Zero gains: 5 reasons your workout isn’t working

Working out is hard.. But when you feel your body becoming stronger, your energy levels increasing, and your pants feeling looser, it’s worth it. The problem is, at one point or another, everyone has put in work and felt like they were reaping zero gains. Besides being very frustrating, it can cause even “gym rats”…

Zero gains: 5 reasons your workout isn’t working was originally published on Self Evolve

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Working out is hard..

But when you feel your body becoming stronger, your energy levels increasing, and your pants feeling looser, it’s worth it. The problem is, at one point or another, everyone has put in work and felt like they were reaping zero gains. Besides being very frustrating, it can cause even “gym rats” to throw in the towel. Sound familiar?

Not anymore. Below are five main reasons you may not be seeing the fitness results you want, plus easy ways to get your workout working for you.

  1. You’re doing the same ol’ thing. Whatever you do, whether it’s sitting on the couch watching Netflix or running 5 miles a day, your body gets used to it. Your body is an amazing adaptive machine, it gets stronger and adds more muscle when you lift weights. With cardio, your body adepts by increasing endurance and aerobic capacity. If you do the same thing workout after workout, your body will stop changing. You have to change it up! The fix: progressive overload. Once you feel like your workout is getting easier, add more weights or reps to your strength routine, run faster or farther, or try more advanced progressions of your favorite yoga pose.
  2. You wing it. On the opposite side of the spectrum, some people change their workout up too often. Hopping between different programs goes against the concept of progressive overload. This doesn’t let you advance in any particular program. The fix: pick one discipline to be your bread-and-butter for at least a few months at a time. You can always sprinkle in other types of workouts to keep things interesting, but you should feel like you’re getting better at something.
  3. Your body’s stressed out. A bad breakup, work drama, financial troubles, processed foods and crappy sleep can trigger a stress response in your body. Cortisol and inflammation levels can increase and over time your body could start breaking down rather than building strength. The fix: You have to reduce the amount of stress in your life. If you can, cut back on the hours of work you do or your workouts if needed. But you will need those workouts to get more fit, so focusing on what outside force is stressing you out and trying to manage that is ideal.
  4. You try to crunch your way to a flat stomach. Spot training is a myth that just won’t die. Abs are some of the smaller muscles we have, and core exercises burn a low amount of calories because of this. The fix: If you want a flat stomach, you have to build muscle everywhere rather than just your abs. Focus on compound, total-body exercises like squats, deadlifts, and burpees to work out your body’s largest muscle groups.
  5. You’re eating too much- or too little. The foods you eat can either fuel your workouts or completely counteract them. Some people deprive themselves of calories and carbs they really need to workout, whereas others will eat a package of Oreo’s after moving around some dumb-bells at the gym. While the former can make you feel sluggish, cause your muscles to break down and actually slow your metabolism, the latter can easily cause you to take in more calories than you’re burning – even if you’re counting calories. The fix: Treat food as something that should fuel your body both in and out of the gym, rather than something that either 1) makes you fat and should be kept to the bare minimum or 2) is your reward for hitting the gym. That mind shift takes work, but it will help you keep your diet balanced and allow your workouts to show.

What do you do to avoid zero gains?

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Zero gains: 5 reasons your workout isn’t working was originally published on Self Evolve

Why everyone needs a personal trainer

One of the main questions I ask every person I meet at my job is if they’ve ever worked with a personal trainer before. And if they have, was it a positive experience. If not, I dig deeper to see why. Most of the time, the response is that it was a great experience where…

Why everyone needs a personal trainer was originally published on Self Evolve

personal trainer

One of the main questions I ask every person I meet at my job is if they’ve ever worked with a personal trainer before. And if they have, was it a positive experience. If not, I dig deeper to see why. Most of the time, the response is that it was a great experience where they were able to reach their goals and have the body they wanted. If they’ve never had a personal trainer, I always ask if they have ever considered getting one. I ask this because I feel like most of us, at one time or another, have thought of hiring a personal trainer to help us achieve our goals. But we may have hesitated, likely over the cost of a trainer. Today I’m going to go over why I feel like everyone needs a personal trainer, at some point(s) in their life.

