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My last article was one that described a lot of my clients experiences when it came to training and by reading through the email comments, it seems that a fair share of you have experienced the same. That continuous cycle of feeling determined, training hard, seeing the results then for some unexplainable reason, slipping back into old habits and experiencing groundhog day once again. I know people who have being doing this for years, following a yoyo style of training and dieting but never really finding the stability needed for lasting results.
There are number of reasons as to why this is happening but in my opinion, there is a common theme and a lot of the problems may not actually be your fault.
When it comes to training, for most people, the belief is that the tougher the class and the harder you push yourself, the better it is. Social media is swamped with photos and videos of muscular bodies and vomit inducing workouts, accompanied with #gohardorgohome and other “motivating” hashtags. We watch these workouts, admire the perfect shape of the instafamous models and so obviously assume this is what we should be doing.
Gym owners aren’t stupid either, give the people what they want and they will love you for it, so they focus on circuits, bootcamps, HIIT, Tabata (even though they aren’t actually Tabata but thats a different article) and Interval style classes. The harder and tougher the session, the better. There are so many gyms whose reputations are forged on how hard their classes can be and the results they get and a lot of them, get great results! Im not saying this type of training is not good, it is, if implemented correctly. It just seems to me that there are a lot who don’t know how to do this.
Fact is, if you work as hard as demand in these classes, you have no choice but to burn calories, unfortunately it is not the only thing that you burn. Pushing your body too hard, for too long risks burning yourself out. There are people out there who can do this on a regular basis but for the majority of us, keeping that level of intensity going over a sustained period of time eventually leads to something giving. Whether it comes through an injury, a lack of motivation or exhaustion, our body finds a way of slowing us down.
So you burn out and stop training. We all know the saying, what goes up, must come down. While training you had been feeling great, focused and determined. Your body has been changing and the compliments have been coming thick and fast (that was the UP) but now that you have burned out and lost that motivation you start to feel guilty, with guilt comes the DOWN! This can happen as a double whammy.
There are a whole host of hormonal responses associated with stress. Stress can be physical as well as mental and it has a massive impact on weight loss. If you have been following a restrictive diet (which unfortunately have become popular with a lot of unqualified trainers who focus more on the image rather than the health of the clients) then you can damage your metabolism, gain weight and not being able to lose it can be the outcome.
The second thing that can happen is the food association issue. We associate certain foods with experiences and build habits that we find hard to break. Cinema and Popcorn, hangover and takeaway food, depression and…. sugar, for most of us this means comfort food, ice cream, cake and chocolate. My point is, when you are in the zone you associate exercise with clean eating, this combination leads to great results but if your training is too intense for too long and you do burn out, the guilt of not training, along with the lack of endorphins that were released during these sessions, can lead to a feeling of guilt and with that guilt comes the comfort food, with the comfort food comes the weight. The weight leads to more comfort food, the more crap we put into our body the worse we feel and this cycle eventually leads us back to the point we started at all those months ago.
We now know what can cause this cycle but how can we break it and once and for all? I will discuss that in part 3.