You’re working hard at the gym, gutting out another routine, but you’re not seeing any progress. Wonder why? You might be making some mistakes.
But mistakes can be corrected, and that’s why we’ve put together this list of reasons why you may not be losing weight, even though you’re working up a big sweat:
1) Always Doing the Same Workout
“People often fall into the trap of hitting the treadmill for 30 minutes every time they work out,” says Rachel Cosgrove, owner of Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, Calif. “It works at first, but then your body starts to adjust to the routine, and you burn fewer calories.” To keep seeing results, change one workout factor like intensity or duration every trip to the gym, then completely switch your activity every three to four weeks.
If you can watch some TV during your workout, you’re already not working hard enough. Instead of relaxing while you run, try some interval training. After a five- to six-minute warm-up on a cardio machine, work as hard as you can for one minute, then reduce the intensity for two minutes. Alternate back and forth for five rounds, making sure to increase the number of intervals you do each workout.
3) Holding the Treadmill Handlebars
When your arms take your body weight off your legs, you burn fewer calories. “If you have to hold on or lean, go slower,” says Cosgrove. Supporting yourself without assistance gives you a better core workout as well. And don’t ratchet up the incline too high—you’re just wasting time if you’re holding on for dear life.
4) Not Using the Incline on the Treadmill
Look, you’re probably better off going for a run around the block or your local park, but if that’s not an option, then make sure you’re at least using some incline on the treadmill, which will better simulate the effects of going for a run outside and increase the demand on your glutes and hamstrings. About 1%–2% is a good benchmark for running outside, depending on your treadmill.
You don’t need to sip sports drinks all afternoon, then eat an energy bar at the gym, and then follow that up with a post-workout shake. Instead, limit yourself to about 300 calories right before your sweat session—the same number you burn in an average 30-minute workout. Any more and you’re not going to get thinner.