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despite all your efforts...

You eat health and you get a fair amount of exercise during the week. Sometimes, you take long walks and sometimes you play a pick-up game of ultimate frisbee with friends. Despite all your efforts of dieting and exercising, you still haven't meet your goals of performance, health, fitness, etc. You're doing everything you should, so what is the problem? If mediocre is all you want or good enough seems just fine to you, then you give up. Really, there's so much more the health and wellness than diet and exercise. There are plenty things that can thwart your efforts.

Number one on my list is sleep. Some people, like Robb Wolf, rank sleep above all else. Apparently, we humans need a lot of it.You ever feel like you do the exercises you need and eat as clean as possible, but you still are not happy with your performance? Check your sleep. There's a good chance that both quality and quantity are suffering. I try getting more sleep before opting to take a performance enhancing supplement or diet aid. One typical recommendation is to make your sleepy place void of all things light. I wake up to an alarm clock, but I keep it covered so the light is blocked. I keep my cell phone in it's case and turn off the screen. I leave anything charging in a place that hides the visible light. If you can put all these things somewhere else outside your bedroom, even better.

I also keep a hawk's eye on my recovery. Full rest days are days away from the gym workouts.  I may get on the foam roller and stretch out, but there is no working out on this day. For active recovery, I'll do more a different sport/activity at a lower intensity. Since I spend most of my time Crossfitting, I may use some low intensity tri workouts as an active recovery. I also have other sports I participate in to change up the routine. Whatever it is, I like to keep it outdoors if possible. It breaks the association of the gym as the only place for working out. It also exposes me to natural sunlight and helps with vitamin D production. In the wintertime, if you freeze easy like me, just make do with what you can. Recovery gives your body time to repair from all your perfect exercising. If you're pushing your limits in the gym, you should feel the need for this rest day if you listen to your body. If you're listening but don't hear your body talking...

Lying hurts everyone, especially when you lie to yourself. You ever hear that person in the gym constantly wondering why he/she isn't performing like they should? This person does not know why performance is suffering when diet and exercise have been followed so perfectly. That's right - perfectly. This person may even go on to blame problems on the diet and exercise routine being followed. Do you keep an honest diet and exercise log? Detailed and honest logs will help you figure out if you've been lying to yourself. If you look back at your food log and see you've cheated on your diet 50% of the time or slacked off on weights during a workout, you're "that" person. If you have not kept an honest journal, you should probably not be saying you follow anything perfectly. And I say honest because I've seen people opt to not put things in a journal because they just had a "bite" of cake or just one small cupcake. It doesn't count because it wasn't really a meal. Hmmm. LIARS!!

Really, there are so many reasons why diet and exercise are not helping you get to where you want to be. Are you taking drugs that alter your body's chemistry (big one for the ladies)? Do the supplements you take have any other ingredients that may be counter to your goals? Is there a significant amount of stress in your life? There are too many questions with answers that can lead to resolution. There are helpful ideas to find an answer. A good journal, an adequate understanding of what you consume, knowledge of family medical history, and an honest outlook on your lifestyle could help pinpoint potential roadblocks. If you're experiencing some hiccups, don't give up. Take a step back and get to some good old fashion problem solving.
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