It can be frustrating and depressing to work out regularly but just never see the results you’re looking for. Whether the scale won’t budge or you don’t seem to be getting any stronger, don’t let lackluster results push you into giving up! There are a few reasons your progress might be stalling out, and they’re fairly easy problems to fix.
1. You’re Not Working Hard Enough
If you’ve gotten into a routine of running an easy 3 miles on the treadmill and then calling it quits, your body may simply not be working hard enough to keep building muscle. We see this a lot with the elliptical, too — someone gets used to just using the same program three times a week and after a while, their progress tapers off and then stalls out completely.
The solution? Switch it up! Don’t rely on those old standbys. Take new, more challenging classes. Up the incline on your treadmill or choose a totally different program on your elliptical. Lift heavier weights. Just switch it up! Once your body is used to a certain workout routine, you need to work a little harder and keep your body guessing as to what challenge it will need to meet next.
2. On the Other Hand, You Might Be Working Too Hard
If the end of Spin class makes you feel like you can’t even get out of your chair for the rest of the day, that extra-tough workout may be doing more harm than good. Especially for those who take multiple classes in one day, pushing yourself too hard could lead to exhaustion, insomnia, or your body craving sugar, salt, and fat to try and “make up” the calories burned.
The solution? Get some professional advice. Schedule a consultation with a personal trainer. You don’t have to continue seeing them regularly if you don’t want to, but a professional personal trainer can take some measurements, talk to you about your current workout schedule, and work with you on designing a plan that will challenge your body without leaving you utterly exhausted at the end of the day.
3. You’re Eating Too Much Because You “Earned” It
This is one of the most common reasons that those who exercise regularly aren’t seeing results. It’s important to up your calorie intake a certain amount to deal with the extra calories being burned by regular exercise, but many workout regulars badly overestimate the calories burned by any given exercise. If you end each gym session by buying a sugar-laden smoothie from a nearby cafe, you’ll end up putting more calories into your body than the workout took out.
The solution? Eat more — carefully. We’re not going to tell you to slash those calories. What’s more important is to eat more of what you should be eating. Load up on those after-workout snacks, but instead of that sugary coffeeshop smoothie, make your own instead! Toss a banana, a tablespoon of peanut butter, a cup of milk, and some ice together in a blender. If your workout was seriously intense, adding some extra protein powder can help your muscles recover.
4. You’re Eating Too Little to Try and Force Quick Results
Workout magazines will often suggest “1200 calorie diets” that claim they can keep a fit, active, grown adult satisfied. These diet plans almost always fail. The adult human body, especially an active one that is engaged in regular exercise, simply needs more calories than that to continue building muscle. While you may lose weight, at least at first, this progress will often stall out within a few months. Trying to subsist on too little can leave you lethargic, unable to focus, and eventually simply unable to continue exercising.
The solution? Pay attention to quality, not quantity. Plan your plate to match an ideal diet – primarily vegetables, lean proteins, and some whole-grain carbohydrates, like brown rice. When you focus on eating quality food instead of cutting down your quantity, you’ll feel healthier, stronger, and more able to give your all at your next visit to the gym.
5. You’re Stressed Out
It might be completely unrelated to the gym or exercise in general. If you’re going through a stressful life situation, such as a breakup, job loss, starting a new job, or financial troubles, that stress will take a toll on your body. One of the first questions to ask yourself if you’re living with serious life-stress is how much sleep you’re getting. Once you start losing sleep, your body starts to compensate in negative ways, including holding on to every little pound and calorie.
The solution? Seek out self-care. While you may not be able to immediately fix the actual situation stressing you out, you can begin emphasizing taking care of yourself and work on finding a solution to the situations that have been causing such overwhelming stress. We recommend listening to calming music, prioritizing hobbies you enjoy, and spending quality time with family and friends.
Whether you’re new to working out regularly or an old pro, Balance Fitness is here to help you ensure that you have the best setup possible. We design and work with everything from small private home gyms to large fitness facilities, with quality equipment that’s top of the line. Learn more by giving us a call! You can reach us by phone at (650) 348-1259 for San Mateo, (408) 244-3010 for Santa Clara, or just click here to contact us online at any time.