When it comes to working out, losing weight, gaining, and getting healthy overall it is so easy to make mistakes. Especially when you are first starting out! This may be because you are unsure of what you are doing since there is so much information out there in the fitness industry. There is information that is accurate, credible, and helpful but there is also misleading and harmful information out there as well.
I know that I have made many mistakes when it comes to working out at the beginning of my personal health and fitness journey! And I have also spent countless hours in the gym, only to realize, maybe years later, that what I was doing was not progressing me towards my goals.
Therefore, I want to share with everyone 10 ways that you finally see results from your workouts! That way you can acknowledge and identify any mistakes you might be making in the gym. So that you can progressively move forward in your fitness journey without any worry, self-doubt, or misleading information holding you back!
1. Set a new and exciting goal for yourself
Research has shown that goal setting greatly increases the chances of compliance and the achievement of desired outcomes.
Of course, when it comes to working out and getting healthy people sometimes lack the motivation to start their journey. Or in other cases, people begin to lose motivation during the process of their journey and that is why they fail to accomplish their goals.
Setting new goals for your self can be that spark of self-interest inspired motivation that you just may need! Perhaps make a deal with yourself that if you complete all of your planned workouts for the week you will then buy yourself a new pair of running shoes. Or that pair of Lululemon leggings that you have been eyeing for weeks!
For me, I find that when I have a big goal or a specific deadline, I work so much harder on myself and feel 100% more motivated to accomplish what I need to get done than I do when I have no end goal in mind. This includes a booked vacation, the beginning of school, the start of a new year, etc.
When you have a set end goal in mind and stick to that goal each and every day, your desired outcome CAN happen! Know that you may have to push yourself out of your comfort zone, but you are capable of doing it! Prep your mind for change and set a new exciting goal for yourself. No matter how big or small that end goal may be to you!
2. Have your workout already planned out
Have you ever stepped into a gym and had no idea where to start? I’ve been there before too! Maybe you only have 1 hour to get in as much exercising done as you can. But what do you do to optimize your time?
A lot of people end up wasting so much valuable time in the gym because they do not have a prior plan before they workout. The process of “winging it” and randomly choosing your exercises as you go along may affect the way you feel after you finish your workout. You may not feel as accomplished afterward as you would if you had accomplished a preset plan.
Having your workout pre-planned will also demolish distractions and anxiousness, and also allow you to be as efficient as possible with your time.
Especially if you live a busy lifestyle and cannot spend hours in the gym or working out in general. You also won’t waste your time walking around the gym aimlessly and wondering what to work on next.
An example of a balanced week of workouts may look like:
Most fitness professionals and experts recommend a combination of strength training, cardio, and rest days spread throughout the week. In order to balance out your workout routine. However, everybody has different and specific goals. Decide what your goals are and have a plan of attack before you even leave to go workout. That way when you walk in you are prepared and ready to go.
- Monday: Legs (glute and quadricep focused.)
- Tuesday: Shoulders
- Wednesday: Glutes and Hamstrings
- Thursday: Upper body mix (Biceps, Triceps, Chest)
- Friday: Back
- Saturday: HIIT cardio or steady-state cardio
- Sunday: Rest day or active rest day
3. Be patient
Did you know that 73% of people who set fitness goals as their New Year’s resolutions give them up? (source).
I know how it feels when you are working so hard for something that you expect results within days. I mean, obviously, as humans, we want everything yesterday!
However, I cannot stress how important this is! If you want to make this a lifestyle change and a healthy and sustainable change that you can maintain over time then you must be patient!
You have to trust the process. But more importantly, you have to trust yourself! The results are not supposed to happen overnight or even a week, especially if you have bigger goals like wanting to lose more fat or gain more muscle. To make it a lifestyle change that is sustainable and healthy, you have to be patient and trust the process.
Think of it like this…
Say you are running a marathon, but you then realize that you are not going as fast as you had hoped you would. So, as a result, you then decide to stop halfway at the 13-mile marker and turn back around. Yet, you’re walking another 13 miles back when you could’ve just gone the same exact distance forward and finished the race.