Why you need a personal trainer

  • Workout planning. “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” Benjamin Franklin had it right. If you go to the gym without a workout plan, you will just be winging it every time. And with that comes a lot of guessing and free-styling it, but also you’ll likely just do the same routine every time they’re at the gym. This isn’t ideal as our bodies get used to the same exercise and you will stop seeing results.
  • Tracking your progress. Most people only track their progress by weighing themselves, but this can be very discouraging. Especially since muscle is more dense than fat, the number on the scale may not change as much as your measurements and body fat. A personal trainer will take your measurements at least once every month or two to verify you’re seeing results.
  • Proper form and technique. Without any prior training or education in relation to exercise, it’s hard to know the proper form and technique for all exercises. Also, it’s hard to know what type of exercises will help you get to your specific goals. That’s where a certified trainer can help immensely.
  • Health advice. In addition to fitness and exercise advice, personal trainers can also help provide overall guidelines in regards to health. While we aren’t nutritionists or dietitians, we can give our clients a general idea of what they should be focusing on when it comes to their diet.
  • Avoid injury. This is huge. The amount of injuries that occur at the gym is substantial. Without proper form and technique, it is easy to hurt yourself. Having a personal trainer to demonstrate and verify that you’re performing exercises correctly mitigates the risk of injury.
  • Accountability & motivation. Having a trainer keeps you accountable. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t pay for a trainer and then not show up to my sessions. Money is a great motivator, and once you start seeing results the motivation will just start pouring in!

Exercise is complex

Exercise isn’t just science, it’s also an art form. The key to exercise is variety, and to know not only the right type of exercise but also the different variations is needed to reach your goals. Without proper knowledge and education, it’s hard to walk into a gym without feeling intimated. Big weights and barbells can scare off anyone. That’s where a trainer comes in.

Have you ever had a trainer? Or do you currently have a trainer?

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Why everyone needs a personal trainer was originally published on Self Evolve

Proper gym etiquette: what not to do at the gym

Stay classy, my friend The gym can be intimidating, especially for beginners. Outside of the normal gym rules, there are several unspoken rules that you should follow at every gym. Following these rules will help you have proper gym etiquette. Gym Rules 101 Shower and wear clean clothes to the gym. Don’t be stinky, no…

Proper gym etiquette: what not to do at the gym was originally published on Self Evolve

Stay classy, my friend

The gym can be intimidating, especially for beginners. Outside of the normal gym rules, there are several unspoken rules that you should follow at every gym. Following these rules will help you have proper gym etiquette.

Gym Rules 101

  • Shower and wear clean clothes to the gym. Don’t be stinky, no one likes to work out next to B.O. gym etiquette
  • Wipe down equipment. I wipe before and after using equipment, mostly because I don’t want to sit in someone else’s sweat.
  • Put equipment away! Put away those weights! If you’re using a bar, please put away the weights in some sort of order. Don’t make it hard for the next person.
  • Step away from the dumbbells. Let other people use the dumbbell rack, take a few seconds and move over after grabbing your weights.
  • Give people space. Don’t be creepy, don’t stare, and don’t get in people’s way. They might accidentally hit you with a weight if you get too close.
  • Don’t drop weights. Don’t drop dumbbells after a set, and don’t let the weight machines slam the weight down. If the weight is too heavy, go lighter.
  • Make sure others aren’t using a piece of equipment before using it. Especially if there’s a towel, water bottle, or other piece of training equipment nearby.
  • “Working in” with someone. If you see someone using the same equipment you need, you can see if you can work in with them. Keep in mind that if your weight is way different than what they’re using it may be best to wait until their done with the equipment first.
  • Getting advice from randos: smile and nod, say something like ‘I appreciate your input, but I’ve got to finish my workout now. I’m on a tight schedule.’ and move on.
  • Giving advice to randos: Don’t do it unless they are putting themselves or someone else in immediate danger.
  • Hitting on fellow gym goers. You know that cute girl who usually works out with the same guy all the time? Then she shows up alone one day and you’re all over her? Don’t be that guy. This happens to me all the time, please stop!

Proper Gym Etiquette

Overall, just keep in mind the following three rules and you should be fine: be aware of your surroundings, be cool, and act like it’s your equipment. For the guys and gals out there looking for their swolemate, keep in mind that confidence and independence are some of the sexiest traits you can have. 

What drives you nuts at the gym?

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Proper gym etiquette: what not to do at the gym was originally published on Self Evolve

What to wear while working out

For seasoned athletes and beginners alike, what you wear while exercising can either help or hinder you. Clothing goes beyond what it makes you look like in today’s article, although for some it does matter what they wear to the gym or that exercise class with the cute guy in it. There are some key factors…

What to wear while working out was originally published on Self Evolve

For seasoned athletes and beginners alike, what you wear while exercising can either help or hinder you. Clothing goes beyond what it makes you look like in today’s article, although for some it does matter what they wear to the gym or that exercise class with the cute guy in it.

