Working out and not seeing any results can be incredibly frustrating! Whether you’re trying to lose weight, tone up or just get stronger, this post can help you identify the reason or reasons you’re not getting the results you want. Learn the top 7 things that sabotage your fitness and weight loss success and what you can do to address it.
1. Your nutrition isn’t on point.
2. You’re not consistent in your workouts.
3. You don’t have any goals & benchmarks to track + measure progress.
4. Your workouts are too hard or too easy.
5. You’re under-training or over-training.
6. You’re not following your plan as written.
7. You don’t have a plan.
- NUTRITION: You can not out-train a bad diet. Read that again. If your diet is eh, your results will be eh. Your results with any workout program will be 100% correlated to your nutrition. There’s a few factors involved. (HOW MUCH YOU’RE EATING) : Excessive caloric intake = weight gain. Excessive caloric restriction = slowed weight loss. Severe calorie restriction causes metabolic down regulation, meaning your metabolism literally slows itself down – or “down-regulates” – so that your body can perform tasks with less energy. Metabolic down regulation results in slowed weight loss and low energy levels. Excessive calorie restriction also triggers excessive cortisol production. Excessive cortisol, which is a stress/survival hormone, promotes fat storage (particularly abdominal fat storage), making it harder to lose weight. (WHAT YOU’RE EATING) : If you’re consuming calories within an appropriate range for your goals, the next place to look is the nutrition profile of the foods you’re consuming. [FACT: Most people think if they just get a handle on HOW MUCH they’re eating, that WHAT they’re eating doesn’t matter THAT much, but FALSE.] If you’re not getting the right Macros (macronutrients – protein, fat, carbs), protein in particular, your body will be unable to build and/or preserve lean mass, resulting in excess fat storage. If you’re eating processed “foods” that aren’t even real food (mostly everything in a box or package) your digestive system will be impaired. This impacts how your body is able to use (or store) the foods that you put in.
- CONSISTENCY: The best workout plan there is and ever will be is consistency. So often I hear “I used to workout all the time and never saw any results.” To which I ask, what is “all the time?” Specifically, “How many days a week were you training?” And “What did your training schedule look like?” The responses vary but they mostly all translate to “I don’t know exactly” or “It varied”. So here’s the deal. You could pick 4 exercises and practice consistently and you would undoubtedly get fitter and stronger in those movements. Conversely, you could have the most intelligently designed workout plan known to man but only workout sporadically and never make a bit of progress. Progressive overload (making things more challenging) is imperative to seeing results & you can’t build on previous accomplishments and go heavier, faster and/or longer if you’re not consistent with your routine and allow too much time to lapse in between sessions.
- GOALS: When I say that a lack of goals and benchmarks to measure progress will impair results, I’m not just referring to “PRODUCT” goals and benchmarks. (The “product” goals are the end result goals – such as lose 20 lbs or fit into a size 2 and the “product” benchmarks could be 5 lbs of weight loss, 10 lbs of weight loss, etc.) What I’m referring to are “PROCESS” goals and benchmarks. “Process” goals are the things that you must do to reach the “Product” goal, such as strength train 3x a week. Your process goals matter 10,000 x more than your product goals. Why? If you hit your process goals the product goals will come INEVITABLY. A product goal may provide some temporary motivation but it’s just a dream without a plan. Many people have fitness and weight loss goals. So what? The thing that separates those who achieve their fitness goals from those who don’t isn’t that the former had a weight loss goal and the latter didn’t. It’s the steps they took to reach it. In addition to process goals, having benchmarks to measure your progress (such as being able to complete a certain # of reps for a given exercise) will ensure that you are actually progressing. If you don’t know how many reps/sets of a given exercise you can do today, how will you know when you’ve gotten stronger and need to increase the intensity? How will you know when to stop doing reps for that particular exercise? When it starts to burn? When you get tired? Your mind will tell you you’re done long before your body runs out of juice. The only way to know that you’re pushing yourself hard enough is to have a way to measure it. Furthermore, visual progress is HIGHLY motivating. Tracking process goals and benchmarks can show you that you ARE making progress, even if you don’t physically see it yet. This is huge because some people give up right before the magic happens simply because they couldn’t yet see what was happening behind the scenes.
- INTENSITY: You’re set up for failure if your workouts fall into either of these categories. This is one of the biggest reasons why you see some people have such great success stories with popular fitness programs while others don’t. It comes down to individual differences. For most fixed programs the level of intensity/complexity is ideal for about 1/3 of the population, but too easy or too difficult for the other 2/3rds. This can also be a huge factor for those who are consistently working out & still aren’t seeing results. If your workouts aren’t challenging enough you won’t provide the body with a stimulus to change (use fat for fuel, build lean mass, etc.). If your workouts are too challenging your form on particular exercises will be compromised – rendering those exercises less effective. And if you’re struggling to perform exercises correctly (or wasting time just trying to figure out how to do them) you won’t be able to complete the workout as written – rendering the workout less effective. If you push yourself to complete it anyway, your recovery time will be excessive, which means the time before you can workout again, or more importantly workout again at maximal effort again, is delayed – rendering the entire workout plan less effective. See where this is going?
