I hope everyone survived winter. With summer fast approaching, there will be a mad dash to get that summer body fast. If you have struggled to get your summer body for the last few years, here are some reasons you aren't achieving your goals.
1. You are lacking a good plan.
Do you even have a plan? One good thing to know is at least a fairly accurate estimate of your daily caloric needs. You can Google a daily caloric needs calculator to figure out yours. If you are eating more calories than you need, you will gain weight. You can get fat on a Paleo, Keto or Atkins diet. It doesn't matter what diet you use unless you have diagnosed food allergies or intolerances.
2. You are program hopping.
The key to losing weight is consistency. Don't give up on a program because it didn't work in two weeks. Things take time. You also have to be honest with yourself. Did you actually follow the program or take short cuts?
3. You go off the rails on the weekend.
Calories still count on the weekend. It isn't a magical place where Timbits and Caesars don't matter. Everything adds up. You can still have those things as long as they fit the number of calories you need daily. You should obviously be choosing whole healthy foods as much as possible if weight loss is the goal.
4. You are not managing stress and sleep well.
People get stressed. Sometimes it's unavoidable. Or is it? There are things you can do. Attitude is one. Gratitude is another. Have you ever tried to meditate? Yoga? Go for a walk and enjoy nature? Before you give up and think you will always be stressed, try to do something about it. Sleep is also beyond important. Not everyone is capable of achieving the six to eight hours that is basically the universal standard for health, but you can try. Put away the phone and Netflix earlier.
5. You aren't trying to build muscle.
The biggest misconception about why we exercise is that it is for weight loss. The most effective weight loss strategy is eating less calories than you need. There are many reasons we should exercise. You get an endorphins rush. You feel better. You get stronger. You lose fat instead of muscle. You can become more co-ordinated. Moving more promotes blood and oxygen to move through your body. That is a good thing for you. Try not to use exercise to "burn" off the cheeseburger you ate or the drinks you are about to consume. Choose an exercise program that allows you to progressively get stronger over a period of time.
Take a look and see if any of these things apply to you. Remember, weight loss is a journey. Once you get that, you can put steps in place to help you long term. Punishing yourself in the gym and starving yourself for two weeks at a time a few times a year does absolutely zero for you.
Good luck, team, and happy summer!
Ryan Cairns is a certified personal trainer from Charlottetown. He currently resides in Sydney, Australia. Ryan's article Fit Happens is published months in The Guardian. You can reach Ryan at email@example.com or on Instagram @tattooed_pt.