Gaining muscle can be an extremely slow process. At times I think glaciers progress faster than we do, and they are just about the slowest moving object on the planet. As the cliché saying goes, “Rome was not built in a day.” Although this saying tends to be overused quite often, the underlying principle remains true. Each time we workout, we make ourselves that much better. Look at your body like a savings account. Each time you work out, you make a deposit. Some workouts are great, and you might deposit a dollar, while other workouts might not be that great and you only can muster a few pennies. Now, a few pennies may not sound like much but pennies do add up over a lifetime. The goal each time should be to make some kind of progress. That progress could be as simple as increasing the weight on a single exercise, finding a better mind muscle connection, or even correcting your form slightly on a major lift. Each of these three things will help you make larger deposits in the long run.
Look at most top natural bodybuilders out there right now. More often than not, they have been lifting for well over a decade. For the entirety of their careers they have been making regular deposits. Whether they were only able to deposit a penny or a dollar, they kept on making deposits. Far too often do newer competitors expect to look like a top tier professional in a short amount of time. They then try to look for shortcuts, which unfortunately there are none. All that can be done is putting in years of consistent hard work to get to that point.
In addition to building muscle, losing weight can also be one of the most frustrating processes a person can go through. On some days the scale is your best friend, and on other days, you want to smash it with a hammer. Unfortunately, weight loss is not always linear. One week someone might lose 2 pounds, and the next week, they might gain a pound back. After seeing this happen, many people make the mistake of cutting their calories too quickly, or upping their cardio much too fast. If you were to step back from this situation and look at it as a whole, that person’s overall bodyweight is still down one pound from where it was before.
Just like gaining muscle, losing weight requires constant effort. Those that desire to lose weight have to be diligent with their diet not just during the week, but also on the weekends. Many people fall into the cycle of being very strict during the week, and then slip-up on the weekends. Then, this leads to them making more restrictions during the next week, and then to another slip-up the following weekend. The cycle continues. In order to break this endless cycle, people have to learn to trust the process. If they are sticking to their diet as closely as possible, doing their cardio, and crushing their workouts to their fullest potential, that is all they can ask for. If in fact their weight were to stall for a week or two, then they should make a small change to their program. Sometimes a small change is just the stimulus the body needs in order to lose more fat.
When it comes to gaining muscle and losing fat, slow and steady does in fact win the race. Sure we might like to get quicker results, but you have to keep your goal your goal. Understand that gaining 20 pounds of muscle will most likely not happen in a few years, it might take a solid decade or more of constant effort. Losing 50 pounds might take an entire year or more for some people. Remember each time you work out, do cardio, or log another day on your diet that you are depositing into that savings account. One day in the near future, you will be able to reap the benefits off all those workouts, those hours of cardio, and being strict on your diet. Then you will be able to look back and realize that you were making progress that whole time, whether you realized it or not. Never give up, and trust in yourself. You have more will power and determination that you think you have. Trust and enjoy the process.