We live in a fast-paced world with a “quick fix” mentality. This carries over into the fitness world as well.
When injuries occur or pain develops, we want to be better “yesterday” or we want the “quick fix” solution to the problem.
When we want to lose weight or gain muscle, we want the changes to be immediate.
When dealing with health issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or type 2 diabetes, we are given medications to “fix” the problem.
Unfortunately, this is not how the body works. It takes time to heal, time to make body composition changes, and time to get things under control properly. In this fast paced, quick gratification world we live it, it is a time to be patient!
Dealing with injuries or pain
First off, body tissues just need a certain amount of time to heal. If not given the appropriate amount of healing time, the risk of exacerbating the injury, prolonging the injury, or injuring something else due to compensations is high.
Secondly, the longer you have been dealing with the issue, ignoring the discomfort and instead training through the pain, the longer it will take to get back to 100%. For example, if you ignore a tendinitis, which is an inflammation in the tendon, it becomes a tendinosis, which is a breakdown of the tendon. That that continue for a long period and the issue compounds. The more damage done to the tissues internally, the longer it takes to repair that damage.
And last, but not least, the longer your deal with issues, the more compensations your body has made, and the more issues the body has that need to be corrected to get you back to 100%. This is a very common problem, as most people think their pain will just “go away” on its own. By the time you decide to get the “issue” addressed, you are now dealing with 5 issues rather than the one. Naturally, the more issues/areas of pain the body is dealing with, the longer it takes to address all of them.
Changing body composition…losing fat and/or gaining muscle
Can we lose fat quickly? In theory, yes. But that is not a safe or healthy way to lose it. And if we use methods to drop weight quickly, these are usually the methods that are not sustainable, causing the weight to be put back on quickly again afterward. As I heard on a podcast, “We don’t have a weight loss problem, we have a weight maintenance problem,” and I feel that is 100% correct!
To lose fat, gain muscle, and be able to maintain your goal body composition once you get there, you need to do things in a manner that is safe, healthy, and sustainable. Meaning, you need to work on changing habits from the beginning that you can turn into a new lifestyle for you. This process takes time, as habits and lifestyle changes are not made overnight.
To put things into perspective, safe weight loss is 2-3 pounds per week. Along with that, muscle mass changes will not be seen for a couple weeks (at a minimum) once the nutrition changes have started. This is why the process can be a frustratingly slow one when you want to see results NOW.
Something else to keep in mind during the process is not to focus on the number on the scale. As you continue to train, lose fat and gain muscle, the number on the scale may not change. This is because muscle weighs more than fat does; is leaner and denser. What I suggest is pay attention to how your close is fitting. If it is beginning to get looser, than you are on the right track.
Remember the discipline, time, and training it has taken you to get to where you are now with your sport (regardless of what sport you are involved in). Dealing with other areas, including injuries and body composition changes is no different. Patience and time is key!
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