Are you hitting the gym and not seeing the results you'd like? Frustrating to say the least. But don't get down, it is actually a very common problem. Many times you are not working out as hard as you think are or you could be working really hard but focused on the wrong things.
“It’s very common for people to set a fitness goal and be super-aggressive in the beginning and then lose momentum when they stop seeing continued results,” says Jimmy Minardi, personal trainer and owner of Minardi Training in East Hampton, NY, and Aspen, CO.
The biggest problem, of course, is that you may not even realize that your intensity levels are not what they used to be. So, here are 9 signs you may not be working out hard enough and some helpful advice on how to correct the situation:
1. You're never sore or tired the day after a workout.
“This happens when your body gets comfortable with your routine,” says Erin Bulvanoski, a trainer at Kore in New York City. You may be doing the same workout and using the same amount of weight when you should be mixing things up a little.
How to adjust: Once a week, grab some heavier weights. Adding a little more HIIT to your workout will help too.
2. You're not losing any weight.
“Is your body composition changing? That’s what is most important,” says Holly Rillinger, a master instructor at Flywheel in NYC. If you're not seeing a difference in the way your clothes are fitting, you've hit a stall.
How to adjust: Rillinger says to track your diet to see if you need to change anything there. If you aren't already strength training, add some weights to your workout routine to build some fat burning muscle. Otherwise, try adding a high intensity cardio workout to blast through those extra calories.
3. You barely break a sweat.
If this is the case, you are likely working at a steady state and need to add some intervals, says Minardi. “You should break a sweat when you train and should see [or feel] a spike in your heart rate,” he says. (For workouts that will make you break a sweat, check out Sweatflix℠: BodyRock On Demand ).
How to adjust: Get your heart rate up. Between your yoga poses, do some squats, or mountain climbers or push ups. Something to quicken the pulse.
4. The last rep feels hard but you could do another.
Time to add more weight. “You should barely be able to squeeze out that last rep,” says Rillinger. If you aren't sure, just try. Worst case you fail and learn where your limit is.
How to adjust: Grab free weights that are 2-4 pounds heavier than what you are used to. “It can help burn more calories, take your sculpting routine to the next level and get you results faster," says Bulvanoski.
5. You can chat with your friend throughout the workout.
This means that unless you are doing a recovery session, you're intensity isn't high enough.
How to adjust: Wear a heart rate monitor to make sure you are working out in the right zone. If you're lifting, don't put the weights down until you notice you are slipping or can't lift without shaking. Then you know you've done enough.
6. You're not getting more flexible in your yoga class.
You may not be doing your yoga consistently enough. “One yoga class here or there will not lead to increased flexibility,” says Bulvanoski.
How to adjust: Make it a point to go to the yoga studio a few times a week. When days arrive that prevent you from doing a full class, stretch at home for 10-15 minutes.
7. You run several days a week but aren't getting any faster.
You are likely doing your runs at the same pace which will not help you improve speed. “Intervals are key, and you need to add speed to your routine,” says Minardi.
How to adjust: Norwegian University of Science and Technology released a study in which they found that high intensity cardio sessions can boost your fitness by increasing your VO2 max which can translate into better performance. So, make at least one of your weekly sessions a speed workout like sprint intervals or hill repeats.
8. You're making strides in bootcamp but are always stiff and inflexible.
This means that while you may be right on the mark with your cardio and your strength training, you're skipping out on the stretching.
How to adjust: Supplement your bootcamp with Pilates, barre or yoga once a week.
9. You take the same class regularly but aren't getting any better at the exercises.
This might be because you are working with improper form. “Bad posture, not lifting your knees or keeping your body in one position throughout can have a negative impact on your results,” says Minardi.
How to adjust: Throughout class, remind yourself that form is the most important thing. Check your ego at the door. “It’s not how fast you move but how your body moves while you’re doing it,” says Minardi.
Time to be honest, do you see yourself in any of these points? Were you here in the past? How did you adjust your routine to see results?
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