This post is for the gal feeling frustrated right now. I want to help get you un-stuck, feeling confident with your workout plan and seeing results.
Let me also say one thing… your workouts ARE working. If your workout is helping you clear your mind, it’s working. If your workout is helping you feel better about yourself, it’s working. If you are training simply because you love it, it’s working.
However, I want to help you take all of that one step further. This post is intended to help those who feel they’ve hit a plateau or who aren’t seeing the physical results they’re working so hard for. I’ve been in this game for almost a decade; I know very well that there are phases in which I’m all about hitting a certain physical goal and other phases where I simply am interested in working out to keep myself sane (read this post if the latter is more your current mood).
Anyways, you know I’m all about results inside and out. I talk so much about how to use health and fitness as a foundation for feeling great and creating a life you love. BUT, we also feel great when we are achieving goals. So, here are 3 things I know will help you hit your physical goals more effectively.
Let’s set the scene (one I have been stuck in too!):
You’re working out almost every day. For a solid hour! You’re killing it. You finish each workout a sweaty mess. As far a nutrition goes, you’re eating healthy! You meal prep. You bring a nutritious meal to work. You feel great about everything you’re doing. But, you can’t help but feel frustrated that those last few pounds aren’t coming off. And, why can’t you see that muscle definition that you know you’re building?!
I’ve been there, girl! I know 3 things that really helped me and if you implement them, they’ll help you too!
1. YOUR TRAINING SPLIT ISN’T STRATEGIC FOR YOUR GOALS
Let’s start with the easiest tweak you can make… your training split. This is nearly an effortless step. Your training split is also known as your workout schedule. It’s the schedule of what muscle group or groups you are training each day. It doesn’t seem like a place anything could go wrong, right?! Wrong.
This is common mistake I see so many women making (again, I use “mistake” as a term for those ladies who are specifically looking to get fit while shedding body fat). It’s also how I started my workout journey. Here it is… you don’t have any strategy for how and when you train specific muscle groups. Maybe you do cardio followed by some random weighted workouts. Or, possibly you’re doing total body workouts.
The reason why we need to get strategic with this this is because in order for us to sculpt our muscles, we must give each specific muscle sufficient attention. These are all of the muscle groups I target: biceps, triceps, shoulders, back, chest, legs, glutes. abs and calves. When you see my challenge and plan workouts, you’ll notice we have days like Back + Biceps or Shoulders + Glutes.
Here’s a training split sample I love:
Tuesday: Chest + Triceps
Wednesday: HIIT Cardio + Abs
Thursday: Back + Biceps
Friday: Shoulders + Glutes
Saturday: Liss + Abs
You’ll notice with this split, only 2 (maybe some days 3) muscle groups are targeted each day. Also, in a given week, each muscle group gets sufficiently worked.
2. MUSCLE BREAKDOWN ISN’T HAPPENING
You know how it goes… when we workout (especially with weights), we cause tiny tears in our muscle cells. When we rest and eat well, we allow those muscle cells to repair themselves, growing back stronger (=results). Now, this process isn’t guaranteed. It actually take a lot of work to achieve that! I’m someone who doesn’t just put on muscle easily… that’s the case for most women. I have to work hard to put on muscle because of this process that I described. So, how do we workout in order to cause muscle breakdown?
First, we have to work each muscle to a deep enough extent. We start this through a strategic training split. When we choose just 1-3 muscle groups per day, we allow for a sufficient amount of sets per muscle group. A general rule of thumb I use is that each muscle group gets 3 exercises for 3 sets per exercise. For example, if I train biceps, I make sure to include 3 bicep exercises (minimum) and complete 3 sets of each of those 3 bicep exercises. That’s step one!
Second, we must ensure we are lifting intensely enough to cause muscle breakdown. This most often comes in the form of weight. There’s nothing wrong with using 3 lb. dumbbells, but as a place to start! Our muscles are strong as is and require a lot of added weight to really be worked to the point of muscle breakdown. It’s up to us to bring the intensity to our workouts, so be sure you’re lifting heavy.
3. FOOD IS HOLDING YOU BACK
This is textbook Lauren Gleisberg circa 2008. Train every day! Leave the gym feeling great! Follow it up by swinging through the Culver’s drive through for a butter burger and custard. For too long, I attempted to out train a poor diet. I thought it would even out, right?! Wrong.
Fast forward to Lauren Gleisberg 2010 and I was doing what most women do and why many find themselves stuck. General healthy eating. I ate well. I meal prepped. And, I was even consistent. Still, not the results I really wanted, specifically that muscle definition and strong/lean appearance.
Here’s what I learned… general healthy eating doesn’t automatically get you physical results. When I learned about macronutrients (not counting macros, rather about the macros themselves), I realized there was a strategy we could use implement to see results through food alone.
Protein – the macronutrient most responsible for satiety aka the state of feeling full. High protein meals help keep us satisfied and curb cravings. It’s also the macro especially important for building muscle! I aim for a nice serving of protein at every meal.
Fat – there’s so much to be said for healthy fats (like heart health and brain functioning). They’re great is so many ways, but my favorite benefit is the fats slow down the rate of digestion. This is important in regulating blood sugar levels and keeping fat from storing on our bodies.
Carbohydrates – carbs are so far from being “the enemy.” In fact, they are so helpful at building muscle and reducing fat. With carbs, it’s all about timing! They’re best utilized around our workouts and least necessary at the end of the day.
I can’t stress enough how important this is. It wasn’t until I changed my food habits that I actually saw the results I always wanted. I want that for you too, so I really suggest focusing your efforts here!
It may seem a tad overwhelming, but don’t let it be. If this is where you may think you’re stuck, I highly suggest my Eat Your Way Lean Meal Plan which will lay all of this out for you with 3 simple guidelines to follow. It’s 15% off during the 3 day sale, so enjoy that discount if you’d like. And, I’m always here if you have questions!!