If you’ve ever dove headfirst into a high-intensity exercise routine that had little to no effect on your weight, you’re not alone. While working out might be healthy in and of itself, those who are looking to lose weight can become easily turned off of exercise if their weight-loss goals are not met. However, simply exercising isn’t enough to guarantee that you’ll lose weight, especially when you’re practicing unhealthy dietary habits, not varying your workouts, and coping with daily stressors. These are three reasons why your workout routine may not be helping you lose weight.
You haven’t adjusted your diet
Working out is only half the battle. Unfortunately, despite burning calories during a workout, exercise doesn’t cancel out the impacts of practicing poor dietary habits. Too many people tend to overeat after picking up a new exercise routine. While it may be necessary to consume extra food to supplement for nutritional loss after a hard workout, many people turn to the wrong types of foods during recoveries, such as starches, unhealthy fats, and sugars. Calories aren’t all burnt the same, and you’ll have less luck keeping off sugar-calorie weight that you will calories from proteins and healthy fats. Fulfilling cravings for unhealthy calories detrimental to your weight-loss goals, and they essentially undo the progress you make while exercising.
Some people are able to consciously choose healthier options to supplement lost calories, such as proteins, certain dairy products, healthy fats, and veggies/fruits. However, many people still eat too much food after a workout in an effort to compensate for a portion of the calories they burnt exercising. It is important to replenish yet not overfeed your body with healthy calories after exercising and form a reasonable diet based around your exercise routine that ensures you get enough nutrition to fuel your workouts. The issue with this is that people tend to underestimate the number of calories in the food they are eating, often consuming more than they need in recovery from a workout.
This isn’t to say that you should starve yourself while working out. However, making well-informed choices about what/how much to eat in order to keep your body healthy, nourished, and satisfied instead of overfed can help you lose weight while exercising while still enjoying food. Calories burnt have a direct relationship with calories consumed when it comes to weight loss, and not all calories are processed the same in a workout. Considering this while forming a workout diet can save you plenty of grief as you work towards your weight loss goal.
Your workout is lacking variation
When you start working out, it can be easy to slip into a workout routine that you’re comfortable with and not want to switch it up. Why would you alter a routine if it made you feel good to achieve your daily benchmarks? However, without variation and challenges in your workout, you aren’t likely to lose any weight. Some people are major fans of pure cardio workouts, and others tend to gravitate towards weight and strength-building. Still, without any variation, you’re likely to hit a weight-loss slump after a certain point. Since every type of exercise works out a different portion of your body, a routine that purely focuses on one type of exercise won’t benefit long-term muscle definition and weight loss.
A mistake that many often make is putting too much time and energy into cardio workouts, which advertise a “fat-burning heart rate” to achieve while exercising. While these are extremely heart-healthy and beneficial for your metabolism, frequent cardio workouts aren’t necessarily healthy for the development of your muscles. As you start to lose lean muscle mass, your metabolism will begin to slow down, as your body will start storing calories as fat to ensure you have the fuel you need to endure long workouts. So, no matter how well you eat or how little you snack, your body will convert most of what you eat into fat. One way to avoid this? Mix strength training into your routine. While cardio is essential, weight lifting and other forms of strength training are also necessary if you’re looking to lose weight. Since strength training is beneficial to muscle definition and tone, those exercises will help you develop more lean muscle, and your body won’t feel as much pressure to store calories as fat. A mix of these two forms of exercise can help you keep your metabolism up, ensure your organs remain healthy and encourage productive weight loss.
If you’re practicing variation in your routine and still not losing weight, you may not be working out as much as you need to be. While days off and essential periods of recovery are always encouraged, try adding some more difficult moves to your routine and pushing yourself a bit further with each exercise that you do. The phrase “pain is gain” really does seem to apply when it comes to the correlation between high-intensity workouts and weight loss.
Your daily self-care is slipping
If you’re stressed out, not sleeping, or otherwise agitated and tense, you’re not going to lose weight through exercising anytime soon. Any factors that place stress on the body are likely to serve as a roadblock in achieving any goals when it comes to exercise, healthy dietary practices, and weight loss. One such stressor is sleep deprivation. A reason that sleep deprivation is such a potent threat to weight loss is that it is a multi-faceted roadblock. A lack of sleep can make you feel unnecessarily hungry, as your body will crave bursts of energy in the form of food. When you’re truly exhausted, you’re more likely to choose sugary and unhealthy foods to keep you awake throughout the day. This ultimately erases the impact of any calories that you’re able to burn through exercise. Additionally, exhaustion will make it impossible to feel like you can perform well at a workout, turning you off of the idea of exercising or causing you to half-perform during any exercise session.
Everyday stress is another factor that inhibits weight loss, even when you’re still exercising. When you’re stressed, depressed, anxious, or suffering from a mental health condition, your cortisol levels shoot up, which results in your body storing extra fat and your brain craving unhealthy food. The comfort foods that many turn to during stressful periods are likely high in sugars, unhealthy fats, and empty calories, which are difficult to convert to energy and burn off in the form of fat during workouts. Excessive stress can also place a physical strain on your body, causing aches and pains, headaches, joint pain, and nausea. All of these can impair your performance during a workout or cause you to abandon your workout routine altogether.
If you know that stress is what’s standing in your way to a productive workout routine, consider troubleshooting the stressors in your life to figure out how to remove or cope with them. While you may not be able to walk away from a frustrating job or erase the symptoms of mental illness, practices such as meditation, yoga, and therapy can help ease some of the anxiety so you can productively care for yourself. When you’re not suffering from severe stress, it’s much easier to meet weight-loss goals.