There are some key factors to think about when trying on workout clothing prior to purchasing it.

  1. Material: What is the material of the clothing you’re wearing? While cotton is soft, it isn’t very breathable. Many athletes prefer polyester, or a technical blend of materials that are more breathable. It’s helpful during a sweat sesh to be able to cool down more effectively with the proper materials.
  2. Fit: How do the clothes fit? Are they tight or loose? It’s ideal to wear looser clothing, especially for activities that get you moving in all directions. But you don’t want the clothing to be too baggy where it’s drooping off of you. Some opt for tighter fitting clothes, but keep in mind that material may stretch and become see through during that downward dog position in your Yoga class.
  3. Color: For the most part, the color doesn’t matter. But if you plan on running in the early morning or late evening, buy those brightly colored shirts and shorts! Also, get reflective gear to go along with it. There’s this new Safety Skin (see below) that basically is a reflective skin spread that you can rub on your skin so that you’re visible in the dark.
  4. Style: While style isn’t the biggest concern, it is helpful to get clothes that you at least feel cute or handsome in. For me, there are days I don’t feel like working out until I think about how cute my outfit is. Sometimes it’s the little things that push me to get my butt into the gym.
  5. Brand: Brand doesn’t matter too much, but some brands cost more than others. I’ve found great clothes at Old Navy and Target that are comparable to Athleta and Lulu Lemon clothes. While my favorite workout clothes usually come from Athleta, I can’t always afford their high prices. I try to keep an open mind when shopping for exercise gear, and I’ve had good luck with the clearance rack at Dick’s sporting goods, TJ Maxx, and Marshall’s.

 

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What do you look for in a workout outfit? Do you pay attention to what you wear or do you just throw on whatever is clean enough to be presentable for the gym? Do you have a favorite brand? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

What to wear while working out was originally published on Self Evolve

Downward Facing Goat

I’ve taken quite a few yoga classes before, but never with so many farm animals until this past weekend. On Sunday, I went to Kamins farm up in Grayslake, IL for an hour long session of yoga, with the additional bonus of farm animals. Not only goats were involved, there were also some potbellied pigs,…

Downward Facing Goat was originally published on Self Evolve

I’ve taken quite a few yoga classes before, but never with so many farm animals until this past weekend. On Sunday, I went to Kamins farm up in Grayslake, IL for an hour long session of yoga, with the additional bonus of farm animals. Not only goats were involved, there were also some potbellied pigs,…

Downward Facing Goat was originally published on Self Evolve

Avoiding Raccoon Eyes

Do you ever get to the gym and forget that you have on a full face of makeup? Or did you purposefully do your makeup to look good for that cute guy at the gym only to leave the gym with raccoon eyes? I’m here today to talk about the options you have in the…

Avoiding Raccoon Eyes was originally published on Self Evolve

Do you ever get to the gym and forget that you have on a full face of makeup? Or did you purposefully do your makeup to look good for that cute guy at the gym only to leave the gym with raccoon eyes? I’m here today to talk about the options you have in the ever-expanding makeup world that will help you avoid running out of the gym looking hideous.

While we’re aware of waterproof mascara, there are mascaras that are meant to be worn while working out. For example, the Eyeko Sport Waterproof Mascara holds up pretty well. If you’re looking for something more affordable, L’oreal and Maybelline make a sport mascara as well.

Outside of mascara, there’s a relatively new brand called Sweat Cosmetics that is meant for use while working out and sweating. It’s available through Sephora. I use the Illuminator when I work out and I like it since it also has SPF 25 which is handy when working out, especially during the summer months. I keep the makeup in my workout bag since it’s super easy to apply with the twist brush that’s included.

Even if you don’t use these brands, be sure to avoid oil-based makeup as that is the type that will trap in sweat and clog your pores as you’re working out. No matter what you use, be sure to wash all your makeup off every night to prevent breakouts and to keep good hygiene.

What do you do for makeup while working out? Do you wash your face before working out? Or after? Is the cute guy at the gym noticing your makeup or raccoon eyes? Comment below with what has or hasn’t worked for you.

Avoiding Raccoon Eyes was originally published on Self Evolve