Two Reasons Why You Think Your Athletic Performance Is Suffering (And Why You Might Be Wrong)

Posted on: 31 August 2015

If a personal trainer is guiding you towards your fitness goals, you know that your weight and your speed can both serve as helpful indicators of your overall progress. When you gain weight or your running times slow, however, you may wonder whether or not your results are reflecting your hard work. 

Even though weight gain and slower times can both indicate diminished fitness, this is not always the case. Here is why.

You Gained Weight

If you hired a personal trainer to help you accomplish weight loss goals, you will initially balk if the number on the scale does not budge, or worse still, is increasing. If you are giving your weight loss a truthfully solid try by shaping up your diet, learning about portion control, and sticking to your exercise regimen, then seeing yourself gain weight can be exasperating. Do not give up! Believe it or not, you are still shedding fat even though the number on the scale is increasing. 

No, it is not a paradox. Solid muscle is dense, so a pound of it will take up a lot less space than a pound of fat, which is soft and lumpy. Your scale cannot tell the difference, however, so if you lose five pounds of fat but build five pounds of muscle, the number staring back at you will be the same. You will, however, notice that your clothes are getting looser, your body feels firmer, and your physique is looking good.

The Exception. Before you simply assume that you are gaining muscle and losing fat, make an objective assessment of your commitment to your weight loss. If you are not counting your calories properly, are constantly skipping workouts, or consuming too much sodium, the extra bulk may be fat or water weight instead of muscle.

Your Times Have Slowed

Regardless of whether running is your sport of choice or you run just to improve your performance in other sports, you expect to improve your times. That first personal record and those steadily decreasing mile or sprint times are gratifying testimonials to all of the work that you have put in. If you notice your times starting to worsen, however, all of that progress can feel all for naught.

If you notice this phenomenon creeping on during the summer months, you may be getting faster even though your times say otherwise. The optimal temperature for running performance is a cool 50 degrees. As the temperature rises, you are less likely to perform at your best. As a matter of fact, hotter temperatures can increase your time by as much as 20 percent! 

As long as you continue training, your fitness levels will not diminish, even if your times say otherwise. Your toughness will reward you once the cooler temperatures return.

The Exception: Your times can also suffer if you are over-training. If you push your body beyond what it is currently capable of doing, your muscles will not have the opportunity to recover. As a result, your performance will suffer. Talk to your personal trainer if you suspect this may be the cause of your slowed speeds; you may need to back off of the intensity for a few weeks.

To learn more, contact a company like Superior Strengthening Systems.