Fitness Articles

8 Reasons Why Your Workout Isn't Working

Sneaky Reasons Why You're Not Getting Results

3. You haven't changed your diet.
Exercise is awesome, but if you're not eating a nutritious diet with the appropriate number of calories for weight management, you could be shooting yourself in the foot. Proper nutrition fuels your workouts, but eat too much and you could gain weight (or hurt your weight-loss efforts), and eat too little, and you won't have enough energy to exercise.
Get-Results Remedy: If you can't seem to see those muscles you're trying to build, start logging your foods to see how many calories you're eating a day. If you're regularly eating more than you should (it just takes an extra 100 calories a day to gain an extra pound a month), then try choosing lower-calorie versions of your favorite foods and slowly decreasing your caloric intake until you're at the right level! On the flip side of that, if you find that you're eating too few calories, that can also slow your metabolism and leave you drained at the gym. Find out how many calories you need to manage your weight by visiting your SparkPeople Nutrition Tracker.
4. You're only doing cardio. Yes, cardio is important for calorie burning, but a proper exercise plan includes cardio, strength training and flexibility. If you're just doing cardio, then you will be burning calories and strengthening your cardiovascular system, but you won't be really changing your body composition by building more muscle. For that you need strength training!
Get-Results Remedy: Lift weights or do body-weight exercises, such as lunges and push-ups, at least twice a week to reap the amazing benefits of resistance training; including decreased body fat, increased muscle mass and stronger bone density. For hardcore cardio fans, you can also try kettlebell training or circuit training, which is like getting a strength and cardio workout at the same time!
5. You reward yourself with food.
Do you allow yourself to have that extra piece of pizza or order that dessert when dining out because you "went to the gym" earlier? If so, you may be undoing all of that good calorie-burning with too many treats.
Get-Results Remedy: Familiarize yourself with the calorie contents of your favorite foods—and find out how many calories you're really burning through exercise. (SparkPeople's Nutrition Tracker and Fitness Tracker will help you learn!) Remember that while you may have run 3 miles at the gym, that only burned 300 calories, which isn't nearly equivalent to the calorie count in that brownie sundae you ate later. Focus on how good exercise makes you feel rather than what it allows you to eat after; and choose foods that fuel your workouts, rather than the other way around.
6. You're doing too much too soon.
Unfortunately, results don't happen overnight. It takes time and consistency to get in shape over the long haul. But how many of us decide that we're going to get in shape and then get totally gung-ho, spending hours at the gym only to find ourselves tired, sore and no thinner after a week or two?
Get-Results Remedy: Be patient. Remember that you're creating a lifestyle change that you can sustain for the rest of your life. While there's temptation to start off doing extra long and hard workouts, don't. Build up to doing those tough workouts gradually as the weeks go by. Not only will this prevent injury and give your body more time to adapt and change, it will also give your life and habits time to change—permanently!
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About The Author

Jennipher Walters Jennipher Walters
Jenn is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites, and A certified personal trainer, health coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and is the author of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet book (Random House, 2014).

See all of Jenn's articles.

