You hit the gym hard and rarely miss a workout, yet you keep staring at the same body in the mirror. Why does it seem like no matter how much you exercise, you just can’t tone up? There could be a few different issues here. Maybe you aren’t following the correct program aimed for your specific goals, maybe you aren’t noticing the small steps along the way and there have been changes but maybe not where you were expecting them.

A Workout for YOU!

Not all exercises and workout routines are created equal, and certainly don’t boast the same results for different people. Make sure you are doing workouts that benefit you and that you enjoy. Ensure your workouts are specifically geared towards your goals. E.g. If you are trying to reduce the wobble of your thighs or wanting more muscle definition or a stronger core then a program geared towards only cardio is unlikely to get you the results you seek. Remember it is not all about working out either, you will need to spend time on your nutrition as well. If you are sticking to your exercise program and it is geared to your specific goals but you are still not seeing any changes maybe you need to look at your meal planning and nutrition to see if something on that side is sabotaging all your hard work.

Even if you want to focus on just one particular area of your body it is important to still work on all parts of your body equally, otherwise you could cause some muscle imbalance. If you are working your back for some sexy back and shoulders it is important to work the front side of your body as well i.e. your chest to prevent an imbalance in your physique. If you want lovely lean and strong legs then yes focus on those areas but don’t ignore the rest of your body – would you not want to complement the look with sculpted arms and back as well?

The same goes for targeting your core. If your only problem area is your stomach and you are working out to lose a little belly weight and increase core strength, make sure you are targeting that area with core-specific exercises as well as having a program that focuses on losing body fat. Also, keep in mind and remember that you cannot spot reduce fat, so yes working on your core will give you great abs but this hard work is unlikely to show until your body fat percentage has reduced to a certain level (you might not see those defined abs yet but once you start targeting that area you should be able to feel a difference even if you cannot see it). Do not give up as you will reach your goal you just need to keep working at it. Reducing body fat is one of those things that is different for everyone – sometimes it leaves from other areas of your body before it starts to leave the area you really want it gone from.

Look For Small Changes.

Don’t overlook those small milestones! Just because you aren’t seeing a drastic change doesn’t mean there’s no change at all. Really evaluate yourself and how far you have come. You might notice your face is a little thinner or your thighs are, indeed, tighter. Take measurements as well as photos for a way of judging your progress. You may also notice a change in the way your clothes fit!

Take photos

It’s a good idea to take progress photos because they capture each new change your body goes through. Especially the ones you are probably missing. When you look at yourself in the mirror, you often focus on a few areas and don’t see the big picture. A series of photos will allow you to compare and contrast your image week after week.

Think outside the scale

The dreaded scale is good for one thing; a quick weigh-in at the doctor’s office. Other than that try to steer clear of scales as much as you can, as they are usually associated with a feeling of frustration. Thanks to new technology, there are more reliable ways to keep track of your progress.

Knowing your body fat percentage is one of the best ways to monitor how much fat you are losing, as well as how much lean muscle you are gaining. The best way to measure your body fat is to have a professional do it. These tests can be done with the following:

  • Skin Fold Calipers
  • BodPod (ADP)
  • Handheld Body Fat Analyzer
  • Body Fat Monitor Scale (BIA)

It’s likely that your gym is equipped with one or all of these tools and can assist you for a nominal fee. Unlike a typical bathroom scale, you do not want to have these tests done daily. Once a month is recommended.

Take measurements

Measurements do not lie, use the same tape measure and measure in the same areas. Keeping a record from the beginning you will easily be able to see where the changes are happening. If you don’t take physical measurements you may notice the difference in the fit of your clothes.

Stay Positive!

Staying positive and not being too hard on yourself are the keys to success. You have committed to becoming healthy and taking care of your body, so don’t forget to take care of your mind, too! Always give yourself positive reinforcement, no matter how long the journey takes.

Micah Larsen

Micah is a traveling swim coach and personal trainer, depending on the season. She is also currently working on her Master of Science in Athletic Administration and Coaching. Micah loves to live an active lifestyle, whether she is competing in open water swims, running a road race, practicing yoga, or biking with her dogs. The main objective in her career is to... Read More

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