Have you been working towards a fitness goal but aren’t seeing results? Are you frustrated that things aren’t changing quickly enough? You’re not alone. Most people have experienced this frustration during their rehab, but the reasons can vary for everyone. While every body is different, there are four common reasons why people aren’t getting the results they hoped for. When trying to maximize your results with rehab, here are some important questions to ask yourself:
- How long (days/weeks/months) have I been actively working towards my goal?
- Am I getting enough sleep and rest?
- Am I getting proper nutrition and hydration?
- Am I under more stress than usual
How long have you been working towards your goal?
This is probably the most telling factor in your quest for results. Many people start a fitness program with the intention to get fast results–essentially setting themselves up for immediate failure. The human body takes 8 weeks of consistent training to show even 1% of muscle gain. Contrary to popular belief, the first 8 weeks of a program trains your nervous system and neuromuscular connections, not necessarily your muscle fibers themselves. This is why it is completely unrealistic to expect to get rid of pain in 2 sessions, or see a six-pack with 2 trips to the gym. After the first 8 weeks, after the neuromuscular adaptations, then you can start to see actual muscle growth. Patience and consistency will be your best friend on your fitness journey.
Am I getting enough sleep and rest?
Some people are so focused on their goal that they workout 7 days a week, multiple times a day. Some people do their home exercise program all day long, everyday, yet they still don’t see results. Their determination is wonderful, but they are robbing themselves of the most important aspect of training– REST! Your muscles literally break down when exercising and strength training. You see the actual muscle gain when you sleep and give them time to recover between sessions. So if you are giving your program your all, maybe you should take a step back and give your hardworking body the rest it needs to rebuild itself. Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night and give yourself 24-48 hours of rest before training the same muscle group again.
Am I getting proper nutrition and hydration?
Are you drinking enough water to keep your muscles and cells hydrated, or are you drinking ample coffee and energy drinks? Are you eating a well balanced diet with carbs, proteins and fats or are you living off of protein bars? Your body needs the right fuel in the right balance to repair itself. Yes the means CARBS, contrary to what your keto friends might tell you. It has been proven that consuming a carbohydrate and protein rich meal/shake within 20 minutes post-workout increases muscle growth and repair substantially. Avoiding fats? Do your nerve cells a favor and put some avocado on your plate. These three macronutrients are essential for muscle growth and all bodily functions, so don’t give one up for the latest fad diet.
Am I under more stress that usual?
This may be the factor that seems the most out of our control, but its effects can be quite detrimental. When we are experiencing chronic or unusual amounts of stress, our body stays in our fight or flight nervous system. When we are constantly in our fight or flight state, our mechanisms for muscle repair, nutrient absorption, and sleep get muted. When we are out of this state, we come back to our rest and digest nervous system. When we are in rest and digest, our functions for muscle growth and overall health are kicked into high gear. If you are experiencing chronic fatigue try to find time in your day that is just for YOU and do something that feels utterly relaxing and rejuvenating.
If you feel you have addressed each of the above questions but still are not getting the results you need, then it’s time to sit down with your healthcare professional and see if something in your program needs to be adjusted. Your therapist or trainer should be more than happy to find the right program for you, so do not hesitate to have an honest conversation with them.
Your journey will require you to be honest and dedicated to your program, and your team will help support you along the way.