The fitness industry is centred on pounds lost. Take a look at many magazine covers and you will see bold headlines that are focused on losing so many pounds in so many weeks. You see models with beaming smiles, and appearing full of confidence.
What you do not see is the real lives of these people. You cannot connect with what is going in inside their mind, or inside their bodies. We are seeing but a snapshot of the bigger picture.
Data shows that less than 10% of people are successful with their long term weight management. Why do long term dieters have such a low success rate? From what I have seen first hand, it is not the intention or effort that is the problem.
What if there other ways of monitoring progress, that left you feel more fulfilled. What if the number on the scales or the tape measure wasn’t the be all and end all? What if it was these other markers were the ones that supported the weight loss you are after, and not the other way around.
In this 3 part article I will be covering the other factors that you can and should be aware of when it comes to being charting of your progress. Could change really happen from the inside out?
In part 1 I will cover the physical side of things. In part 2 I will cover the mental side of things. And in the final part I will look into appearance & the usual measurements that are religiously tracked; scale weights etc..
PART 1: THE PHYSICAL
You get ill less often
A combination of increasing your overall work capacity, decreasing your inflammation and stress levels should mean that you get ill less often. And when you do get ill you are able to bounce back more quickly. Leading a high stress lifestyle with a poor recovery capacity only puts stress on your immune system. If you are getting ill less often, it is a sign that your training and nutrition strategy are bettering your overall health and immune response. If you are getting ill more often as a result of your training and nutrition strategy it is probably a sign that you are not recovering well enough; either through inadequate nutrition or too much exercise.
You perform better in the gym
A big switch in your exercise mindset should be away from calorie burn towards performance benefits.
Using the wrong exercise plans at the wrong time will lead to suboptimal results. You could be doing movements that you are not ready for, training too often or adding too much volume and/or intensity.
How do you know that you are performing better in the gym? On a macro-scale you should be seeing improvements in your workouts. This could be;
- Doing more work in less time; you finish the exact same workout in less time.
- Doing more work in the same amount of time; you are able to run further or do more exercises.
- You are adding reps or weight to the bar.
- The same workout feels less demanding.
If you are new to training, you should see improvements either on a session to session basis or on a weekly basis. The more advanced you get, the longer it takes to see a return on your efforts. The key point is that you should be seeing progress over months and years of training.
You perform better in daily tasks
Your daily tasks could range from working at a computer to picking up your child. If the high volume-low load activities of your life are wearing you down, you probably feel like you are running on empty and in survival mode most of the time.
Having the capacity to take on the demands of your life with ease shows that you are stronger and more durable, giving you the energy to give more focus and energy to the things that matter in life.
You move more
Daily movement is vital to overall health and well being. If you find yourself maintaining your current daily movement levels or improving them, it is a good sign that you are supporting your overall wellness . One of the ‘hidden’ problems of intense dieting and training is that your general activity levels may drop automatically; you might find yourself sitting down more, moving at a slower pace and sleeping more.
If you find yourself moving less, struggling in the gym and/or getting ill more often, the chances are there is areas you can look to optimise. These include:
- Exercise: are you working out at all? If you are, are you training with the right volume/intensity for you current fitness levels?
- Nutrition; are you eating enough in the long term to support your health and energy levels?
- Recovery; are you sleeping enough? Are taking in lots of things that could impact your sleep or recovery; alcohol, caffeine, processed foods etc.? Are you taking enough days off in between your exercise sessions? Are you spending lots of your day seated and inactive?