It’s a common complaint and one of the main reasons people give up on exercise: a lack of results. And who can blame them? No one wants to pour their heart and soul into a workout routine that doesn’t live up to its promises. Television, magazines, and the Internet are full of weight loss advice and success stories, promises of quick weight loss that is guaranteed to last. You’ve followed the advice so why doesn’t it work for you?
Before throwing in the towel and giving up on exercise all together, you may want to take a closer look at your overall fitness plan. There may be something missing or off balance.
Read on to learn some of the most common reasons people don’t see the fitness results they hoped for.
You make exercise a priority and get to the gym almost every day. That’s awesome!
Unfortunately, dedicated workouts don’t always make up for the rest of the day you spend sitting around. Maybe you have a job that doesn’t require much movement then when you get home you’re exhausted and veg on the couch until bed.
In addition to your workouts each day, make it your ambition to stay active on and off throughout your entire day. This is what an active lifestyle is all about. Every hour, get up and walk around for a few minutes and take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk on your lunch break. Choose the farthest parking spot. Wear a fitness tracker to motivate you to take more steps. You get the idea – get moving and stay moving. Don’t over think this.
An hour of exercise each day won’t make up for poor diet choices. Take a close look at your eating habits to see if you’re making any of the following mistakes:
1. You find yourself enjoying large portions or treats because you had a tough workout. It’s easy to overestimate the number of calories you burned on the treadmill. It’s all about burning calories, not just merely replacing them.
2. You’re overeating healthy foods. Nuts, whole grains, avocados, and dark chocolate are all good for you, but only in moderation because of their high calorie content.
3. You’re stuck in the habit of worrying about grams of fat rather than number of calories. Pay close attention to how much added sugar you consume rather than how much fat. That’s what will get you.
4. You’re being misled by food labels that claim to be healthy because they’re ‘fat-free’ or ‘low in sodium’. In your quest to see results, avoid highly processed foods and focus on eating a diet high in fiber and protein.
Many people experience a stall in weight loss because they do the same workout day in and day out. They jump on the treadmill and put in their half hour. While any exercise is better than none, it’s common to experience a plateau in weight loss as your body adjusts to its new norm. Avoid this pitfall by changing things up every few weeks. Instead of your normal 20-minute jog, try a completely new type of exercise. Your muscles will have to work differently or harder to keep up and you’ll begin to see results again.
Your workouts may be consistent, but if you’re not challenging yourself you may not see the results you hoped for. Weight loss and fitness gains take not only time but effort as well. Many people are unsure whether their workouts are tough enough. Here are a few ways to tell you’re at the right intensity: your breathing makes it difficult to carry on a conversation, you’re sweating a good amount, and your heart rate is reaching its target heart rate zone. If you notice these three things aren’t happening during your workouts, it’s time to increase the intensity.
Did you know over-training could lead to lack of results? That’s right—training excessively can actually work against you. So, ask your trainer if you’re pushing it too hard too often and adjust accordingly.
Jack Wheeler is a personal trainer and the owner of 360 Fitness in Red Deer.