TRAINING OFTEN AND STILL NOT LOSING WEIGHT?
Training often and still not losing weight? 3 reasons why and 3 things you can do about it.
You’re trying to lose weight. Logic tells you that you should train really hard and often to start shifting the scale.
But when you weigh yourself after several weeks of hard work in the gym Clapham and classes, the scale hasn’t changed. To add insult to injury, your clothes actually fit tighter around the waist.
What’s going on? Here are three reasons why your hard work is NOT paying off, and what you can do about it.
1. TOO MUCH INTENSITY LEADING TO STRESS
While you may feel amazing after an intense training session, doing too many in a week without sufficient recovery can place your body under too much stress.
Too much stress leads to excessive release of the stress hormone cortisol. One of the bi-products of excess cortisol release is weight gain around the middle.
If you start to notice a growing waistline even when you are training regularly, the frequency of intense training may be part of the reason why.
Schedule your training to include active recovery and rest days
Plan your week in advance and account for when you will train and when you will recover. By planning in active recovery and rest days, they are more likely to happen.
Active recovery means recovery that still involves exercise. For instance, it a steady, short run or swim, or even a long walk. The point is to recover by keeping your body moving as opposed to recovery by staying still.
If you train only at a high intensity, you will overwork yourself and your results will suffer. If you train only at a steady/slower pace (active recovery), your body will stop adapting and your results will plateau (i.e. you won’t see changes in spite of continued efforts).
By varying your training (fast intervals to a steady pace, heavyweights to light) your body will constantly adapt, and your results will consistently improve.
Plan your training schedule to include when you slow down and when you rest and. Your results will improve and your body will thank you for it.
2. EATING THE WRONG THINGS POST-WORKOUT
A crucial and often overlooked element of recovery is re-fuelling, Your post-workout meal is vital for re-building muscle and restoring energy, helping you to recover from your training faster.
Re-fuelling effectively will also help you to improve your performance at your next training session so that you are consistently making progress. Without effective refueling post-workout, you’ll become tired and run down.
So before you think about starving yourself after training – DON’T!
You need quality calories to fuel quality recovery. Your body actually needs fuel to burn calories and to repair and retain muscle tissue.
3. LACK OF RECOVERY
An additional by-product of too many intense training sessions during the week is feeling run down. This is simply because your body hasn’t recovered sufficiently.
If you wake up in the morning feeling tired, this is a sign that you are pushing yourself too hard.
The benefits you are looking for will occur DURING RECOVERY, NOT TRAINING. It is during the recovery process that you will rebuild the muscle you have worked on (including your heart for cardiovascular work), so recovery time needs to be a priority.
Measure your recovery and improve your quality of sleep
Measuring your morning heart rate is an easy way to determine if you are overtraining.
You will never be more at rest than when you first wake up, making this the best time to monitor your heart rate. For a two-week period (if you miss a day no worries, just get as many readings as possible), when you wake measure your carotid pulse (at the side of your neck) for 10 seconds.
Multiply that number by 6, and record that number in your phone. If your morning heart rate starts to increase by 5-6 beats, this means you are not recovering sufficiently from your activities.
If you find that your morning heart rate is increasing, you need to alter your activities until your morning heart rate starts to decrease.
This can include; a) exchanging a high-intensity training session for an active recovery session (i.e. slower pace but still keeping active) or b) improving your quality of sleep.
For more information on how to improve your quality of sleep, here’s a podcast with a leading expert on sleep hygiene.
By following these three simple tips, you will get more out of your training sessions and see the results you are looking for.