You’ve been training for a while but you can just see that something is missing. You are not feeling or looking the way you’ve anticipated and you are not reaching your goals.
Your body fat levels are still too high and you don’t have the energy levels you’ve hoped for. You also wanted to be stronger by now. What are you missing? Why are you not fit?
Even if you think you are doing everything right, you might be lacking in some important areas without even realising it. Here are 11 reasons why you may be more unfit than you thought.
#1: You Are Not Lifting Heavy Enough
Heavier weights with your workouts will definitely build more muscle, so if you lack muscle size and strength, consider lifting heavier weights.
Even if you cannot perform a full set of reps, increasing your weight will challenge your muscles and increase your lean muscle mass.
Recent studies show that you can achieve the same hypertrophy by doing heavy sets for six to eight reps, then doing lighter weights sets to failure. However, lighter weight does not have the same impact on your strength gains than heavier sets have, so heavier weights are always an advantage.
You will also allow your body to release more testosterone and growth hormone by doing heavier weights, as opposed to sticking to lightweight sets. Using a weight that only allows you to do six reps will increase your metabolism more than doing lighter weights for 12 reps, for example.
Also, keep in mind that you should not rest for more than 60 seconds in between sets.
#2: You Need To Run Faster
Running is great exercise, but if you want results, you should challenge yourself constantly and run faster.
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, offers much better results than just doing steady-state cardio. So doing HIIT will burn more fat and maximise your workout results.
Another great benefit of HIIT is the fact that it has a great effect on EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) which means you will burn more fat for longer.
Allow yourself time to recover after each sprint, especially since you will be burning more calories during the following 24 – 48 hours after your HIIT session. Sprints can also improve your body’s resting metabolic rate and allow you to use calories more efficiently for fuel during exercise.
#3: You Are Not Drinking Enough Water
Chances are that you are not drinking nearly enough water during the day. By the time you are thirsty your body is already dehydrated so you should keep this in mind and fill up your glass regularly.
Your body can experience serious side effects with as little as 2% dehydration, and water is also essential for your muscles to perform properly.
Being properly hydrated will also help to digest your food better and will keep those hunger pains at bay.
You should aim to drink around 2 litres of water (half a gallon) of water daily. This is around eight 8-ounce glasses, which is called the 8×8 rule. Something that is easy enough to remember.
#4: You Are Not Sleeping Enough
If you think you can function on little sleep, think again. You will not reach your full potential if you are not getting enough sleep and that means that your exercise progress will suffer as well.
When you sleep you allow your brain to recover from everything you went through during the day, including our workouts. Your body will also recover and build muscle during sleep, which is why it is so important to get enough sleep if you have multiple workouts per week.
Growth hormone peaks during your sleep and your body will also repair damaged muscle fibres and inflamed tissue while you sleep.
If you don’t get enough sleep your growth hormone levels will suffer and this means you won’t be able to reach your potential in terms of your fitness and physique goals.
It is recommended that you aim to get between 7-9 hours of sleep every night to ensure you function at your best.
To ensure you get good quality sleep it is recommended that you avoid all screen time before bed as it emits a bluish light that can affect your sleep.
#5: You Are Not Supplementing Correctly
With more than $30 billion in revenue gained with supplements every year, you might be one of those people who want to buy every possible supplement to “boost” your performance. But if you are not supplementing correctly, your efforts will definitely be wasted.
Keep in mind that most supplements are designed to support your lifestyle, and won’t be able to turn you into a muscle model in one day.
Supplement only what you need to and make sure that it forms part of your overall healthy, fit lifestyle.
#6: You are Not Consuming Enough Protein
You know that eating six healthy meals per day is the right way to go, but you don’t always have protein nearby so that is usually the first macronutrient that gets compromised.
Having lean sources of protein available will allow you to consume your daily requirement of around one gram per pound of bodyweight easily. Keep track of what you are eating and prepare meals in advance if you want to ensure that you are getting the protein you need.
#7: You Eat Too Much/Little
If you are consuming too many calories or more calories than you are burning off then this can cause you to gain weight and fat.
Combined with our sedentary lifestyles will obviously leave you unfit.
Similarly, if you are not consuming enough calories then your body will go into a sort of starvation mode where your metabolism will slow in an attempt to cling onto its fat reserves.
Neither is particularly a good approach for overall fitness.
#8: You Don’t Manage Your Time Well
Yes, nowadays we all lead much busier lifestyles than in the past. But if you continue to miss gym sessions, or you put off shopping to buy healthy foods in favour of buying takeaways then your fitness will suffer.
No matter how busy your lifestyle is, if you value your health then you need to make time for yourself.
#9: You Don’t Workout Enough
If you want to get fit then your diet alone won't get you the results you want.
To build muscle you will need to lift weights while improving your overall fitness will require some cardio sessions too.
Regular exercise has plenty of health benefits so it is well worth the effort.
#10: You Overtrain
Overtraining can affect your fitness and performance levels so it is essential that you allow yourself the occasional rest day.
If you are going to the gym every day, working out for longer than an hour at a time and find yourself aching all the time then you may be working too hard and may need a rest from your training regime.
Remember rest is just as important as your diet and training efforts.
#11: Your Environment Is Not Supportive
When it comes to your health and fitness your friends and family can heavily influence your decisions.
If all you see are unfit and overweight people who would rather sit around on the couch watching TV rather than visit the gym then perhaps it is time to find a few different friends who have the same goals as you.
While the above reasons are currently stopping you from being as fit you could potentially be, there is no reason to believe that if you make a few changes you cant become much fitter.