In the last article, I went over 3 reasons girls aren’t seeing results. The article got quite a bit of attention, and helped quite a few girls see what they needed to be doing in their health and fitness in order to see results. So I thought, “Hey, let’s write one for guys! There are a ton of things guys can be doing better in order to see progress and results.”
So here we are.
Before I get into the nitty gritty, I would like to get something off my chest. If you are a guy and you are reading this article, DO NOT BE A DINGUS. What I mean by “do not be a dingus” is, do not read this article, say to yourself, “those are good ideas”, and then continue training and eating like you have been. You’re better than that. You’re smarter than that. Take these principles and apply them! I dare you. See what happens. The only thing you’re risking is a bit of effort for a huge reward. Why wouldn’t you give them a try, right?!
So, knowing that you’ll not only read this article, but apply the principles I tell you about, let’s move along.
There are many different reasons people don’t see results. The list goes on and on and on and on. However, some of those things aren’t as important as others. Having said that, this article contains only 3 of those reasons, as these 3 reasons are major reasons guys aren’t seeing results. Here they are.
Reason #1: Improper Nutrition
If you just read the reason and thought to yourself “That’s not me, I hit my macros every day!”, then this segment definitely applies to you.
When I first started coaching people, it was right as the surge of IIFYM came out. If you’re unaware of what that acronym stands for, it stands for “If It Fits Your Macros”. IIFYM is a way of eating that allows poor food choices as long as they fit your daily budget for protein, carbs, and fat. Basically, it doesn’t matter if you eat 100 grams of carbs from pop-tarts, or 100 grams of carbs from rice, carbs are carbs and 100 grams are 100 grams. This is when the whole “a calorie is a calorie” thing came about.
This thought process is insane and is keeping you from better health and fitness.
Sure, calories are calories, and 100 grams of carbs from pop tarts is the same in energy as 100 grams of rice. However, both of those sources of carbs play a very different role in your internal health. Your body’s internal systems and health will react in a very negative manner to 100 grams of pop tarts. Your blood sugar will spike with a guaranteed hard crash to come. The processed sugars will cause you to crave like crazy. The processed carbs in pop tarts are not satiating, making you feel like you’re still hungry. Your gut will hate you and your digestion will suffer.
Get the point?
Macronutrients are extremely important when it comes to health, building muscle, and burning fat. However, micronutrients as well as wholesome sources of macronutrients are just as important. When you are internally healthy, your external fitness (getting jacked and having a six pack) has far greater potential. When your internal health is garbage, you can get so far.
A good rule to follow when it comes to fueling yourself well is the 80/20 rule. 80% of your daily food intake must come from whole, natural sources and contain plenty of micronutrients. Do you need some steak and eggs to reach your protein and fat goal? Great, but throw some spinach in there too so your gut and digestion will thank you.
20% percent of your daily intake can come from poo-poo sources like Girl Scout Cookies (tis the season!) and cereal. I will say this, though. Although the 80/20 rule is a good rule to follow, I believe it’s a little lenient. I would recommend taking it to 90/10 in order to heavily prioritize your body’s internal health and digestion.
Reason #2: Not Enough Sleep
I’d say that sleep is the number one reason many people are seeing their health slowly deteriorate week by week. Sleep is hands down one the most important things we need as humans. It allows our body to rest, repair, and grow. Without sleep, we have nothing.
When it comes to guys, a lack of sleep is an epidemic. After training tons of people for years, I’ve come to the assumption that the average working man gets 5-6 hours of sleep per night. If someone comes to me for coaching and tells me they get 7 hours of sleep each night, I am completely blown away.
Here is the truth. You MUST be getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep each and every night. If you get a night of 7 hours of sleep or less, it is a sign that you better get yourself in check and get more the next night. Without sleep, your body will not reap the benefits from all your hard work. Not only will extra sleep get you your results, but it will also allow you to be a better person. Your mood will be better, you will be more attentive, and your friends, co-workers, and family will be relieved to not be around a total ass all the time.
There are a few things that you can be doing to get plenty of sleep.
First off, create a nightly routine. Our bodies absolutely love routine, especially when it comes to sleep. Find the time at which you will begin your nightly routine, and stick with it on a consistent basis.
Second, get rid of all electronics a few hours before bed. I know, this one is a struggle for me, too. But I tell you what, the nights where I choose to turn my electronics off and keep them away from me for a few hours before hitting the hay, I pass out as soon as my head hits the pillow and I am out like a rock all night long, feeling completely renewed in the morning. Find a place where you can put away your electronics as well. Charge your phone in another room other than the bedroom. Out of sight, out of mind.
Lastly, make your bedroom a place where sleep is bound to happen. Keep it dark and cool. No electronics in this place. Do not read in this place. Do not do anything other than sleeping in this place. Your bedroom is a sleeping place, ok?
One other thing, if you are absolutely putting your foot down on electronics, you can get some blue blocking glasses to aid your eyes while you’re answering emails late at night. It’s not nearly the same as being off electronics, but it can help.
Reason #3: Improper Programming
Programming is hands down one of the most underrated principles when it comes to reaching your health and fitness goals. Most of us guys think, “what’s it matter what my workout looks like, as long as I’m pushing myself, right?”
Well, yes and no.
Pushing yourself in your workout is very important, but it is secondary to proper programming. A good training program is centered around the big movements like squats, deadlifts, bench press, rows, and overhead presses. A good program also includes room for volume to be increased through proper intensity and frequency.
Volume is one of the key signals that tells our bodies to build and grow. Volume is weights x sets x reps. As your training volume increases, your body will adapt, grow, and get stronger. Volume can be manipulated with intensity (how hard you’re working) as well as frequency (how often you train each muscle group). Most of the time, frequency and intensity should be inversely related. The higher your intensity is, the lower your frequency should be. The lower your intensity is, the higher your frequency should be. The key is balancing them well without doing too much frequency and too much intensity, or too little frequency and too little intensity.
Here are some guidelines that apply to different levels of trainees.
If you are a beginner and you have very little experience exerting your body with weights, you should train your entire body with full body workouts three times per week at a low intensity.
If you are an intermediate trainee, you should train your body parts two times per week with a moderatel intensity. This can look like two push and two pull workouts per week.
If you are an advanced trainee, you can train your body parts two times per week with a high intensity. This can look like two push and two pull workouts per week with extra sets and effort in your exercises.
Whatever your training program looks like, it is important that it gives you enough time to rest each muscle group between training sessions, and still provides room for volume to increase month after month without overtraining.
Here is your short version of this article.
Eat nutritious foods that contain high quality macronutrients as well as high quality micronutrients. No processed crap. Au naturel, baby.
Get an absolute minimum of 7 hours of sleep per week by turning your room into a cave, turning off electronics early, and following a routine.
Follow a training program that allows you to train each muscle group 2-3 times per week with plenty of opportunity to rest in between workouts.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam is a fitness professional, baseball fan, and cookie fanatic based in Fort Collins, Colorado. After hanging up the cleats, he found a strong interest in the human body and how it performs. Since then, Adam has been transforming lives through fitness in a fun and encouraging atmosphere. As an ACE CPT and Fitness Nutrition Specialist, he is constantly moved to help people improve in all walks of life. If you’re interested in hiring Adam as your coach, fill out an application here.