Why You Are Not Making Progress In Your Workouts

I frequently get asked for reasons on why progress is not being made even when going to the gym, eating healthy and fewer calories.

There is not one answer to this as everyone is different, everyone's approach is not the same and therefore we cannot establish a single reason for why progress is not happening.

Whether it is losing weight or building muscle a range of factors work together for results to show. For example, if you are looking to build muscle, it is not enough to go to the gym and lift weights, for muscles to repair and grow bigger you have to eat a lot more calories. When it comes to losing weight, while you do not have to go the gym to lose weight, there are other factors such as too much stress that could hinder your weight loss progress. It is necessary to take a holistic approach when it comes to nutrition and training.


Why you are not making progress from your workouts.


Eating too little calories


You may be thinking, well if I want to lose weight this does not apply to me because to lose weight I need to eat as minimal calories as possible. Yes, to lose weight you must be eating in a caloric deficit, however, eating too little calories can affect your weight loss.


Restricting your calories too much can often lead to a weight loss plateau.

Your severe caloric deficit may work well for a few days or weeks, but your body is smart and can sense there is a significant decrease in energy. Eventually, your body will start to conserve energy to continue function they way it should be.


Low-calorie dieting brings with it many negative side effects.  Restricting your calories too much also increases both chronic psychological stress and cortisol production – two factors that are known to cause weight gain.


Eating Too Much


This is a fairly common reason. Many people are unaware of how much they are eating or how much their body actually needs.

People often think that because they are eating healthy that they can eat as much as they want. However, just because a food is labelled as healthy does not mean it is calorie free. Eating all the chicken breast because it is full of protein, but you have eaten too many calories will not help you see progress.


This also applies to people who are looking to build muscle, while you do need plenty more calories, it does not mean you have to go overboard on the calories. It is common for people to go over eat when looking to gain muscle. However it is not necessary, you can do still bulk in a slight surplus.


Exercising too much/No Rest Days


Your body needs rest days, people often think you need to be in the gym 24/7, but in reality, you don't. If you are not someone looking to enter a competitive show, it is not necessary. Many people have successful progressed and seen results working out 3 times a week.


The body needs rest from all the stress you put on it exercising. Your body needs the time to rest and recover, it is not enough to simply feed it calories it also needs time to use those to recover.


Furthermore, research suggests that people need to stop so much emphasis on exercise for weight loss. Researchers outline that more physical activity does not always correlate with more calories. It is believed that there may be a "sweet spot" for physical activity--indicating too much and the body makes big adjustments to adapt, and too little is unhealthy.


A study found that dieters who got adequate sleep, more than half of the weight they lost was fat. However, when they reduced the number of hours they slept, only one-fourth of their weight loss came from fat. Furthermore, they found that getting an adequate amount of sleep also helped control the dieters' hunger. The results showed, average levels of ghrelin did not change when dieters spent 8.5 hours in bed, however, when they spent 5.5 hours in bed, their ghrelin levels increased over two weeks from 75 ng/L to 84 ng/L.


Research shows that a lack of sleep results in a decrease in glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, as well as leptin levels. An increase in evening concentrations of cortisol, ghrelin levels, and hunger and appetite. Evidence confirms previous findings, indicating the relationship between lack of sleep and the increased risk of obesity.

Researchers undertook a study to understand the relationship between sleep and weight gain. They found that sleep deprivation has effects in the body similar to activation of the endocannabinoid (eCB) system, a key player in the brain’s regulation of appetite and energy levels.


The results showed that when participants were sleep-deprived, their eCB levels in the afternoons were both higher and lasted longer than when they’d had a full night’s sleep. Moreover, the elevated levels of eCB also occurred around the same time they reported an increase in hunger and appetite. Furthermore, during the high levels of eCB the sleep-deprived participants consumed more and unhealthier snacks in between meals. The findings, therefore, suggest that high eCB levels are the cause of opting for unhealthier food options.

If you struggle to sleep while dieting, a study found that eating more protein while dieting can improve sleep, this is a result of its ability to keep you satiated.


Not Training Intensely


Are you just going through the motions of exercise, not really into it?

Well, it is time you break out of that. Your training intensity is important. Intensity is the amount of physical power that the body uses when performing an activity.

Working out at a higher intensity compared to a low intensity will increase your heart rate and therefore help you burn more calories.

Increasing your intensity can help you increase your metabolism.


Too much Cardio/ Lack of Resistance


Do you go the gym and simply run on the treadmill or do any other from of cardio for 1 hour?


If so, it is time to change up your workout. Reduce the amount of cardio you are doing and increase or add in resistance trainining. Resistance training is not just something men should do and if you afraid of lifting weights because you will look bulky, you won't. Including some weight training into your workouts provides so many benefits.

In order to increase your metabolism you have to lift weights. I often get asked how to achieve the lean and nice curves, the answer is from weight training. You do not achieve a nice shape from simply doing cardio. Weight training will help you build muscle, strength and help you look and feel good.


Not eating enough Protein


It is important that you are eating enough protein to help your muscles repair and grow. while protein is an important macronutrient when looking to build muscle, it is just as important if not more important when trying to lose weight.




Stress causes the hormone cortisol to elevate, which may affect your weight loss by increasing the amount of fat your body stores.  In fact, research has shown that higher levels of cortisol have been linked to greater amounts of visceral fat.


You are Unrealistic with your Expectations


We often like to compare ourselves to others, but we should'nt. We are all different and therefore we should stive to set a goal to be be better than our yesterday.


You cannot expect to lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks or gain 5 pounds of muscle is 3 days both these things take time. Achiveing the body you want is a journey.


You are not following a program


Are you just going into the gym and simply doing anything and everything?


In order to achieve a goal you have to have a plan and it is the same with your workouts. You cannot expect to achieve a certain physique without knowing how to go about achieving it.


Make a plan, find a set workout that looks good and that you will enjoy and follow it.


You are program hopping


If you are someone who is following a program, but is program jumping that is why you are not seeing results. You need to stick to a program for a few weeks to see progress, you cannot expect to follow a program for a couple of days and expect to see any sort of change.


You are focusing too much on the outcome


Stop focusing on the end result, understand that this is a journey, the quicker you understand that the better and this way you will not give up.






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