4 reasons you might not be seeing the results you want
By: Dr. Payton Busker, PT, DPT
Raise your hand if you’ve been in this scenario:
You have recently become super motivated to “get in shape”. You begin working out constantly and restrict your eating severely. You try to stick with this intense, restrictive schedule for *insert 30, 45, 60 days here*. You tell yourself “I can do anything for 30 days”. However, when that magical day comes at the end of this time period, you not only feel burnt out, but you do not see a tangible change in muscle growth. So you give up until the next bout of motivation kicks in (and the aches and pains calm down)!
Cut to me raising my hand!! I don’t think I can count the number of times I have gone through this cycle. Enter, Evlo!!
In this post, I will break down the 4 reasons you might not be seeing the results/muscle growth you desire and ways that Evlo addresses each and every one
It is human nature to want FAST results. Like, right now. Especially in America, we equate fast with better almost always. We are willing to grind ourselves into the ground for a finite period of time if that means we can look a certain way.
Unfortunately, true muscle growth and sustainable results don’t work this way.
Depending on the type of programming you’re coming from or your history of injuries, it might even take months to climb back up to a baseline (a.k.a. not seeing visual results at all). However, if you’re doing a program that focuses on sustainable programming and results, your joints should be feeling great and your stress levels might be significantly reduced at this time.
Once you’ve demonstrated to your brain that you no longer need to be in survival mode, you can begin effectively building muscle mass. As mentioned in previous posts, building muscle is very metabolically expensive. So your body will not begin this process until it is out of a constant state of fight-or-flight.
One of the big reasons why we don’t see the results we are looking for is because we don’t give our bodies enough time to do so! Long-lasting results take a true time commitment, not a 30 day promise of “the body you’ve always wanted”. Stick with it, friends!!
With Evlo, 3, 4, and 5X/week tracks are offered to encourage gentle consistency. We recommend that you show up to your mat meeting yourself exactly where you are each day. Only have 30% to give on a Monday? Bring that 30%!! You may surprise yourself and show up with 100% the very next day.
Gentle consistency wins over intense inconsistency every. time.
2. Overusing your muscles
Although we have great intentions when we go into these bouts of intense physical activity, we often set ourselves back in the long run.
This can rear its ugly head in the form of overuse. Overuse can occur from working the same muscle group multiple days in a row or from a systemic build up of inflammation from over training in general.
Targeting a muscle via strength training is a catabolic process. This means that we get a breakdown of the muscle tissue temporarily. This is NORMAL and should occur in order to eventually gain both strength and muscle hypertrophy. This becomes problematic and counter to muscle growth when adequate time is not provided for re-growth of the broken down tissue, sending you into a loop of inflammation.
This “time” is provided through both set rest days and intentional programming. Every Evlo tract features at least 2 rest days on which we recommend gentle movement (think walking, easy bike riding, gentle yoga flow, or grabbing a Recovery Day Cardio class!).
We also program each track to ensure that a muscle group is not targeted 2 days in a row. For example, in our 5X/week track, we work legs on Mondays and will not work legs again until Thursday! This helps to achieve proper muscle recovery before the natural muscle breakdown that comes with strength training.
3. Not getting close enough to muscle failure
In order to achieve muscle hypertrophy, we need to recruit as many muscle fibers as possible in each set of an exercise. Here’s an excerpt from a previous blog post all about this:
“There are 4 muscle fiber subtypes:
- Type I (slow, fatigue resistant)
- Type IIA (fast, fatigue resistant)
- Type IIAB (fast, intermediate fatigability)
- Type IIB (fast, fatigable)
These muscle fiber types are recruited sequentially.
In order to best recruit all fiber types, an exercise should be performed between 60-90 seconds with near muscle failure achieved at the end of this time period. Practically, this feels like you could only do 1-3 more reps of that exercise once the set is finished.”
Some programs or types of workouts include exercises or weight selection that do not surpass the Type I muscle fiber threshold. Think of an exercise that you could do for well past 90 seconds. Or one that a 1-2 second break is enough to reset and get right back into the exercise for >90 seconds. This is most likely only getting to your Type I muscle fibers.
Why does this matter??
Our Type 1 muscle fibers are fairly small in size and make up only a small portion of your muscle’s overall mass. So in order to actually grow that muscle, we have to recruit not only the Type 1 fibers, but the larger Type II fibers as well!
In our Build classes, we perform exercises within this 60-90 second window! We recommend playing around with necessary external load (think dumbbells, resistance bands, etc) as well as internal resistance (think contracting the specific muscle with as much force as possible) to get close to muscle failure (remember, 1-3 reps left in the tank!) in this window of time.
4. Not eating enough protein.
Nutrition is more than half of the equation when it comes to building muscle. Again, building muscle is a difficult process that has to be supported through proper fueling. Undereating, and specifically not getting enough protein, can play a huge role in why you’re not seeing results.
Since I am NOT a nutrition expert, I defer to Functional Registered Dietitian Katherine Andrew. She created 2 different nutrition programs to support our members!!
This introductory program is the PERFECT place to start. This program includes 9 short and digestible (;)) videos to lay a solid nutrition foundation. Katherine highly recommends that every member start with these videos, regardless of your history or knowledge of nutrition. These videos are meant to be watched in succession! Of particular note, Video 9 highlights the importance of eating for muscle growth.
Once finished with the intro program, members can hop over to Katherine’s brand new program: Creating a Macro Plan!! This program is a 5-part video series that helps members successfully build a macro plan that works for them as individuals. Katherine gives two different options for tracking macros, with and without numbers, to suit these individual needs. Get ready to feel armed with the tools for success!!
If you’d like to join a sustainable program that prioritizes recovery, programming for muscle hypertrophy, and includes valuable nutrition information from a Registered Dietitian, we would LOVE to have you in Evlo. Click here for your 14-day free trial!!