Exercise is great.
I love it and it’s why it’s part of my career. Many times, I hear frustration from people who go to the gym but aren’t seeing the results that they want. It’s not always as simple as spending 30 minutes on the elliptical or throwing around a pair of dumbbells. Here are some of the biggest reasons you’re not seeing results from your workouts.
As I mentioned in this post, what you eat outside of the gym or studio is tremendously important.
Simply because you’re exercising doesn’t mean that you are able to eat indiscriminately because you’re burning more calories. At first you will notice changes, but unless you change the way you eat, you’ll soon level off or even gain weight.
If you can, consult with a dietitian or nutritionist to get a good idea of what you should be eating each day based on your activity level. If not, make sure you are getting enough protein, carbs, and fats throughout your day. There isn’t a one-size-fits all ratio to follow, so at least start out with eating lean protein (chicken, fish, etc.), healthy fats (avocado, nut butters), and as many vegetables and greens as you can. Do some research online to see what might be best for you to do.
I don’t like to count calories, but I do like to eat whole, unprocessed foods as often as I can (which isn’t always!). The more real food you eat, the better you will feel.
2. Type of exercise
The results you want may not be aligned with the types of workouts you are doing.
If you’re looking to build strength, having a majority of your workouts be cardio isn’t going to help that. On the other hand, if you’re looking to lose weight, you’ll need to do workouts that increase your heart rate, which both cardio and strength training will do. Going to a barre class 5 days a week may make muscles you didn’t know you had sore, but it won’t help you with any significant amount of weight loss.
Think about what your goals are and do some research on what the best workouts are for achieving those. Don’t know? Shoot me an email or leave a comment below!
Exercise is good, but there’s always too much of a good thing. Not allowing your body time to rest can actually impeded your progress and lead to things like injuries and illness.
Make sure you are allowing yourself at least 1-2 days of rest per week. Your muscles need time to repair themselves after breaking down in your workouts. Make sure to drink plenty of water. If you still feel like moving, do a restorative class like deep stretching or yoga.
4. You’re impatient
It would be great if we could lose weight or gain strength as quickly as we can gain weight. Sadly, it takes longer to do both of those than it does to gain a few extra pounds from eating everything unhealthy that we love.
Results take time. Trust me when I say I am one of the biggest immediate gratification junkies there are. “I worked out 6 days last week, why can I not throw this boulder over my head or fit into last year’s jeans?”
Impatience can go one of two ways — one, you don’t see results quickly enough and simply give up. Two, you’re so impatient for improvement that you don’t take the time to build basics and incrementally improve. To address giving up: you have to understand that this is a marathon. It’s not something you do for two weeks and are done. It’s a lifestyle and it’s going to take time. Work on your acceptance of that and you’ll be in a better mindset to continue.
To those of you who skip things like learning balance, correct form on basic movements like squats and push-ups, and try to use weights that are inappropriate for your fitness level — slow it down. Working with improper form is going to eventually lead to injuries, as will working with weights that are too heavy. Make sure you use weights and do moves that challenge you, but don’t kill you. Once you’ve mastered the basics, consider adding or increasing the weight you’re using while still maintaining proper form.
5. You’re not challenging yourself
To piggyback off the previous point, you can also become stuck in a comfort zone that feels good to you, but isn’t doing much for your muscles. Performing the same exercise routine for months will cause your muscles to adapt and you’ll fail to see changes. In order to keep your muscles guessing, you need to try different moves or different workouts. Increase the 5 lb. weights you’ve been using for 6 months. Pick up some 8 lbs.
The only way to jump start your system is to get yourself out of that comfort zone. Find ways to move your body differently and with different stressors.