Have you been working your butt off, but you’re just not getting results you expected? I know how frustrating it can be to put your heart and soul into something, but feel like your efforts are useless. Well, if that’s how you’re feeling right about now DO NOT GIVE UP!!
Your efforts are not useless, it may just be a matter of refocusing your energy. Check out 4 major reasons below that might be the reason you aren’t seeing those results you’re after.
Reason #1: Lack of Progression
When many people begin a fitness journey they resort to what they know. Maybe it’s 20 minutes on the treadmill, 3 times a week. And at first, this might be a real challenge!
But as the weeks forge on, you’ll find that the workout itself is becoming easier. And that’s a great thing because it means you’re in better shape than when you started. However, if you want to continue making progress, you’ll need to apply the principle of progressive overload to your workout.
Progressive overload is a gradual increase in stress placed on the body during exercise. Basically, that just means as your fitness level improves, you continue to make your workouts slightly harder.
This is important because as your body adapts to your workouts, it gets stronger. As it gets stronger, if you continue to challenge your fitness by completing slightly harder workouts- you will continue to improve and see better results. Makes sense, right?
So what does progressive overload look like? It can take many forms:
Increase the weight you’re lifting during your resistance training sessions. The weight you’re working with should always feel like a challenge, especially on the last few reps. But, it shouldn’t be so hard that you sacrifice good form, or can’t complete your sets.
If your usual route is getting too easy, consider adding extra distance to your workout. Don’t be afraid to alternate periods of rest or slower cardio with your normal pace to get started. Continue to decrease your periods of rest or slower pace throughout your future workouts, until you can complete your normal pace at this new distance!
Consider increasing your pace or the incline of your workout. If you’re indoors, bump up that speed or incline on the treadmill, or resistance settings on other cardio machines. If you’re outdoors, try to run the same course you usually run but faster. OR, go find a hilly area to run in.
Consider increasing the number of sets or reps you’re doing during your exercise (just don’t increase both at once).
Less Rest Between Sets
Decreasing the rest between sets will make your workout more intense!
Find harder exercises or harder variations of the exercises that you are doing now to really challenge your strength and fitness.
Reason #2: Lack of Variety
We’re all busy. Often this means a sacrifice of variety in our fitness routines. I can’t tell you how many people I know who want to lose weight and stick to hopping on the treadmill in the morning or afternoon. Or, walkers and runners training for 5Ks or Half Marathons who just do the cardio training and never add in any strength training.
This is a huge mistake! What many people don’t realize is adding strength training will make a huge difference to their performance and the results that they’re seeing.
First off, strength training will increase your metabolism and keep you burning more calories throughout the day, even at rest. Strength training will increase your fitness level. It will challenge your muscles by putting more stress on them, and they will adapt and become stronger. This strength will improve your performance in your cardio workouts and races. Enjoy an increase in bone density, and balance, reducing the risk of danger from Osteoporosis. Finally, strength training will help you to achieve a tight and toned appearance by increasing your lean muscle mass and decreasing fat deposits.
Similarly, for those who tend to ignore the cardio aspect of fitness- you are missing out on some great benefits as well. Some of which include a stronger heart, lungs, and fitness level- all of which decrease the risk of diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Cardio also assists with burning calories which will help with losing weight and maintaining a healthy body weight. Finally, experience daily life activities with greater ease.
Reason #3: Not Working Hard Enough
Okay, if you are genuinely working your butt off this probably isn’t you. But, that being said, I’ve gone through many periods of my life where I’m committed to making a change- losing a little weight, getting toned up for bikini season, increasing strength. And I’ll decide on a program to do to get me there…but I just kind of half-ass it. Then at the end, I wonder- hey I did the program, so why am I not seeing any results?
It’s easy to get into the trap of thinking, just because you’re doing a program you’re going to see results. Well, that’s just not the case.
And if you’re being honest with yourself, you know what’s going to get you the results you’re looking for- and hard work is one of the requirements. No, if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. But hard work doesn’t always have to be an unenjoyable experience. In fact, you might even come to enjoy it even more than slacking off because you will love the results that your hard work brings.
And if you’re not sure if you’re working hard enough or not- take advantage of the PK effort score. Your effort score is a great resource when it comes to checking how hard you are working. Check your effort score periodically throughout your workout to determine if you’re working out at the intensity you hoped to be- and if not, amp it up!!
Reason #4: Poor Diet
Have you ever heard abs are made in the kitchen? Well, it’s true! If you’ve been working hard at the gym and seeing no results- you need to look into your diet. Energy balance (calories in vs. calories out) is key whether your goal is to lose weight, maintain weight, or even gain weight.
If your diet is not looking too good these days, or you have no idea if you’re eating too much/too little- it’s time to make a change! So if this is you, what should you do?
Clean up Your Diet
Clean up that diet! I can’t stress enough the importance of clean eating. The nutrients that you’re fueling your body with will directly affect how you feel, and the efficiency of your body during exercise. Plus your insides will be so much happier on a healthy diet- clear skin, decrease in inflammation, healthy bones, muscles, organs, digestive system, hair, nails. You’ll find you have more energy, you’ll feel full off fewer calories, have stronger mental health, and increased productivity- amongst many other benefits!
Try to emphasize lean protein (chicken, turkey, bison, tofu, soy, eggs), a variety of fruits and vegetables (emphasis on green and leafy), whole grains (brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, oats, barley, farro, soba, buckwheat, etc.), healthy fats (avocado, nuts and seeds, olive oil and other vegetable oils) as well as low-fat, low-sugar dairy (such as plain Greek yogurt, low-fat cheese, or low-fat milk, or non-dairy options when possible).
Another huge part to having a clean diet is minimizing sources of sugar that often come from sugary drinks (sodas, juices, flavored coffee and tea drinks, alcohol), candy, cakes, pastries, and doughnuts. These things may feel hard to cut or live without at first. But after a week or two without them, you might find you enjoy their healthier counterparts even more.
Some healthier alternatives might include, plain coffee (a splash of low fat, almond, or soy milk can help the bitter taste), plain black tea with a squeeze of lemon, or sparkling water. Low-carb alcohol drinks like wine, or a vodka soda with lime. For healthier desserts at night consider a few squares of dark chocolate, plain greek yogurt, fresh fruit, or whole wheat toast with peanut butter.
If a particular weight goal is what you’re after- then I highly recommend paying attention to your calorie balance. Most people hate the thought of counting calories. However, counting for just a few weeks can really make a difference. It might especially change your perspective on what you’re eating and your portion sizes. Then, continue to apply what you learn to your lifestyle long after you stop counting.
Hope this helps you guys get back on track to getting results! Thanks for reading.