Same goes for any goal! You have to be willing to trust yourself and the process no matter how long it takes you! You will get there, but you just have to be patient! Do not let setbacks or discouragements hold you back from where you want to be!
4. Try different exercises
The human body is incredibly adaptable!
When you are doing the same exact exercises or routine that you have been doing for months your body is going to get used to that! In result, you will start to plateau and see less and fewer results as the weeks and months go on. When your body begins to adjust to those workouts, it winds up using LESS energy to get the same movement done. That is why your weight will start to maintain (plateau)! You will start to burn fewer calories.
Try changing it up!
If you are into weight training try adding in small, intense bursts of cardio (see tip number #6) to boost your metabolism and fat burning process. Are you a runner? Try adding in some basic weight training exercises! Exercises such as shoulder presses, biceps curls, squats, or walking lunges.
Or if you do not have any weights, try adding in some high-intensity cardio exercises when you are on your next run! Some examples could be jump squats, jump lunges, pushups, step-ups, etc!
This list goes on and there are so many exercises that you can use to change up your workouts! The smallest change can make a huge impact on your overall physique and endurance.
5. Get enough sleep
Are you waking up already feeling exhausted and wishing you could hit snooze again for another 8 hours? Chances are you may not be getting enough sleep or enough quality sleep.
Realistically, most people need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep, per night, in order to function their best. It is also important to note that sleep enhances muscle recovery through a process called protein synthesis, and by hormones releasing in the body.
Failing to get enough quality sleep can really hinder your progress when you are trying to see results from your workouts and get healthier! When you wake up feeling tired, you may notice that your workouts will begin to suffer due to your low energy levels.
If your goal is to wake up at 5 am for a workout, try going to bed anywhere between 8 and 9 pm. That way you wake up feeling refreshed and motivated to accomplish your workout!
6. Increase your intensity
This is very similar to tip #4. Increasing your intensity is just as important as changing up your exercises.
You may not be seeing progress as fast as you would like to because you may not be working out hard enough. Spending two hours in a gym lifting the same amount of weight week after week is not going to get you the results that you want. Especially if your goal is to build muscle.
Do you ever feel like you’re just going through the motions when you’re in the gym or working out in general? Choosing the same speed and incline on your treadmill, or grabbing the same weighted dumbbells for the same amount of reps that you’ve been completed for months.
Physique changes will begin to occur when you start to challenge your body!
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercises are my go-to exercises when it comes to cardio and burning more calories in LESS time!
What is HIIT training?
If you have a limited amount of time to complete a workout, HIIT training is your new best friend. High-intensity interval training is a training technique that involves short, intense bursts of a certain exercise, of a duration anywhere between 20 seconds to 1 minute, followed by a certain amount of rest or even active rest. HIIT training is incredibly effective because it gets your heart rate up and allows you to burn more fat in way less time.
The main purpose of high-intensity training is to kick up the intensity of your cardio workout. However, in order for your workout to qualify as true HIIT, you’ll need to push yourself to the max during every set. But remember you get short rest periods after each one as well to bring your heart rate back down, to then spike it up again!
That is why HIIT is also beneficial for revving up your metabolism and boosting your bodies fat burning process. (study).
Another reason why I love doing high-intensity intervals is that even when you are finished with your workout, your body is still burning calories up to 24 hours later! This is because of the EPOC effect. EPOC stands for Excess Post Oxygen Consumption. Your body consumes MORE oxygen after your high-intensity sessions to get your body back to a homeostasis (pre-exercise) level. In general, studies have shown an additional 50 – 200 calories were burned throughout the day due to EPOC following resistance training and interval training. (study).
Increase Intensity for Muscle Growth
If your goal is to gain muscle mass, your best bet is to slowly increase the weights that you are using! While also decreasing the total reps that you do, that way you can focus on form rather than the amount that you do. This technique is also known as progressive overloading.
For example, if you normally perform shoulder presses with 10-pound dumbbells for 20 reps, try increasing your weight and lowering your reps. If you are shoulder pressing the same 10-pound dumbbells for years then you are not progressing.
