You got all the gear. You signed up for a gym or fitness studio classes. You've set your alarm every morning and actually gotten up when it goes off. You've put the work in, but you're still not seeing the results you should be celebrating by now. What gives?
While it can all feel like a cruel joke when your hard work isn't paying off, it turns out there are a few tough-but-true reasons that all your gym time isn't giving you the body you want. Here, trainers weigh in to drop some knowledge about what's going awry, and how to fix it.
You're stuck in the "after this, we're getting _____" trap.
This phrase is everywhere these days: "After this, we're getting pizza." "After this, we're getting tacos." And even "After this, we're getting margaritas."
While it's tempting to reward yourself with food after a hard workout (and sometimes it's the only thing that gets you to the gym in the first place), it's not always the best strategy.
"You've earned the right to refuel your body," says trainer Brandi Kupchella to Popsugar, but that's about it. "You've worked so hard to achieve a higher level of fitness, to lose weight, to feel good about yourself. And yet you sabotage it, sometimes daily, by rewarding your workouts with food."
While it may seem innocuous at first to reward yourself with a massive plate of pasta or a greasy burger, it's not a path to a healthy relationship with food. "It's time we stepped back from food. Instead of it becoming a reward system, it should be a means to an end," Kupchella says.
You avoid leg day like the plague.
We all have the muscle groups we like working on, and then some that we'd rather forget about... forever.
According to trainer Pauline Nordin, a common problem is skipping muscle groups. "You choose your favorite muscle groups and then fail to do the ones you don't enjoy doing, usually by procrastinating them into Sunday," Nordin tells Muscle and Fitness. Sure, it happens, but the problem occurs when Monday rolls around and you fall into the same pattern, "resulting in complete lack of stimulation of your weak spots for weeks," she says.
You don't challenge yourself, so you don't change.
You may love your weekly hot yoga class with the one teacher who makes you laugh, or you may have just fallen into a pattern of doing the same machines at the gym over and over. Routine can be great, but it can also be your ticket to looking exactly the same month after month.
"We tend to get comfortable with what we're good at, but the body does a damn good job at adapting to whatever stress we place upon it," says strength coach Tony Gentilcore to Men's Health. "When you ask your body to move in ways it hasn't moved before, you challenge your muscles in new ways and stimulate muscle growth," but if you do the same reps with the same weights day after day, your body isn't being challenged anymore and it stays the same.
You fall for workout 'trends'.
On the flip-side, flitting from workout to workout with wild abandon isn't doing you any favors, either.
"If you lift one week, run another, and ‘switch things up’ whenever possible with your ClassPass membership, you’re not sticking with any one workout for enough time for your body to actually adapt to it by building muscle or gaining strength," says celebrity trainer Mike Donavanik to What's Good.
Start with a clear picture of your goals and build your workout week around that, focusing the majority of your days on whatever your intended result is. After doing this for a while and beginning to see results, you can switch it up and move onto a second weekly plan. You'll know it's no longer serving you when your body becomes accustomed to doing the same workout again and again.