First, give yourself some credit, getting to the gym is sometimes the toughest step. Most people who don’t exercise regularly have excuses like lack of time in their schedules or nonexistent motivation. If you’re showing up, you’ve already conquered half the challenge. When you’re putting in the effort and not getting results, though, it can be frustrating. Working hard day-in and day-out while regularly monitoring your progress can be encouraging when you see results, but even the best athletes hit plateaus from time to time.
Everyone’s fitness goals are unique, but there are some common reasons why people find themselves stuck in a rut. The good news? If any of these reasons are holding you back, you can start making changes today to get your results back on track.
1. Not Setting Specific Fitness Goals
If you’re diligent about working out, or even if you’re just getting started going to the gym, you should have fitness goals in mind. Otherwise, what are you working toward? How will you know when you’ve accomplished a milestone in your progress?
It’s important to set goals and measure your progress. Your fitness goals should be S.M.A.R.T., meaning specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. An example of a specific, measurable goal could be to run a 5K in 16 weeks, or deadlift 10 repetitions with 50 pounds in three months.
Measuring your progress allows you to stay motivated, on track, and adjust your plan as you go. This may be as simple as stepping on the scale if your goal is to lose weight. If your fitness goals include a specific type of workout or weight to lift, you could also perform a baseline workout to test your capacity first starting out, then measure your progress at weekly, biweekly, or monthly intervals to see if you are getting results—whether that means faster, more toned, or stronger.
Technology makes it easy to set goals and measure your progress. Lots of smartphone fitness apps, smartwatches, and other devices let you track your nutrition, your heart rate during workouts, even the quality of your sleep. The EōS Fitness mobile app allows you to review your check-in history and workouts you’ve logged.
2. Not Switching Up Your Workout Routine
While it’s great to have a workout routine that keeps you motivated, a routine can be your enemy when it comes to getting results. Not varying your workouts can be another reason you’re not seeing (or feeling) results. If you do the same workout for too long, your body will eventually adapt and reach a plateau. Changing intensity, weights, and duration are minor adjustments you can make that will challenge your body, hit each muscle group, and keep you working harder.
Focusing on new muscle groups, different types of exercises, and completely new activities can also improve your results. If you’re trying to shed pounds, cardio alone won’t cut it. Try incorporating bodyweight movements or weightlifting into your workout routine at least twice a week. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest.
3. Ignoring Nutrition
According to The New England Journal of Medicine, nutrition has a significant impact on weight loss, and the combination of diet and exercise contributes greatly to your physical function, lean body mass, and strength. What you eat is key to getting results—losing weight, toning up, and gaining muscle mass. Start by following at least one of these healthy habits:
- Limit consumption of prepackaged foods
- Watch portion sizes
- Eat lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, beans, and lentils
- Drink water (Betr Health recommends drinking half your bodyweight in ounces each day, up to a max of 90 ounces)
If just the thought of meal planning is overwhelming, start with something simple, like drinking enough water. Starting your day off with a glass of water can energize you and possibly even put a damper on unhealthy food cravings. To keep the goal of drinking more water specific and measurable, and not intimidate yourself before even getting started, try setting a goal of 8 glasses of water each day for one week
4. Not Prioritizing Rest
Working out at the gym puts your body under mechanical and metabolic stress, and your body requires rest to adapt to and recover from these stresses, while building muscle in the process. The American Council on Exercise suggests taking one rest day every seven to 10 days. If you’re just getting started in your exercise program or workout routine, give yourself two or three rest days a week to begin with, and adjust to less as your body adapts to your new lifestyle. If you still want to move your body on rest days, try “active recovery,” and incorporate exercises such as walking or low-intensity yoga.
Getting enough sleep is also important for your fitness goals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends at least seven hours per day for adults. Lack of sleep cannot only slow down your metabolism, but it can also leave you with too little energy during the day to fully challenge yourself during your workout. Establishing a relaxing bedtime ritual, leaving electronics outside the bedroom, and stopping caffeine intake after 2 PM are all easy ways to help improve your sleep habits.
Remember, Beyonce Wasn’t Built in a Day
When you’re not getting results from your workouts, it can be frustrating. It takes time to make physical changes to your body. Set S.M.A.R.T. fitness goals and give yourself at least 3 months to see results.
If you need extra help, consider working with a Personal Trainer. At EōS Fitness, your Personal Trainer will help you set individualized fitness goals and design a monthly workout calendar with details on exactly what you need to do between sessions to see the best results possible.
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