10 Reasons Your Hard Work Isn’t Paying Off

You work hard at the gym nearly every day, huffing and puffing on the treadmill, your spin class, or your favorite bootcamp routine – and yet nothing is happening. You’re not losing weight, you’re not gaining muscle, and you look no different than when you started exercising.

You’re not alone! Many women go through the same frustrations as you do  – but fret not. You have tosit down and really look at what you are doing (or not doing) and make adjustments. Here are the top 10 reasons why you are not seeing results and how you can fix them.

1. Doing the same workout routine.

Do you do the same thing day in and day out or stick to such a strict routine that you do not even waiver from your spot in class? The problem with doing the same thing all the time is that your body gets so used to it that it no longer has to work hard, which means your body will not be going through any changes. Rather than sticking with the same classes or machines over and over, vary your cardiovascular exercises so your body will wake up from its exercise-boredom coma.

2. Weight lifting is not part of your routine.

If you are neglecting weight lifting, then you are missing out on the most important part of body transformation. While cardio is good for heart health and losing weight, lifting weights is good for turning your body into a lean, mean, muscle machine. In fact, weight lifting is actually more effective than you think. If you are lifting heavy weights where reaching eight reps is almost impossible, your body will be burning calories for hours after you are done. You do not get that same benefit from doing cardiovascular exercise. Once you are done running, that is it. So start picking up some weights and lift!

3. You are just cruising along – where’s the challenge?

Do you always set your treadmill on the same speed and incline? Do you always use the same weight for your chest presses? If you do, then you are not giving your body a challenge that it desperately needs in order to see results. Start adding sprint intervals to those jogs or using heavier weights for those presses. It’s okay if you cannot run for long or can’t lift as many reps — that is good. Your body is being challenged which means it will have to work harder!

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4. Your eating habits have not changed.

Let’s face it — you can work out like an Olympic athlete, but if you go home and gorge on pizza, pasta and cake, all that hard work was for nothing. Exercising is not a license to eat whatever you want. Be mindful of what you are eating throughout the day including those little bits of your kids’ leftover food. Every bite adds up! Also know that eating healthy doesn’t mean sacrificing taste. There are plenty of delicious, full-flavor recipes that are mindful of calories, fat, carbs and more.

5. Your drinking habits have not changed either.

Just like food, what you drink can also have an impact on seeing results. Your favorite café mocha may be like heaven to drink, but it is probably packed with lots of sugar and carbohydrates. Some juices, smoothies, flavored teas, and coffees have many calories along with the added sugar and carbs. Enjoy them at your own risk or opt for something better like black coffee, herbal tea or lemon water.

6. You are always stressed.

Your emotional health can also take a toll on your physical health. If you are constantly stressing over everything, your body releases too much cortisol, a hormone that regulates stress. When you are under a lot of stress, your body reacts negatively to it. A decrease in muscle tissue, blood sugar imbalances, and increased abdominal fat can all result from constant high levels of stress.

7. You don’t get enough sleep.

As with stress, if you are not sleeping enough, cortisol levels will be higher than they should. Make sure to go to bed at the same time every night whenever possible and wake up at the same time. You should get at least seven quality hours of sleep. Create an environment that is conducive to a good night’s sleep like turning off your electronic devices (including your TV and smartphone) and/or playing soothing music.

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8. Your food may not be as healthy as you think.

There are a lot of healthy options when it comes to food, but there is also a lot of confusion. Some labels claim foods are natural or healthy, but they really are not. As a result, you’re not eating as healthy as you think you are. Become an avid label reader and read the ingredients first. If the ingredient list is a paragraph long, you would be wise to skip it and find something better. Foods should be mostly natural, unprocessed, and have minimal ingredients.

9. Are you staying hydrated?

It is just as important to stay hydrated as it is to eat right. Drinking water throughout the day will not only help your digestive system and flush things out (so to speak), but it will also help keep hunger in check. More often than not, those hunger pangs are really a cry for some hydration.

10. You need rest days.

Believe it or not, you need at least one day off from exercise each week. Your body needs time to recover, and the only chance it gets to do that is when it is not engaged in any physical activity. Gains are made during the recovery process and not when you are actually doing the work. So let your body do what it needs to give itself a break!

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