- FREQUENCY: Under-training or Over-training in general and in relation to specific muscle groups will greatly hamper your success. Your results are directly related to your overall training effort (energy expenditure). And your training effort is directly related to your recovery. For optimal results you want to give your body enough time to recover and adapt, but not so long that it returns to its former baseline. This is what happens when you don’t train often enough. When you train too often, your muscles don’t adequately recover. This diminishes your energy output, which diminishes your results. In addition, this keeps your body in a constant state of inflammation. Exercise creates micro damage to muscles, almost like little tiny tears. When our body repairs these tears, the muscle is now slightly stronger than before. When we overtrain, we prevent the completion of this crucial repair process and stall our progress. More is not always better. Like anything in life, if your don’t do enough you don’t really accomplish a whole lot, and if you try to do too much you don’t really accomplish a whole lot either.
- FOLLOWING YOUR PLAN: This means ALL parts of your plan. Everything from your training schedule down to your rest times. Everything in a well designed plan is structured in a specific way for a specific reason, down to your rest times. If you don’t rest long enough between sets, your effort is diminished, which once again equals diminished returns. If you rest too long in between sets, it’s not as challenging (requires less effort) which again equals diminished returns. Occasional adjustments are sometimes necessary but too many adjustments and the plan just isn’t as effective and can’t work as designed, because science.
- HAVING A PLAN: Now why would you need a plan when there are trainers (including myself) flooding your feed with live & sample workouts? Please refer to the topic of this post: RESULTS. If you’re very self-motivated and your goal is just to stay active during this time, then finding and/or attending workouts online is a GREAT way to do that. However, that’s not the best strategy if you’re looking to sculpt your body. That doesn’t mean these aren’t great workouts. It means it’s not a comprehensive, strategic plan. Here’s a few reasons why…First off #’s 1-5 of this list may (probably) apply to you and you have no clue whether they do or not. Many people burnout from lack of results stemming from one or more of these issues that a plan could easily address. Next, let’s talk motivation. There were no shortage of free workouts to be found online prior to Quarantine. Did that abundance of free workouts actually motivate you to do them? That’s what I thought. What about convenience? Do all these live workout classes fit perfectly with your schedule? How about effectiveness? Sadly, some people are out here doing 20 minute wine bottle arm workouts consisting of lateral raises and tricep kickbacks (isolated movements) when they’d get way more out 5 minutes and 3 sets of max rep pushups (Compound movement). Everyones talking about how sore they are (which is an indication of mechanical stress only) or how much they’ve sweat (an indication of cardio-respiratory effort) as an indicator of an effective workout. Mechanical stress is but one factor in strength training, so soreness is a poor qualifier for effectiveness. And strength training is totally superior to cardio for fat loss. If your heart is pounding and you’re short of breath the entire time then you’re basically doing cardio, which doesn’t improve your body composition. And how about that progress thing we talked about? How will you know if you’re making progress? How will you make progress if you’re always doing different exercises? What about support and accountability? Who’s cheering you on or running the race alongside you? And the list goes on of workout components that can also affect your results, such as a proper warm-up and post stretch protocol. Will you be hoping for the best when it comes to these items?
This is not a an exhaustive list but this is THE MOST COMMON, and hence the best place to start. No, this is not a substitute for medical advice. Yes, there can be other underlying reasons why you’re not losing weight. But all of the reasons listed above will impact your ability to lose weight whether you do or don’t, so it just doesn’t make much sense to go down a gluten allergy rabbit hole if you haven’t seen a green vegetable in months. Now before moms all over the world band together to attack me, let me say loudly – YES, Gluten allergies/sensitivities are REAL. I’m not saying you should be unconcerned with this. I am sensitive to gluten! I bloat to the point I look pregnant – no exaggeration! But my point is this: I can remove all gluten from my diet and that will positively impact my digestive system and ability to lose weight, no doubt. But if I’m still over or under eating, if I’m still not getting enough protein, if I’m still not getting enough vegetables and if I’m still putting “foods” in my body that will also negatively affect my digestive system, overall I’m really no better off than I was before. You need to start with, and address the basics.
If you want results & this sounds like a lot to figure out, I can help. In addition to 1-on-1 online personal training plans, I’m currently running an 8 week challenge starting on May 4th. This is not a custom workout program with 1-on-1 support like what you would get from one of my Online Personal Training plans, because for $9.99 a week I can’t afford to do that for each person – BUT – here’s what I have done/will be doing to help ensure everyone can still kick reasons #1-5 out the door and be successful with this challenge:
- Every challenge participant will receive the BOSSFIT Nutrition Guide which will teach you how to calculate your calorie and protein needs, how to make your plate to ensure you’re eating for your goals, as well as examples/resources for meal planning. It also features a grocery store list, protein cheat sheet and some basic clean eating recipes to get you started. In addition, you can track your nutrition with FitBit (for free, no device needed) which integrates with your training app. From your training app dashboard you can view your nutrition progress alongside your workout progress in one place.
- To help you stay consistent, you’ll receive reminders for all your workouts AND your workouts will already be scheduled on your calendar within the app. I’ve also made the challenge affordable enough that most everyone can’t find at least 1 person to participate with them! << Highly reccommend.
- Your process goals will already be built into your program – i.e. strength train 3 x a week and you’ll have a built in workout tracker to log each workout and track your rep #’s for every exercise.
- Since I’ll be unable to customize each program individually, I’ll be posting videos throughout each phase of the challenge in which I’ll be demonstrating exercise regressions & progressions (easier or more challenging alternatives) that will allow YOU to make specific tweaks based upon YOUR personal needs, ensuring you’re challenged just enough but not too much.
- This one’s easy – just follow your plan. Workout and rest accordingly. Boom, done.