So, instead of the 10-pound dumbbells, reach for maybe 12 or 15 pounds dumbbells and decreases your reps to 8-10 reps. If you begin increasing the weight you will start to see results over time! If you start with 10-pound weights but then 6 months down the line you are performing the same exercise with 25-pound weights, then you are progressing!
Of course, if your goal is to maintain your weight (not gain muscle or lose fat) then you may not have to focus as much on progressive overloading! It all depends on your individual goals and fitness level!
7. Eat more
Nutrition is the most important factor when you have specific health goals!
You may already be eating less if your goal is to lose weight! However, it is possible you might not be eating enough to fuel your workouts or activities.
As you begin to build muscle, your body will need more calories to support that muscle tissue. If you are trying to build muscle, and you are not eating enough food, then you are not going to build muscle!
Your daily nutrition intake is VERY important! Your body needs an adequate amount of calories to promote optimal health and function properly. Not eating enough food may also lead to other various health concerns, slower cognitive function, lower metabolism rates, and poor muscle recovery.
The important thing to take away is if your goal is to gain muscle then you have to be okay with slowly building your calories into a caloric surplus aka eating more food. If your goal is to lose weight, then you want to slowly and steadily decrease your caloric intake into a caloric deficit. However, eating too little or cutting your calories too drastically will cause disadvantages and health concerns to your overall fitness goals.
Same goes for if you build your calories into a surplus too fast. Take your time slowly building or cutting your calories. It will pay off in the future, and you’ll be doing it the HEALTHY way!
8. Take a break or rest day
When you are in the gym lifting weights you are breaking down your muscles. The muscles then build and repair when you are resting.
Taking rest days is so crucial for your health and for muscle growth. Do not be afraid of rest days or fall for the “no days off” approach. Your body will not recover properly, which could eventually lead to injuries in and outside of the gym. Do not feel as like you have to cut your calories drastically low on rest days either! Those calories help repair your muscles and rev up your metabolism!
You will be so surprised at how much stronger you will feel, how much more progress you will be making, and how much more energized you will feel!
9. Focus on the “mind-muscle” connection
The “mind-muscle” connection is in reference to a conscious and deliberate muscular contraction. It is the measure of activation a certain muscle or muscle group, and NOT just the moving or lifting of the weight.
The ability to focus your mind’s attention on a single muscle or a group of muscles depends on neuromuscular control and the awareness of the position and movement of the body.
How does it work?
A neurotransmitter in the brain called Acetylcholine acts to communicate with the muscles in your body in order to cause them to contract. When this transmitter is released, it crosses the space that separates your nerves from your muscles. It then binds to the receptors on the surface of your muscle fibers. Which then allows your muscle to contract.
Basically, as you’re working out, think about the movement that you are doing and you will increase the firing on the motor units to all of the fibers within your muscle. Sounds simple, yet crazy. The more you think about the muscle, the better and more progressive your workout will be.
When you neglect to focus on the mind-muscle connection it can lead to imbalances and/or underdevelopment of that muscle. You are also not maximizing the work done by each muscle. In the end, you are simply just wasting a whole lot of your own time and energy.
Remember, your muscles won’t grow simply by moving the weight up and down. They will grow when they are forced to contract by acting on that weight and when you think and focus on moving/ contracting the muscle.
10. Find a workout buddy
Find a workout buddy that will help keep you accountable! When it comes to your weight loss or health journey, it SO MUCH easier to have someone to come along with you, rather than feeling like you are alone. For many people, when they are new to something, like a gym, for example, going at it alone can sometimes make them feel intimate. Which in result, lower your chances of actually going and accomplishing your goals. That is why finding a gym buddy can make a world of differences.
If you both make a schedule for the same time and the same place, you are more likely to stick to it from the fear of letting the other person down! Especially if you carpool and you have the responsibility to pick the other person up. You are both able to help each other, keep each other accountable, and keep each motivated during your health fitness journeys!
What are your current health and fitness goals?
Tell me in the comments! Until next time!