If you are like almost any other North American you have just set a New Years resolution and you want it to happen NOW. No, I take that back, you wanted it to happen yesterday.
We currently live in a society where patience is a thing of the past and almost any time we want something we can get it almost instantaneously. Unfortunately where fitness is concerned it doesn't always work that way.
Far too many individuals, in an effort to reach their goals in record time, think that the more effort they give, the faster their success will be. The problem with this is that sometimes, more effort does not translate to an increase in success but rather puts you on the fast track to failure. Let's look at two of these scenarios right now.
1. You Want To Be More Aerobically Fit.
Maybe you made the resolution that this will be the year where you aren't gasping for breath at just the thought of walking up the stairs. You've slacked off when it came to your cardiovascular training but now are ready to go full speed ahead and get into the best shape of your life - in fact, you may even just sign up for that marathon you've talked about doing since college.
So what do you do? You start a 6-day per week intensive endurance training program that has you running at least 45 minutes a few days per week and then doing interval training at least once per week. You pat yourself on the back for putting in such good effort and staying dedicated to seeing this dream happen.
Unfortunately you also went from logging about 1 mile per week to trying to log 20. Not a smart move by any means. Remember that you should theoretically only be adding about 10% more to your training per week, be it a 10% mileage increase or a 10% speed increase.
Any more than that and you are likely to get injured. And if you've ever been injured before, you know that you won't exactly be breaking any records during this time. It's much better to take it slightly slower and ensure you can train in the first place.
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2. You Decided You Have Enough Muscle But Now It's Time To Finally Get Rid Of That Layer Of Fat To Show It Off!
This is another classic example of a goal we see at this time of year. An individual has been training for the whole last year to add more muscle mass to their frame - and they have. Unfortunately along with that muscle also came a few extra pounds of fat. That's okay though because now they are going to quickly shed the fat and reveal their new body.
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If this is your case, you likely first decide that you should cut your calories in order to create a deficit for fat loss; a perfectly sensible thing to do. Problem is, you don't cut the 500 or so that is recommended, but rather decide 1000 per day is a nice number. This will allow for a weight loss of about 2 pounds per week.
You also heard that doing cardio while bulking was unwise because it would prevent muscle gain, and therefore have avoided any cardio training at all. Nothing was going to sacrifice your muscle gains. Now however, given that you want to lose some fat, you hop on that treadmill for as long as your legs can handle. Houston we have a problem.
The first issue with this is because you have not been doing any cardio during your bulking period so your body has a poor capacity to use fat as fuel. It has gotten quite accustomed to just using the glucose that you have been taking in as energy and has really had no reason to even touch dietary or body fat.
Now however, given that you are forcing your body to perform all this cardio right off the bat, it is going to continue to burn glucose. Unfortunately though, since you have also cut calories WAY down, you don't have a lot of glucose available to you.
So what is the body to do next? Attack that muscle tissue! It's not going to turn to fat stores because it hasn't been conditioned to do this in the last year and would much rather at this point use lean muscle tissue for energy since it's the most metabolically active anyway.
This is now going to be a sure-fire recipe for muscle mass loss. Instead of losing some body fat as was originally your goal, you are going to start eating away at muscle tissue and only make yourself look fatter rather than leaner (since reduced muscle mass while maintaining fat mass creates a larger total body fat percentage).
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A much smarter way to go about achieving this goal is to get doing some regular MODERATE cardio sessions before even cutting back on calories. This will increase the bodies' fat oxidation abilities and get it prepared to handle doing cardio while on a calorie deficit, teaching it to use body fat rather than muscle for fuel.
Granted of course it will be a slower process but isn't a slower process where you actually lose fat mass better than a faster process where you only lose muscle mass? I should think so.
So if you have either of those goals in mind right now and think that a doable timeline is one to two months to achieve them, you may want to think again. I know you want results NOW but being patient with yourself will indeed lead to more quality results, reduce the risk of injuries and help to prevent you from simply becoming burned out altogether.
What do BodySpace members do to reach their goals?
mcclish13 - BodySpace
- Goal: "I want to gain 10 pounds of muscle while reducing my body fat below 6%"
- How I Stay Motivated: "It is now my way of life. I do it for the love of the game. Also it helps that I have dedicated my life to helping others so how can you do that without first having your own house in order."
- Supplements: Z-Mass-PM
Justinrozon7 - BodySpace
- Goal: "Put as much muscle mass as i can in the least amount of time, and having 16.5" arms at the end of january"
- How I Stay Motivated: "Reading magazines about pro bodybuilders"
- Supplements: Anator P70
ChickenTuna - BodySpace
- Goal: "Always be fit"
- How I Stay Motivated: "I was sick with asthma and hospitalized a lot as a kid and I love the feeling of being healthy and strong now. I want to be in good shape throughout my life and since there are no magical pills to stay fit, I have no choice but to keep busting my ass consistently."
Cowboy82 - BodySpace
- Goal: "To get stronger and faster so I start as a Tightend for my community college."
- How I Stay Motivated: "The people who say 'you can't do it' just makes me want it more."
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