Tell me if this is you…
You start a new workout program and nutrition strategy and it works great. At least at first, it does. Over time you notice you’re not making the progress you once were in the beginning.
You decide it’s time to jump on a new program and change some things up nutritionally as well. That works well for a while, and then it doesn’t anymore.
You go through this perpetual cycle of finding a program, doing it until it doesn’t work anymore, changing everything, doing that until it doesn’t work anymore, and then repeat.
You begin to realize that you don’t really know what works for you.
This is mostly because we can never know exactly what works best until we eliminate as many variables as possible. Even then, we don’t know exactly what works, we just have a very good idea anecdotally.
Try This Instead
When you’re not seeing the results you want, start with changing something small.
For example, if you aren’t seeing as much arm growth as you’d like, you don’t need to jump on a new program or change everything to center your workouts around your small arms.
You could start by just adding one set to every arm exercise you currently do, or you could add one extra bicep exercise and one extra tricep exercise each week.
You’d be surprised at how much 2-3 extra sets each week can do.
At the very least, you find out that doesn’t work. Your next step could be adding some calories to ensure muscle growth.
When you change small things and try them out for at least a month, you get to know your body and what works for you individually.
Here’s another example: you’re losing weight off of 2,000 calories but your progress is starting to slow down.
You then decide calorie counting doesn’t work well for you so then you try keto, then paleo, and then intermittent fasting only to find out that you have no clue what the hell you’re doing.
Rather than changing everything, why not just up your protein intake, add a day of cardio, or simply drop your calories by 100-200?
I don’t think you should do all three at once. Try one, see how it works, and keep doing it until it doesn’t.
Why is it so hard?
Finding what works for you is hard for many people due to two main reasons: lack of tracking nutrition/workouts and a lack of patience.
If you aren’t tracking anything then you have no data to go off of when you’re assessing what’s working and what isn’t.
We live in a world where instant gratification outranks long-term happiness 9 times out of 10.
If you’re looking for a way to just completely shift your mindset forever, I’ll let you know when I find out myself. It’s a daily battle of reminding yourself that you’re in this for the long hall.
Remember this when you make changes to your training or nutrition regimen.
When you make a change in your program and nutrition, it’s important to give it a month or so to find out if it’s truly working for you. A week or two weeks is just not enough time. Give yourself at least 30 days to determine whether the change you made is working for you.
It’s also important to note the longer you’ve been training, the longer it’s going to take to make progress. Most times you didn’t actually stall in progress, you just don’t have a complete understanding of how progress is made in the big scheme of things.
Whether you are building muscle or losing fat, your progress is not going to be linear. You’ll make more progress some weeks, and little to no progress other weeks.
See things with perspective and break your training cycles into 4-8 weeks. By giving yourself enough time, you’ll truly get an understanding of how your body is reacting.
There is no rush to grow your arms or lose your belly fat. There is no finish line. What are you in a hurry for?
If taking the longer route to get the body you want means understanding how to sustain it for the rest of your life don’t you think that’s worth it?
When you’re not seeing the results you want, change something small. Finding out what works for you is a balance between evidence-based training methodologies and trial & error.
When you’re looking at your training/nutrition as trial & error, it makes screwing up easier. You don’t feel as much guilt or shame attached to going off plan because you realize that plan just wasn’t optimal for you. Just make sure you don’t use that as an excuse to be complacent.
Patience is the answer to probably 69% of our fitness struggles (yes I pulled that number out of my ass). When you make these incremental changes, track progress and give it a month or so.
In 5 miles of driving, you’ll make 1,000 micro-corrections to stay in your lane.
When you’re driving, you’d never swerve three lanes over into oncoming traffic to avoid a pebble when you drive, so don’t do it in your fitness journey either—you’re going to cause an accident.