1) STRESS. No, we didn't hit the 'caps' lock by accident. Sometimes we can feel like we're living our lives with the caps lock on, with the dial continual notched up to 11. At the time it may feel like we're getting loads done, earning that promotion at work or providing even more for our families. However, stress has a massive impact on your body. In recent blogs we've touched on something called 'chronic stress' - low-medium level stress over a sustained period. Well today it's rearing its' head again. If you're body and mind are stressed to the limit then good luck losing weight, lifting more or beating that time - you're fighting a losing battle. The best thing to do is invest time reducing the stressors in your life (where possible) and learning new techniques on how to 'deal' with stress when it presents itself, rather than it build up. Eliminate / reduce your stress levels and results will come more easily and quickly.
2) Sleep, or lack thereof. Sleep gives your mind and body time to recoup from the previous days events. Whether that's organising your experiences into your longer term memory, riding your body of stress hormones or repairing any damage done during the day, sleep is key.Each person needs varying amounts, but somewhere around the 8 hour mark suits most people. Have a play around with how much sleep you get each night and see what works for you. Struggle to sleep? Try going for a late night stroll in the evening instead of watching TV. Turn your computer, laptop and mobile phone off a couple of hours before bed. Eat your evening meal a couple of hours before be and spend your evening relaxing and de-stressing.(stress has turned up again!)
3) Hydration. Water is key for pretty much every process in your body to work effectively. In terms of weight loss and / or getting fitter it's no surprise that staying hydrated is of utmost importance. Water is not only used to provide energy to your cells (yes water is needed to make energy) it's also vital to get rid of the waste products from your body. Lack of energy or build up of waste products all decrease the efficiency of your body and increase stress (which is at the top of our list!). Carry a metal (not plastic) water bottle around with you throughout the day, sipping it regularly, and you'll feel the difference.
4) Proper nutrition. By this we mean not too little, not too much, but more importantly the right content. There's no point working hard then fuelling your body on processed food full of sugar and 'trans-fats' (to be discussed at another point in time). Don't drink alcohol if you can avoid it - forget about the calories, it's the impact on your metabolic hormones you need to worry about. Make sure to have a balance diet of protein, fat and carbs (yes carbs, but 'good' ones). The easiest way to do this? Eat meat, fish, veg, nuts, seeds, dairy and fruit. Simples. Don't starve yourself - it'll have bad consequences.
5) Variation. If you keep doing the same routine day in day out, the same workout on the same machine then you might get good at doing that movement (but progress will even be limited if you don't do other things) but you won't get a balanced progression for your body. We evolved running, jumping, hopping, climbing, crawling and all in varying amounts on different days and at different times of day depending on what the world threw at us. Replicating that is the best way to get your genes to build a fit and healthy body. So, if you always do the same exercise maybe it's time to introduce something new to shake things up! Not sure what? Speak to a friendly health and fitness coach for ideas ;-)
So there you go. 5 things that could be halting your progression. We'd suggest trying them in the order above to see if you can get some better results from all that hard work. Let us know how you get on.