“I’ve been working out for three years. I only gained 5 Kilos of muscles and still have some fat on my body. I work out a lot and l exercise always, l am not sure what l am doing wrong? I want to gain more muscles and get lean. Can you help me please? Also some of my friends asked me to ask you when you’re coming to Jordan?”
Thanks Mr. Mishal,
It’s really nice to see your question in my email box specially from Jordan, a country l cherish enormously. Getting back to your question. You probably wonder what you are doing differently from others around you at the gym? You workout several times a week. You try to eat relatively healthy. Yet that guy on the treadmill next to you always seems to be in much better shape. He doesn’t work out any harder than you. If you find yourself in this situation, it is a good possibility that you have fallen victim to one of the many deeply rooted misconceptions related to exercise and nutrition.
MISTAKE # 1: MORE TRAINING IS BETTER.
After you get caught up in the flow of a regular workout schedule, it doesn’t take long until the positive effects begin to have an influence on your state of mind. Your energy levels rise, your self-esteem grows, and the muscle definition starts to become more noticeable as you look in the bathroom mirror, The satisfaction you gain from completing another successful workout can soon lead to addiction like behavior. Like any other addict, you increase the frequency. For the first few months. It was three days a week for thirty minute sessions. Now, you’re hitting the gym five times a week for two hours at a time. The common train of thought is, “if a little is good, a lot must be better.” Well, it is definitely possible for this train of thought to backfire and result in a condition called overtraining syndrome (OTS). In most cases the primary cause of OTS is inadequate rest and recovery. It is imperative that you give your muscles time to recover between workouts. Otherwise, you are beating your body down and it won’t be able to battle common, health stealing microbes and perform at it’s peak. If you might be suffering from this condition, the best think you can do is give your body time off from training (a few days should suffice). Rest is the only real cure for overtraining. Better yet, stop overtraining syndrome before it happens, be sure to give your muscles one full day of recovery after intense exercise. For example, if you work your biceps on Monday, don’t work them again until Wednesday.
MISTAKE # 2: EXERCISE CAN MAKE UP FOR A POOR DIET
Many people under the assumption that since they work out multiple times a week, they are allowed to eat whatever they want because they are going to burn it off at the gym anyway. Sorry, but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. While a steady amount of physical activity may be able to mask some of the effects of a poor diet, it won’t completely cancel out the excessive fat and calories. Most people don’t realize how easy it is to consume 1,000 calories, and how difficult it is to burn that same number of calories off. A thousand calories sound a lot… and it is. Consuming this amount of energy from nothing but fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other healthy snacks would take a large amount of food, but with the temptation of fast food restaurants now everywhere in Amman, high calorie packaged goods, and overwhelming portion sizes, taking in 1,000 calorie in a single meal is much easier than you think. For instance, l am sure you know the Big Mac and a medium fries from McDonald’s, stacks up 1,040 calories, and that doesn’t even include a beverage. The truth is that many people aren’t aware of the amount of calories that they are ingesting. We need to become better educated about the calorie content of our favorite foods. Let’s take some common activities as examples. Riding a stationary bike is a popular cardiovascular exercise, and at a moderate pace it would take nearly tow hours for a 175 pound person to burn 1,000 calories. A tad bit more than the standard thirty minutes you usually spend riding the bike at your local gym, right? At a 10-minute mile pace, a 200 pound individual would need to maintain that rate for an hour to cancel out 1,000 calories, a difficult task for someone who is not in the best of shape. As you see, burning 1,000 calories isn’t exactly a walk in the park, literally. It takes a considerable amount of effort. And, if you consume 1,000 calories over what you body needs to maintain a healthy weight, you will need to put forth that much more effort to rid of the extra baggage.
MISTAKE # 3: YOU GROW WHILE YOU ARE WORKING OUT.
When does muscle growth occur? If you said during workout, you’re wrong! While performing the exercise, you are actually tearing and breaking down your muscles, making them weaker. The muscle grow and increase in strength occurs during the rest period. Therefore, if you don’t allow enough time to recover, you are running the risk of developing OTS and severely limiting your body potential for growth. You can spend two hours at the gym day in and day out, but if you aren’t letting your muscles fully recover between sessions, then all of that hard work will do more harm than good. A more effective plan would be to cut down the amount of time you spend at the gym, and reinvest that time into eating healthy meals and getting quality sleep. Wouldn’t you rather build muscle eating or sleeping than spend another hour at the gym anyway? Don’t get me wrong. The work you put in at the gym is important, but rest and recovery is just as valuable. To make most out of your time in between trips to the gym, you should be consuming meals rich in protein and complex carbohydrates and low in fat and processed carbohydrates. “These products can be found at, http://www.usadiamondnutrition.com.” In addition, aim for at least seven hours sleep each night. If for one reason or another you weren’t able to get a full seven hours, try to sneak in a short nap during the day.
MISTAKE # 4: DRASTICALLY REDUCING CALORIES WILL CAUSE ME TO LOSE WEIGHT FASTER.
This misconception is probably the most common of all. When it comes time to lose weight, the first step that pops into your mind is to keep calories intake to an absolute minimum. If you want to drop some weight, this is not the way to go. The human body is a complex system and unfortunately it will take a little more effort to outsmart it and drop that excess weight. After drastically reducing caloric intake, the body senses that it isn’t receiving an adequate amount of energy and nutrients. In response to the significant nutritional cutback, the body slows down its metabolism to conserve the food that it is receiving. For this reason, many individuals are still unsuccessful in their attempts to lose weight. Worse yet, you can lose highly metabolic lean muscle from doing this! A better approach would be to gradually reduce calories over an extended period of time. The dietary adjustment won’t be as drastic; therefore the body won’t produce the same reaction. If you have been working out on a steady basis and trying to keep a close eye on what you eat, but you still can’t achieve the physical appearance you desire, then take a careful look at your lifestyle to see if you are committing one of these common mistakes. One (or more) could be all that is standing in the way of gaining a firm grasp on your fitness goals. Lastly, l am shooting for May, 2013 to visit Jordan.
Hope that l answered your question fully and completely.