The correct answer to the following questions is the one that people hate to hear.
What is the best way to lose weight?
How can I get bigger?
The answer: It depends
There are so many factors that go into whether or not someone will see success from a program. Remember the first step though- it has to be a program that you are actually going to complete.
Your teachers since kindergarten have been telling you that everyone is unique, special, etc. and when it comes to fitness, it’s true.
No two people are wired exactly the same. This means that it is highly unlikely that two people are going to get the exact same gains from the same program.
The fitness industry thrives on marketing. The experts are able to create a BS product that guarantees “X” pound weight loss. It sounds too good to be true because it is.
Social media has also been a great thing but at the same time some things on there are really scary.
The point that I am trying to make is that you cannot just assume the same results someone else got from a program. If this were the case in school, everyone would get the same grades on a test. You all had the same class, teacher, and book so why doesn’t everyone get a 97 if someone was capable of it?
Nutrition can make or break training
One of the hardest things people have to wrap their head around is the idea that most overweight people do not eat enough food. Huh?
Very often I will ask clients what they ate in the day. Sometimes the answer is uh…. Other times the answer is something that resembles the diet of a small squirrel.
A few times, high school athletes told me that they ate a pop tart before training. Not even a pack, 1 single pop tart.
I am going to ignore the fact that there is little nutritional quality to a pop tart and focus simply on the lack of overall food. Your body can barely operate without food, let alone get a training effect.
The hard reality is that the majority of people need to eat more food in general by eating more fruits, vegetables, meats, etc. and eating less processed/prepared foods.
When it comes to results in the gym, someone who barely eats is not going to reap the benefits of someone that eats well. Muscles require carbs, fats, proteins, and water in some capacity. Depriving yourself of nutrients is going to stunt progress.
Metabolism seems to be the whipping boy for poor results in the gym, but are people allowing their metabolism to succeed?
Your body needs food and water, give it what it needs.
Stress is insanely influential on progress
Everyone experiences stress in everyday life. Even if you feel as though you can separate life from the gym, it affects your body’s ability to perform.
Lack of sleep, work stress, home stress, and poor nutrition can all tax the body negatively. When training in a stressed state it is important to scale the workout back.
Going hard all the time can really fry your system and exacerbate stress outside of the gym.
You can still train, but high levels of stress affect your nervous system. On days where work is hectic, you probably are not going to break any PR’s.
I know exercise is stress relief for most, but it is OK to hold back when you are not there mentally. You might go all out in the gym but then your productivity at work or at home can suffer.
There are actually systems out there that read your stress levels and therefore determine how hard you are going to train that day.
One person who is stressed out bad is not going to get the gains as someone more relaxed. They should also not push themselves as hard as the other person for the risk of mental anguish becomes heightened.
These people can still work hard for the state that they’re in but it should be eased back and recognized that the same gains as someone else are not accessible.
Your training history is going to have a large impact
Sorry long time gym goers, but the noob is always going to get better results from a program. Beginner/ novice clients can get a lot of benefits from any program. They are like a sponge, they will absorb whatever demands are placed on them.
The more experience you have, the harder the gains are to reach.
This is hard for most people to accept because they may lose 20 pounds doing a certain program. After a while the gains will stop which can be frustrating. Meanwhile, the new guy over there is just packing on the strength.
People may swear that a certain program got them results and they get confused when the results stop. More experienced gym goers need more experienced programming.
These are just three of the 4,458,511 reasons that training is not one size fits all. Each person is different and their training needs to reflect that.
The best thing that you can do is worry about your own program. Do not get bent out of shape with celebrity stories or social media. Commit to a program and do not judge yourself against others.
All you can do is train smart, monitor your nutrition, and manage stress to meet your goals.
Be an individual in the gym and maybe people will start following what you are doing. Even if it is the new guy who is flexing his tribal tattoo in the mirror.