People often struggle to understand that when it comes to losing weight (fat), or gaining weight (muscle), just as there’ll be weeks where you drop inches, pounds, look noticeably leaner (if your attempting to lose weight), or gain inches, pounds, and look noticeably more muscular (if your attempting to gain weight), there will also be weeks where you don’t.
This doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It doesn’t mean you’ve let yourself, or anyone else down. People stop and start diets, training programmes, exercise classes etc way too often because they get demotivated when they have a ‘bad’ week, or don’t see the results they hoped to. Of course, that feeling of not progressing can be demoralising, but if we can understand why, then it will mean the situation is more manageable, and will hopefully not result in people ditching their exercise regimes and diets.
Not seeing progress also doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing something wrong either, It most probably (in most situations i’ve seen) mean’s you’ve stuck to the plan you’re following for long enough to hit a plateau (which means you’ve also made progress). When this happens you should feel good that your bodies adapted to the stimulus placed upon it, and then consider slightly altering your approach to progress further.
For example, if someone starts running 1 mile, three times a week, initially they will likely see improvements in their running fitness, and body composition (dependent on other factors such as diet etc). After 2-3 weeks of doing this they won’t see much progress, if any, because their body does not feel stressed by a 1 mile run anymore. It’s adapted. This rule applies to all types of training, not just running.
A person in this situation has a few options to alter their plan to progress:
– Run further (volume)
– Run more (frequency)
– Run faster (intensity)
– Complete an additional and different type of training session (weight session, circuits, etc)
– And more…
Any of these options would stress the persons body more than before resulting in… PROGRESS! This is called progressive overload. Continually overloading (working the body harder than it has previously) the body so it continues to progress.
The picture below sums up my point.
To conclude: If you have a week where you don’t progress as you had intended or hoped for, firstly, don’t beat yourself up or think you’re a failure. Secondly, analyse what you’ve been doing and alter it, as most likely it’s because you have hit a plateau.