You belong to the gym, and you even make time to go, but still the scale isn't budging. What gives? While your intentions should be applauded, here are some reasons you're not seeing the slimming results you're after.
- Cardio workouts aren't intense enough: In order to lose weight you need to do the kind of cardio that gets your heart pumping. That means brisk walking on the treadmill or leisurely biking while perusing through a magazine just won't do the trick. Kick it up a notch and run on the treadmill or take a spinning class. Add sprinting intervals to your workout to burn more calories and help reduce belly fat. To really see results it's recommended to do 60-minute cardio workouts like these five times a week. I know it sounds like a lot, but it's the most effective way to start dropping those unwanted pounds.
- Eating high-calorie pre- or post-workout snacks: You definitely need energy to get through or recover from your workout, but it doesn't make sense to eat a 400-calorie snack when you've only burned 300 calories. Stick to snacks that are around 150 calories. Here are some ideas for healthy, low-cal munchables.
- Your weights are too light: Strength training builds muscle, and muscle increases your metabolic rate, which translates to calories burned. But if you're lifting weights that are too light than you're not building muscle mass effectively. You'll know your weights are heavy enough when your muscles fatigue after 10 to 12 reps. The same goes for strength training moves like push-ups or crunches—do enough reps to feel the burn.
- Incorrect form when strength training: Even if you've been doing your strength training routine for a few weeks now, and you know it backwards and forwards, it's good to check your form regularly. Watch yourself in a mirror or meet with a personal trainer because if you're doing the moves incorrectly, like using momentum instead of your muscle strength, which can mean that you're not getting as good a workout as possible.
- Same workout, different day: There's something nice about getting into a routine, but if you're constantly repeating the exact workout day in and day out, you're more likely to reach a plateau. Keep you body guessing by mixing up the equipment you use and the order of the exercises you do. Also try out new fitness classes, and work different body parts on different days. It'll not only challenge your muscles, but you'll get a more effective workout, which translates to a leaner, more sculpted bod.