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Are You Getting Results from Your Workouts?

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Updated November 04, 2013

In a recent poll I asked readers to vote on their most frequent reason for skipping workouts. The results? 31% of voters said they skipped workouts because they weren't seeing results. So, what's the deal? Are most of us really not seeing results or could it be something else?

Lack of results could be caused by any number of factors: your diet, your exercise program or unrealistic goals. The key is to figure out if you lack results because you need to change what you're doing or change how you're thinking.

What Are Your Goals?

The first thing to do is ask yourself: what is my goal? If your goal is to lose weight and you haven't set a specific weight loss goal (e.g., four pounds in four weeks), that may be one reason it seems like you're not seeing results. If you don't know how much weight you want to lose, how do you know whether the results you're seeing are reasonable or not?

Many people go into weight loss with a vague goal of losing a certain amount of weight (e.g., 20 or 30 pounds) but without a specific plan of how they'll lose the weight or even how much weight they'll lose on a weekly basis. If you don't have a specific goal, a reasonable timeframe and a plan to reach that goal you'll never know whether you're actually making progress or not.

If this sounds familiar, use the following resources to help you set the right goals:

And, remember, weight loss isn't the only goal there is! In fact, you may be seeing and even feeling great results but, because you're only looking at the scale, they might be passing you right by.

Next, check out other obstacles that stand in the way of weight loss success and learn what you can do to see better results.

I'm Not Losing Weight Fast Enough

One of the most obvious ways we determine exercise success is by tracking our weight. If we see the scale go down, we feel we're on the right track. If the scale doesn't move or, worse, goes up, we feel like failures. But a scale doesn't always tell you everything you need to know and, similarly, safe weight loss will almost always be slower than you think it should be.

But, one thing to look at if you feel your weight loss is too slow is your calories in vs. calories out. At it's most basic, weight loss is a numbers game...eat less and burn more, you'll lose weight, right? Obviously, there are other factors involved, but, for the most part, controlling your eating and activity should lead to some kind of weight loss. So, with that in mind, what do your numbers look like? And is your weight loss too slow or is it right on track?

Why Weight Loss is Hard

Experts recommend we try to lose about .5 to 2 lbs each week, which sounds pretty reasonable. This means that you need to burn an EXTRA 1750 - 7000 calories each week (with either diet, exercise or both) in order to lose that weight. But, let's look a bit closer at this weight loss thing and see why it's not as easy as it looks. The following steps describe what you need to do to see steady weight loss:

  1. Plan exactly how much weight you want to lose. You can use the steps in How to Set Weight Loss Goals but, for our purposes here, let's assume you want to lose four pounds in four weeks.
  2. Plan exactly how you'll meet that goal. To lose a pound a week, you would have to burn an extra 500 calories a day, every day through diet or exercise or both. If you want to burn half with exercise and half from your diet, that means determining the activity you'd need to do to burn about 250 calories as well as how you can cut 250 calories from your diet.
  3. Never stray from your plan. If you really want to lose four pounds in four weeks, you need to follow your plan every single day. If you schedule a rest day and don't burn any calories with exercise, you need to offset that by cutting more calories from your diet. Similarly, if you have a cheat day and eat more calories, you would need to exercise enough to offset all those extra calories.

    This is why weight loss is a lot harder than you think it is. If you really want to lose that weight you can either never stray from your diet and exercise plan or you must plan meticulously for those strays in order to offset the exercise you're missing or the extra calories you're eating. And you have to do this every single day.

    Next Page: More About Getting Results

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