Why Aren’t I Getting Results?

If you have added exercise to your regular routine in hopes of seeing changes in your body (whether it’s muscle growth, fat loss, or both), there are a few common pitfalls to avoid.

1- Only doing cardio. You want to include strength training in your routine. If you do it right, a good strength training session will double as a cardio session. And ladies, lifting weights will not give you big muscles.

2- Doing the same thing all the time. Our bodies adapt. So when you start an exercise program, it’s new for your body, and it packs a punch. Over time, if you keep doing the same thing in the same way, your body gets used to it and it doesn’t achieve the same results. Mix it up by changing reps, sets, weight, tempo, or what you’re doing entirely.

3- Lifting too quickly. Unless you are training for power, take your time with your reps. This stops you from using momentum to move the weight, and it also increases time under tension. (If you don’t know what training for power is, you’re not doing it.)

4- Working hard every day. Your body needs time to recover. Growth happens during the recovery phase. Do not lift the same muscle groups on consecutive days. (If you’re lifting really hard, two or even three days’ rest would be better.) If you push yourself on a hard run one day, do a lighter one (or none) the next day.

5- Treating yourself to junk to “balance out” your workout. We are notorious bad at estimating calories: typically, we underestimate what we eat and overestimate what we burn. An ice cream sundae isn’t calorically equivalent to a half-hour walk. And, if you’re trying to lose weight, you don’t want the calories to balance out anyway, right? You need to run a deficit.

Does this shed any light on trouble spots you might be having?

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Amy on 18 April 2011 at 10:56

    #2- doing the same thing all the time. I do something different every day, but the same routine every week- monday kickboxing, tuesday weight lifting, wed spinning, thurs weighs, friday boot camp, etc. would you consider that as the same thing all the time since it’s repetitive or is it okay since it’s spaced out?

    • It’s repetitive, but…

      You have two days of weight lifting in there. Are you doing the same thing on those days over time? In other words, have you changed the amount of weight you’re using, or the number of reps? Weight lifting on a regular basis isn’t inherently a problem. It’s just doing the same exact thing for weeks (or months!) that causes adaptation.

      I am guessing that your kickboxing, spin, and boot camp classes are not doing the exact same routines for every class, so even though it’s the same class, it’s not the same stuff. Does that make sense?

  2. The weight lifting is even more important as we get older as our muscle mass decreases so much over the years.

    I thought P90X was a great program because it is a mix of everything. Unfortunately, my back couldn’t survive it, but if your joints and bones are all in good shape, then it can really produce great results.

    Great post.

    • Thanks!

      If we keep up a strength training routine beginning in our 20s, we won’t lose muscle mass. But most of us don’t, so most of us do. Important also to work on balance.

      I haven’t tried P90X. From what I’ve heard, you love it or hate it.

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