One question that comes up ALL the time in the health and fitness world is this- "WHY am I not getting the results I want when I've been working out like crazy???" This can be true for both weight loss, increased muscle tone/mass, or performance. Here are two possible answers for you to consider, and I'm pretty sure they may not be what you're expecting. 1) You may have a genetic SNP** ("snip") or genetic variation that makes you more resistant to resistance training. One way this may put a wrench in your plans is that your muscle fibers break down more easily and/or more inflammation is produced than is typical. This results in excessive microtrauma to the muscle tissue (we want a little of this to force adaptation to build strength) and/or a longer recovery time.
Could this be you? You may notice that you are sore for much longer than the "normal" 24-72 hours of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) after a strength-training workout. This may also contribute to more frequent injuries related to your exercise regimen. Because of the excessive inflammation produced, you might feel excessive fatigue- particularly a little later in the day after your workout, increased fluid retention, brain fog, more aches and pains than usual or any number of symptoms driven by higher inflammation levels. What to do? If you generally don't feel energized and nourished after a workout, particularly a targeted, intense strength training routine, you might consider lowering your resistance and upping your reps. Initially, you may require more rest days between these workouts and increased focus on sleep and nutrition as you make the transition. (**Not sure what a SNP is? Check out a great explanation here: https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/genomicresearch/snp ) 2) You've surpassed your threshold for how much exercise your body can tolerate, sometimes referred to as your metabolic tipping point. I think about it like this- you enter a zone of overtraining very easily. You don't need to be an elite level athlete to overtrain, which can lead to weight gain, reduced performance, energy depletion, increased muscle soreness, longer recovery times, frequent colds and illnesses, more injuries or poor recovery from injuries, and even the loss of your period. This idea can explain why some women can run multiple marathons and actually GAIN weight during their training.
Is this you? You may have similar symptoms as described above- achy muscles and joints, fluid retention, weight gain, brain fog, fatigue- particularly after exercising, etc. You're also likely dealing with one or more things that lower your threshold for exercise such as illness, stress, poor quality or lack of sleep, inflammation, poor diet or a diet that is contributing to higher inflammation levels in your body, autoimmunity, HPA axis dysregulation, where you're at in your menstrual cycle, or even emotional or spiritual disconnection or unfulfillment. Any source or type of stress has the potential to lower your exercise tolerance and cause your body to react differently to your workouts- even if you've done the same workout before and felt great! What to do? Back off your exercise intensity or frequency in some way. Build in more restorative (read- gentle) movement. Try to boost any areas in your life that feel undernourished or overly stressful. If you're feeling a lot of these symptoms or any symptom intensely, you may need to lay off your usual exercise routine all together at first and slowly reintroduce movement as you are able. Instead focus on those things that need to be addressed to build yourself back up. Sometimes less really IS more! Your exercise routine should be as unique as you are. Therefore, don't be afraid to shake it up and try new things. You're not the same person you were last week or last year, and certainly not last decade! Do either of these possible solutions resonate with you?? Let me know!