Member Comments

  • Get "Burn the Fat and Feed the Muscle" by Tom Venuto. It has changed my life! Do everything he says even if you don't understand it. You will lose bodyfat, inches and change your body composition. - 11/23/2015 10:26:16 AM
    Moderate exercise is essential for health but please dont think of it as a way to lose weight
    unless you are able to really sweat for hours each week. I have found that working out in the gym increases my appetite significantly!
    Just be more active generally and stop eating so much. - 11/21/2015 3:25:06 AM
  • I was also at my wits end about weight loss. I was going to the gym regularly but nothing seemed to happen. First key was changing my diet. I am not dieting, I am just making better choices. Now that I have tweaked what is working for my body right now, I am ready to start exercising again. I talked to several trainers as well as friends that are doing well with their weight loss. Just about all of them said that making sure that your body is more flexible is what has helped them. A lot of them are incorporating yoga or pilates in their workout and having great success. I have lupus and my joints and muscles are not the strongest. I have started doing yoga as a form of strength training. I have not started seeing any results (just started) but in just a few days I have noticed that my joints and muscles don't ache as much and I am more relaxed. I am learning that as my body changes my exercise must change as well. Keep up the good work. Don't give up. Just try new things and see what works for you. It did not take a few months to get to where we are and it will take several months or maybe years to get to where we are at our best. The trick is to keep going. Slow and steady always wins the race. - 11/12/2015 10:49:04 AM
    I agree with @Lexie05. I have done everything I can think of, including seeing a nutritionist once a month since March 2015. I still stay the same weight +/- 1 pound. I'm giving it until the end of the year, and I'm just going to have to live with where I'm at right now and accept my weight for what it is. - 9/8/2015 2:46:46 PM
    There comes a time in each fitness routine when you kind of know it's not working anymore. It's like the bad boyfriend or girlfriend you don't want to break up with. You're perfectly happy with the routine, comfortable in the scenario and not looking forward to change. On the other hand, you really want to be happy but are just having a hard time moving forward. Watch this video of Tummy Tuck Surgery in Mexico -
    lY5 - 7/21/2015 7:47:37 PM
  • "I don't work hard enough." Yes, I know I don't, but that is because I can't work any harder than I already am. I have back problems, so walking for more than 15-20 is out. Treadmills are too hard on the back. So by the article's standards, I'll never lose weight because "I'm not working hard enough". Thanks a lot for the non-encouragement
    . - 5/22/2015 1:03:13 PM
  • I like many people have become frustrated about not seeing changes in weight and my clothes are tight. I bought a flex band 3 months ago and have started about 2 weeks tracking calories eaten on my fitbit app. I eat right, exercise -cardiovascular and weights at home, but I can't lose a pound in 3 months. I've lost 1/2nd on waist and hips, but pants are still snug. I am 59, but metabolism is pretty high and I never sit still very long. I do 10-17,000 steps per day, but why won't any pounds come off????

    I am not heavy, but feel better and clothes shouldn't be as snug as they are with all that I have been doing lately. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thank you - 4/19/2015 7:31:43 PM
    My biggest challenge is changing my diet. I feel like I'm hungry a large part of the day, but I know I am getting way more calories than I need. - 3/3/2015 12:17:43 PM
    Just what I needed to keep on track!. Logging and consistency in what we put in our mouths and exercise is so important. I, unfortunately work real hard for a day or two in the gym and then become unmotivated because I hurt so much.
    Thanks so much! - 11/22/2014 3:25:11 PM
    wow this was really enlightening and am happy my friend told me about your website. Everything is broken down so you can understand and follow and sooo many suggestions. Thanks for being here!!
    - 11/21/2014 6:27:36 AM
  • Good stuff, learned a lot thanks for posting this :) - 1/11/2014 4:00:59 AM
  • Ugh! - 12/12/2013 6:49:55 PM
  • I loved the information especially the part about sitting all day. Well that is my job. I am a receptionist and I sit all day. I get one break a day and that is the hour that I get for lunch. What I need to do is eat and then find me an empty office so that I can work out, which is hard since there are areas of the building that are off limits. I have been teasingly asking the finance team if they can put a treadmill or something in the budget for next year. I get told that is a good ideal but I would really like to see it happen.
    I do get out when the weather changes though but right now I am stuck just sitting during the day. One thing in my defense is that I do stay active until its time for me to go to bed. I am somewhat new to the exercise routine but now I am taking it seriously and want to do the best I can to get results. - 12/12/2013 3:30:20 PM
  • This was a very helpful article, which I really needed to read! Thanks for all the great information and tips! - 12/12/2013 12:07:12 PM
  • I agree that swapping sleep with exercise is my biggest curse. Starting today, naps are a no-no. When tired during the day I will force myself to go for a walk, jump rope or lift weights. - 11/3/2013 12:42:06 PM

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