Are you working out hard, but wondering why you haven't seen or felt any progress? Whether we want to gain muscle in a specific muscle group or want to increase our overall strength it can be frustrating when we are putting in the wok and not seeing results. Here's a few reasons WHY you may not be making gains!
1. Nutrition - Is your diet supporting your fitness goals? If you are looking to build lean muscle, your body requires enough protein and carbs to be in an anabolic state. Take a look at your daily macros and see where you may be lacking nutrients. If you are unsure of what you need, consult a nutritionist or personal trainer who can help you alter your diet to match your goals.
2. Stress - Are you managing your mental AND physical stress? If you have been pushing your body hard for awhile without taking time to recover, it doesn't have a chance to grow during recovery. Mental and emotional stress can also effect our hormone levels which can make us feel fatigued, weak and hold onto extra body fat. See which areas of your training and lifestyle need some "destressing" and try new ways to recharge and recover.
3. Range of Motion - Gaining strength isn't just about building muscles, it is also about building strong tissues. When we lift weights frequently, our tendons, ligaments and fascia can get tight, especially around our shoulders and hips. If you feel joint aches, muscle knots and overall tightness you may need to incorporate massage, yoga or pilates into your routine to improve posture, range of motion and muscle awareness.
4. Routine - How long have you been following your current program? Do you practice the same exercises every week? Are you bored during your workout? Do you feel challenged? We all get stuck in a routine. Although it is good to do the same exercises to measure progress, you could be overtraining the same muscles and movements, while neglecting others. Try some new exercises or routines and see how your body feels during and after your workout. If you feel soreness in new places, you may have uncovered weaknesses to work on!
5. Form - Even if you have been working out for a long time, you may need to reassess your form. Try a few exercises in front on a mirror with lower weight than you usually use. Review your own movement as if you are watching someone else and make adjustments that help you focus more on the muscle you are trying to strengthen.
6. Volume - Volume is also something to consider changing. You can change the volume of your reps or sets to really push the muscles past what they are used to doing. Sometimes upping the weight is not the only way to increase strength, but testing the endurance of the muscle as well. Make sure to take adequate rest periods between sets and breathe! You can also change the tempo of how your lift during your sets and slow down on the eccentric movement.
When we have been working out awhile or doing the same exercises we can forget the 'basics' of working out. We get stuck in our own habits and even when we are pushing ourselves, we can be missing out on those little details that can make a big difference in the effectiveness of our exercises. Try considering a few of these factors when you are changing up your next workout session or program to get those gains!