I want to take a minute to talk about what it means for a workout to be “working out”. Sometimes you get discouraged, think you are not reaching your goals, and conclude “the workout isn’t working’. Here are a few morsels to mull over for you. There is so much to consider and so much to this debate, and I get easily carried away, but I’ll try to keep it brief.
The workout is working, maybe just not as fast as you hoped. To be honest, there is no over-night way. Things take time. And think about goal setting. Good goals are measurable and reasonable and have a fixed date. They can also have milestones along the way. Decide what your exact goal is, by when you want to attain that goal, and if there are milestones, what they are and when. And lastly, most importantly, make sure your goal is reasonable, actually attainable.
Interestingly, most of the time, we hear “this workout isn’t working” when the goal is related to weight loss. We don’t hear this when the goal is Being Healthier, Being Stronger, Being Fitter, Being Happier, Feeling Better; only when the goal is weight loss, which is often a way to express wanting to be skinnier. Often, it’s not about the number of pounds or kilos on the scale, it’s about what that translates to in looks. And this is where the crux is. This is what bugs me the most.
Weight and looks don’t translate directly. Sure, they’re related, but the truth still remains that fat is lighter than muscle. So two people with the same size, one with a higher body fat index than the other, will weigh very differently. They will also look very differently in their posture, and in how they carry themselves. And I would bet money they both feel very differently.
I want to say: “Throw out your scale!” because it drives me mad seeing how many women have themselves in this headlock of thinking that their pounds define their body image. That one single number, which isn’t even constant in a single day, by the way, has such power over them. Divorce weight from looks, and most importantly divorce it from your wellbeing and self-worth. There is so much more to “weight loss”: In inches, how is your body changing? Not just your waistline, but also your butt, your thighs, your chest, your arms, etc. – all of you. How do you look in the mirror? How do you feel in your body?
I want to bet you when you work out regularly you will feel better and look better, even in a completely unquantifiable way other than that you *look* and *feel* better. And happier! And isn’t that ultimately the goal of becoming thinner aka losing weight? We haven’t even touched on health benefits yet…
Every body is different. And I don’t mean that in a “we’re all unique individuals” kind of way, but quite exactly every physical body is a bit different. Your body might react differently from what you expect, or from what others have described in what sounds like “the same situation”. Or even what you have experienced at a different time in your life. You change, your body does too. So back to the part where I said the workout might be working, but not as fast as you think. It could be that your body is reacting a bit more slowly than what you read somewhere or what someone said you should experience or simply than what you expected. On top of that, there are a number of factors that play into you reaching your weight loss goal. There’s what you eat, there’s how much sleep you get, how much TV you watch, how sedentary you live your life, how your mind works in all of this.
Then there’s one more thing, which brings us back to the workout itself: how much you actually put into your workout. Showing up and carrying out the motions is not enough. You’ve got to come in and go all out, give everything and push yourself a little past your own comfort zone. It’s proven that the mind gives up thinking you’ve spent everything before muscles are exhausted. So you can always push a little more. Raise your own bar. And do it every single time.
This workout is working. You are working it. The workout is not a separated entity outside of you. It’s you doing the work. So come in, give it your all and a wee bit more and start looking at the big picture! You’ll see.
- Steffi and Phil