Why Your Workout Is Not Working And What You Can Do About It


Published: August 20, 2014


If you have been working out regularly and are not seeing your desired results, your first instinct might be to blame your metabolism. But the reason that you aren’t seeing results might be that your routine is not a good fit for your goals. Let’s explore five reasons why this might be the case:

1. You Go For What’s Hot

It is a bad idea to go for an exercise program because it’s what the celebrities are doing or because your friend lost 10 kg doing it. Going for what’s hot is not the best way to choose a routine especially if you don’t like the activity. An example of this is if you decide to try a Zumba class but hate dancing in public. The key to an efficient workout program is being able to commit to consistency. Going for what has given somebody else results should be secondary to going for a workout routine that fits your personality and that you can stay consistent with.

The Fix:  Take some time to identify the kinds of movements and environments that you like. You can start with how you like to interact with people. If you are a social butterfly, then you will probably thrive in a group exercise setting; but if you prefer your personal space and your alone time, you might benefit from using a DVD at home.

2. You Don’t Mix It Up

Your human body is designed for maximum efficiency. This means that if you do the same routine for two months straight, your body will burn fewer calories at the end of month two than it did on the first day. Losing weight is all about burning calories, so you want to keep your body challenged by mixing up your routine from one month to the next. The same goes if you are trying to tone trouble spots. The more your muscles are challenged, the better your results will be.

The Fix: Mix up your routine. Your mix up doesn’t have to be drastic, it can be as simple as increasing your time spent or changing up a few exercises within the routine itself. Here’s an example, if your current workout is the circuit below:

  • Squats: 60 seconds
  • Basic Push Ups: 60 seconds
  • Back Lunges: 60 seconds
  • Bridge: 60 seconds
  • Rest: 30 seconds

And in the first  month you do six rounds of this for a 27 minute workout, you can mix it up for month two by doing one of the following:

  • Increase the time for each exercise to 75 seconds and keep your rest time between rounds at 30 seconds. This increases your total workout time by 6 minutes.
  • Alternatively you can keep the time the same and do a more intense modification of each exercise. Here is an example of what that would look like:
    • Jump Squats: 60 seconds
    • Stacked Foot Push Ups: 60 seconds
    • Alternating Lunges: 60 seconds
    • Marching Bridge: 60 seconds
    • Rest: 30 seconds

HIIT a Leaner Body in 15 Minutes a Day

 3. You Don’t Pay Attention to Your Eating Habits

You can only burn so many calories doing structured workouts. If you use exercise as an excuse to eat what you want while expecting results, you are fighting an uphill battle. This doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of the foods you love to get the body you want. It just means that you find creative ways to work your favorite indulgences into your daily eating patterns.

The Fix: Don’t use the fact that you exercise as an excuse to ignore your diet. Eating a healthy diet will improve the chance that you will reach your goals while giving you the energy you need to push it during your workouts. To ensure your success, make sure that you pick a diet that you can consistently stick with and one that allows your indulgences in moderation.

Easy Meal Planning for Busy Moms

4. You Don’t Give it Enough Time

You want to give any workout program at least a month to start yielding results. This particular culprit also goes hand in hand with not defining what success looks like.

The Fix: Make your workout goal SMART. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Adjustable, Realistic, and Time Bound. Making your workout goal SMART means making sure it is realistic to begin with and setting an end date to officially evaluate if it got you closer to your overall aim. Picking the right method to measure success is critical because it will help you be objective about whether your SMART goal got you closer to your aim. For instance if you are trying to lose weight, you will want check your weight. You might also want to keep track of your inches.

5. You Don’t Believe that It Can Work

Belief is very important because a lack of it can make you subconsciously sabotage your efforts. It’s not just enough for you to show up at your gym or in your exercise space everyday. You have to actually believe that the activity that you are about to do will get you where you want to go. Think about the last time you did something you didn’t believe in. Did you show up excited to do the task at hand? Did you give it your all? And did you feel good afterwards to the point that you couldn’t wait to do it again? You want to be able to answer yes to all these three questions for any exercise program that you choose.

The Fix: Sit down and honestly take stock of whether you believe in what you are currently doing for exercise. If you don’t believe in it then go back to the drawing board and pick a form of exercise that you believe in.

To give an example if you don’t believe that your yoga practice that you love can burn enough calories for you to shed the weight, you might end up killing one of your passions. An alternative would be to practice the way you love to at least once a week and do calorie-burning interval workouts for at least two sessions; this way you burn the calories you need to lose weight while engaging in an activity that you love for the sake of it.

If you saw your culprit in one of the five listed above, take some time in the next few days to explore the suggested fix or find an alternative fix that will work for you. The important thing is to identify the problem because that gets you one step closer to finding a solution.

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About Ejiro Ogenyi

EJ (Ejiroghene) is a Lifestyle Coach and owner of the Team by EJ Ogenyi LLC. She helps busy women lose weight without taking their eyes off their other priorities - their families, their careers, their wallets, and their lives. She is a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach and she enjoys bringing her skills and her experience losing weight herself to the awesome task of helping her clients create healthy lives and bodies that they absolutely love. She is also a wife and mama to a beautiful little boy.

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