need to DO THOSE 5 DAYS. If you do skip the gym earlier in the week than intended because you needed the extra sleep, that’s ok- but it means you’ll have to get it done later in the week even if you don’t feel like it.
Reason Number 3… You are following a cookie cutter program and your situation is just more complicated than that.
Online you can generally find a “cookie cutter program” – think those “Buy Now” guides where you just purchase the guide for a fixed price and then you go it alone.
Then there’s the “customised coaching” – where you get a training program and nutrition plan designed specifically to you. You might get regular check ins and changing as you go, and get that personalised attention from the coach.
Some people will get results just fine on a cookie cutter program. They are usually people with no underlying health issues, no metabolic issues, can move their body relatively competently and have done some sort of exercise before but are not advanced. Honestly, fat loss is not rocket science for these people. If you’re a trainer with half a brain you can get someone like this to lose weight.
Unfortunately, a lot of us are more complicated than that- particularly females! Today we have a huge amount of women suffering from thyroid issues, metabolic damage from years of dieting, insulin resistance, PCOS or endometriosis, chronically elevated stress levels, and mental health issues to name a few. Our lifestyles often differ from the simple work 9-5 and sleep for 8 hours every night, as we are supposed to do!
For these people, losing weight isn’t just about eating less and training more. It’s far more complicated and needs to address lifestyle factors, mental health/mindfulness, and supplementation techniques to help detox the body from the hormonal or chemical stressors it is exposed to. For these people, a cookie cutter program isn’t going to cut it because it’s not JUST their diet and exercise that needs to change. And it’s not going to be an 8 week fix either. Healing from these issues takes time and consistency over time… You can’t reverse years of metabolic or hormonal adaptions in 8 weeks.
I dare say, this is a good 80% of the population nowadays, and a good reason why a lot of people don’t get results when they follow a program or work with a trainer who doesn’t have understanding of the deeper issues affecting body composition results.
The reason I wrote this article is because I often hear from women who followed a program or used a trainer and got no results. They blame the trainer, or the program, and honestly I think sometimes that’s unfair. I think it’s easier to blame someone else for our failures, than to really dig deep and look at where we might be going wrong ourselves.
There sure are a lot of crappy trainers and programs out there in this over-saturated fitness world and I think it’s important to do your research on the coach and program you choose to follow to ensure you’re getting a good service.
If you are working with a quality trainer, using a customised program, and can honestly say you’re being 100% compliant but are STILL not getting results, then I do urge you to dig deeper into your health and make sure that there’s nothing else going on that may be preventing you from getting results. There may be something underlying that can’t be fixed with diet and exercise alone.
If this article hits all too close to home for you, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org I’d be happy to chat about your situation, see if there are any factors I think you need to be addressing, and recommend some tests you can organise with your GP to help get to the bottom of what may be setting you back!
Image from: http://heatherdane.com/nutrition-spirit-your-sacred-connection-to-food/
If you want to learn more about how “calories in vs. calories out” is not always enough to get your body composition change, check out this article on Healthline that talks about how different food types, macronutrient splits, and hormones can affect your results.