Many people go to the gym in an effort to lose weight. With the hope of a smaller waist size, people pound away on the treadmill, pump weights and sometimes attempt a few fancy moves on the stability ball. Often the commitment to an exercise routine shows some benefit: stairs become easier to climb, and energy levels improve, but the weight does not come off. There are a few reasons why the scale may not budge despite regular visits to the gym.
1. The workout needs to be more challenging.
Working hard at the gym is, well, hard. Some people go through the motions of their exercises without really putting in the effort. Others spend too much time at the water fountain and too little time doing squats.
Simply put, the harder you work the more calories you burn. The more calories you burn, the quicker you will trim your waistline and expose your six pack. Have fun at the gym, but make sure to focus on your exercises and challenge yourself to make the most of your workout.
2. The workout does not change.
Many people enjoy routine. Some routines, such as getting to the gym regularly are a good thing. However, by spending every workout on the bike for thirty minutes followed by a quick trip through the weight machine circuit, people may miss the opportunity to improve their fitness level and shed weight.
While any exercise is still better than no exercise, doing the same thing over and over again will lead to a plateau. The body adapts quickly to routine and becomes efficient at performing the exercises. The result: fewer calories burned, no increase in muscle tone, and boredom. To keep progressing, a fitness routine must change!
To change a fitness routine try different cardio exercises and vary the intensity. Adding in new strength exercises will challenge muscles in different ways. Joining a group exercise class (one that changes the workout regularly) or working with a creative personal trainer are great ways to add variety to a workout. Not only is variety great for the body, it is more fun!
3. The diet needs to change.
Even the most challenging and varied exercise program cannot compensate for poor eating habits. Some people eat healthier when they exercise, while others use going to the gym as a reason to allow extra indulgences. The problem is compounded if one relies on the calorie counter on cardio machines to track calories burned. Machines such as the elliptical trainer can grossly overestimate calories burned. The result is a frustrating plateau in weight loss, or even weight gain.
A food journal is an awesome tool to keep your diet in check. Make sure you read labels to get an idea of which foods to enjoy regularly, and which to enjoy as an occasional treat. As tasty as that chocolate chip cookie may be, it may not be worth the twenty minutes of interval training it takes to burn off!
Tanja Shaw is the owner of Ascend Fitness Inc., a private training studio. Tanja and her team of expert fitness professionals work to inspire and educate Chilliwack residents to make positive and power changes in their lives through physical fitness and sound nutrition. For more fitness tips go to www.ascendfitnesscoaching.com.