What do you do when you’re not getting any results from your workouts? Inside we’ll take a look at some easy ways to kickstart your results.
“Is it really worth it?”
That’s the question people begin asking themselves when they are putting in lots of energy, time, and money—and then there’s little payoff.
Things always start with excitement. They might order supplements they want to try, they load up their pantry and fridge, and sometimes they buy new workout clothes, maybe a couple of pieces of new home gym equipment.
It’s really fun, you know—the anticipation.
They cook a huge bulk meal (like a 16-portion chili), and then tomorrow, their first workout begins.
That first workout is exhilarating. Tiring. But it feels great.
The next day they’re a bit more sore than they thought they’d be. But they’re still motivated. Workouts 2 and 3 for the week also go pretty solid.
Next Monday, they step on the scale and—
Not a single change.
This can be pretty demoralizing, whether you’re trying to burn off fat and see the scale drop, or you’re trying to build muscle and see the scale rise.
When someone first starts working out, they might see “body recomposition.” This is where their weight will stay the same, but they might gain some weight from muscle and lose some weight from body fat. (This is reflected in the mirror and also with changing body part measurements.)
But what if you’re positive that there are no changes going on.
What went wrong?
What should you do?
The first thing to remember is that you’re not broken. This is very normal, and it just means that you need to tweak something to get things rolling.
This is where a good flow chart and a coach can come in handy. (I include coaching in the private community with my programs currently for this reason.)
Most common reasons you’re not getting results from working out:
Time, Consistency, & Challenge
- You just need more time to get into the flow. Building muscle and burning fat isn’t linear. Some weeks you’ll see faster results. In terms of lifting weights, sometimes with new exercises, we’re not that fluent yet and aren’t even really challenging our muscles—but rather challenging our brains to learn a new pattern. You can give yourself a solid month with a workout routine before changing gears.
- Are you showing up according to the workout plan? Skipping workouts may not seem like a big deal but your body may get the message that it doesn’t need to adapt—only heal—from working out.
- Are you challenging yourself with the weights? Sometimes it’s a good test to take your final set of the first couple exercises right to technical failure to see if you’ve been holding back or not. You only want 2-3 reps in the tank—not 6+. Some people tend to slack and don’t push themselves, and don’t get results. Other people tend to go overboard and get burnt out—leading to inconsistency. It helps to test.
- Are you eating enough real food? One of the biggest challenges for my clients is learning to cook for themselves. Cooking once a week (to make batch meals) is the easiest way to fix a thousand problems because you’re controlling exactly what you’re eating. You avoid all industrially processed fats, industrially processed carbs, additives, emulsifiers, preservatives, surfectants, etc. Not only that, but you can get way better quality of food for the same price as eating out. For an extreme example—it doesn’t matter what your goal is—it’ll be hard to burn fat OR gain muscle if you were to eat every meal from McDonald’s. Your body requires real nutrition to see real change.
- Are you eating enough meat? You’ll need lots of protein to help you recover from lifting weights. I’ve found 100% grass-fed meat the best way to recover after years of sub-par results when pasteurized dairy was my biggest protein source (LOMAD, 150g of whey a day, cheese, huge bowls of Greek yogurt, etc.) Bone broth and other collagen sources can be very handy if you’ve got sore tendons or gut issues.
- To gain muscle—are you eating enough real carbs? Building new muscle requires something called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP can be generated from carbohydrates. Increasing real carbs might be the ticket. My favourite wholesome carbs are raw honey, oats, sprouted brown rice, fruits of all kinds, sprouted chickpeas, organic dried fruits (no sulphites) etc. (Roasted potatoes are also pretty nice occasionally.)
- Are you sleeping at least 7 hours a night? I encourage sleeping a lot longer than only seven hours, but this is the minimum to see solid progress. (I naturally sleep close to 10 hours during periods of rapid change.)
- To burn fat—are you going for daily walks outside in the sunshine? Getting outside for a walk every single day is crucial for fat-burning as it helps with both regular and stubborn fat (deep superficial abdominal adiposity). An outdoor walk gets you fresh air, sunshine, and high blood flow. I like 10,000 steps a day when trying to lean out.
- Are you getting enough (reasonable) sunshine? Sunshine is needed for our body to work well with things like natural vitamin D production, melatonin generation for good sleep later on at night, and UV rays help to add oxygen to our blood—this allows our entire body to work better. When your body is running well, you can make adaptations to your workouts.
Those are the first things to look at and to see where the biggest gaps are. Then work on those.
There are other issues like gut problems and chronic inflammation that can also lead to not getting a response from lifting weights.
Once you’ve sure you covered the fundamentals, then you can start looking at more advanced techniques to keep progressing.
(Like how intermittent fasting leads to 5x more fat-loss, or how to predictably get stronger each week with techniques like reverse-pyramid, how to rapidly improve recovery, so each lifting session feels easy because you’re feeling spry, etc.)