Self-doubt. We’ve all had it at one time or another, some of us manage to get past it while others simply throw in the towel and quit. It’s something that goes hand in hand with any fitness plan or routine and it’s only natural to experience it. What’s important is identifying it and knowing how to overcome it. The main cause of self-doubt is simple; not seeing results. There you are, training hard and dieting even harder. It seems like you’re doing everything right and yet every time you step on the scales or look in the mirror there’s just no noticeable difference and you still see the same person staring back at you disappointedly. You might start to feel like you’re never going to see any change, like you’re simply wasting your time; putting in all that hard work and effort, and for what? Another common reaction is to try and place the blame elsewhere. To blame genetics; “I’m big boned” or “I’m an Ectomorph I can’t put on any mass”. That way you can give up and be completely guilt free. After all, it’s not your fault right? It’s just that you have bad genetics.
It’s natural to feel those feelings initially but you’re a quitter if you let them consume you. You have to overcome them. You have to see the wall and smash through it. You have to collect your thoughts, take a moment to re-evaluate your training and then go back at it with 110%. Accountability When going through self-doubt the first thing you need to do is look at yourself. Don’t blame this on genetics or other external sources. Don’t say you don’t have enough time to go to the gym, or that you can’t fight your food cravings and stick to your diet. You have to be accountable. Are you really doing everything you can? If you’re looking to lose weight then are you really not cheating on your diet? If you’re looking to put on mass then are you ensuring you never miss a meal? Are you attending every gym session? Are you giving 100%? If the answer is no to just one of those questions then you’ve discovered the problem. Remember, you get out what you put in. If you’re not really trying 100% then you can’t expect 100% results
Maybe you need to change up your diet. Remember, everyone is different. Some people react better to carbs while some would benefit from higher fats. Try changing up your macronutrient levels or your total calories. There are countless diet variations or tweaks you can make, some will work for you and others won’t. You need to learn to know your own body. If you’re not seeing the results you want then you’ve got nothing to lose right? Try changing your diet, take a new approach, it might be just the change you need to start seeing progress again!
Just like you can change your diet equally you can change your workout too. Drop sets, super sets, GVT, DTP or Y3T to name but a few of the different methods. Try researching some of these and incorporating them into your workouts. You need to change it up, keep your body guessing, hit muscles from different angles, your body needs variation!
Most self-doubt stems from not seeing progress or results. It may be that you are making progress but just a slow rate. A watched pot never boils, that statement has never been truer than in fitness and bodybuilding. When you’re looking at yourself in the mirror each day, waiting for progress, hoping huge biceps and a tiny waist are going to appear before your eyes, it can be difficult to see the slight changes in your body. For this reason it’s important to take regular photographs of yourself, maybe once a week, this allows you to sit down and compare these photos side by side and truly see if you are making progress. You can also weigh yourself daily or weekly and take measurements of your body, biceps, chest, waist, legs, etc. These give your hard factual numbers to go from and you may see changes here which you may not have noticed with a mirror and the naked eye.
Time and Consistency
Time and consistency go hand in hand. With consistency results will come in time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. You can’t expect to lose a couple of stone in a week, or put on a few pounds of muscle overnight. These things take time; you’re trying to change your body, your entire physique. Have patience, don’t get disheartened because you don’t see the results just yet, they will come in time. But you need to ensure you’re consistently training and consistently sticking to your diet.
Motivation and Inspiration
Another two topics that are closely related and vitally crucial are motivation and inspiration. When you’re not seeing results and the self-doubt is creeping in it can be hard to feel motivated to continue. Try looking at how far you’ve come already. The results you’ve made thus far. Believe that you can do it again and make further progress and achieve more results in the future. You’ve done it once. It can definitely be done. Once you’ve done that try to finding some further motivation from somebody or something that inspires you. It could be a fitness model, an athlete or even a friend or family member. Music can be another huge motivator. Find some tracks that really make you want to train. Something with a great beat that every time you hear it you just need to get up and start moving around, start nodding your head and start lifting something heavy. One thing that never fails to motivate me is watching videos on YouTube of some of my idols working out in the gym. Seeing the levels of fitness these guys have. Seeing how far they’ve come and what they have achieved. I find it truly inspiring and it never fails to put me back on track. Self-doubt is natural. It’s something that will creep up on you from time to time. It’s unavoidable. What’s important is knowing how to overcome it and not quitting. Knowing how to stand up, hold your head high and believe that you can…no…not can….that you WILL do this!
One of my favourite quotes of all time comes from the movie Rocky, and I feel it’s very relevant for this article.
“You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it isn’t about how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward!”