Ask a Trainer: Why Am I Not Seeing Workout Results?

Your workout regimen is a marathon, not a sprint.

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One of the most frustrating parts of starting a new fitness regimen—and even one of the biggest reasons people quit working out altogether—is not seeing the results you hoped for. It can feel discouraging to commit to the challenging feat of getting in shape and feel like you’re not reaping the rewards.

“It’s easy when you start working out to want to see immediate results,” says Holly Rilinger, Nike master trainer and author. “I totally get it, and it can be super discouraging when you don’t see those results right away.”

You might be tempted to start using unhealthy weight-loss methods, like cutting all carbs or working out seven days a week, but don’t. These strategies do more harm than good and rarely result in long-term weight loss. “The research has shown us that slow and steady is best,” says Rilinger. “If you’re losing one to two pounds a week, that’s tremendous progress.”

“If you are working out and not eating right, you are not going to get to where you want to be,” says Rilinger. Eating a well-balanced diet, particularly one high in fruits, vegetables, and lean protein, might help you see the change you want to see. Learn more about what to eat before and after a workout.

If you’re working hard at the gym and you think you’re eating well, a food journal may be a useful tool. “It’s time to get honest with yourself and really take a deep dive,” says Rilinger. “Keeping a food journal is a really good way to stay accountable and really see what you’re eating.”

On the other hand, maybe your diet is top notch and it’s your workout that could use a boost. “Maybe it’s time to step it up with intensity. Take a look at how you’re using those 30 minutes every day,” says Rilinger. “If you can increase the intensity, then there’s a higher likelihood that you’re gonna lose that weight.” Learn more about finding the right workout intensity here.

“If you’re not seeing change in one to two weeks, don’t get discouraged,” says Rilinger. “This is a long game. I want you to look at this as a lifestyle. These changes you’re making are going to be part of your new life.”