Article By: Whittany Gibson, RDN
Whittany is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who specializes in bariatric nutrition counseling, providing education and support prior to and following weight loss surgery.
If you’re like me (and countless others), you’ve been to the gym quite a few times and left feeling frustrated that it didn’t yield any results. We all understand how discouraging this feels. But don't worry — there are some things you can do to make sure your hard work in the gym actually pays off. The key is to avoid these common pitfalls so you can focus on getting the best results possible. Here's what to look out for when exercising!
1) Not pushing yourself hard enough. Sorry to tell you, but if you're not pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, you won't see real progress. You have to push yourself beyond what's comfortable and challenge yourself for your body to start changing. That means working up a sweat, lifting heavier weights, running faster or longer than usual, and pushing yourself further. It can be difficult to gauge or suggest what this means for each individual person. It’s something you have to decide. Be honest and upfront with yourself about what level of work you are putting into your exercises, and don’t cheat yourself just to say you’ve been exercising. I’ve seen it time and time again when someone says, “I’m working really hard.” And when I dig into the details, it's clear why they’re not seeing changes.
2) Repeating the same exercises. Completing the same exercises every day (or even a few times per week) for longer than three weeks is doing you no good. Your body adapts. It gets stronger. Things get easier, and you build more endurance. When you no longer get winded from your walking or cardio exercise, or when you are no longer fatiguing those muscles you’re working (you know, getting that “soreness”), that means you need to kick it up a notch. Increase time or intensity with those same exercises or do something different and more challenging altogether. It’s a good problem to have when you really think about it... You’ve done some hard work, and you’re ready to advance!
3) Just walking. Starting with a good walking routine after WLS is a great place to begin. But don’t get stuck here. There’s much more your body wants and needs other than walking, especially if you want to reach those health and fitness goals. Walking should be considered a cardiovascular exercise, not strength training, and you need both. If walking on a treadmill, increase the incline and do this at intervals. Intervals provide more of a hill-climbing effect, which adds to the cardiovascular aspect of the exercise. More importantly, intervals ensure you’re using more of your core and lower body muscles, ultimately helping you to burn more fat. Add light weights or ankle weights to your outdoor walks to add more of a challenge. Break up longer walks by doing bodyweight exercises like modified push-ups, squats, shoulder presses with light weights, etc. Strength training should be a part of your weekly routine using weights, body weight exercises, machines, resistance bands... You get the idea. Aim for 2-3x per week!
4) Not eating right. When it comes to exercise, it's not just about going to the gym and doing all the right moves; nutrition plays an equally important role in helping you reach your goals. If you want to get results from your workouts, then make sure your diet consists of healthy foods with plenty of protein, complex carbs, and good fats. These foods will fuel your body to get through those grueling workouts!
Exercising isn't always easy... But taking these small steps will help ensure all of your hard work in the gym pays off! Avoiding these common mistakes will help to maximize your results from every workout session so that you can stay on track toward achieving your fitness and, ultimately, your weight loss goals! Don't forget — consistency is key when it comes to getting results at the gym. Stick with it, and soon enough, you'll be seeing those gains!
BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.