Why you may not be seeing results in the gym

If you’re rocking it in the gym but still aren’t seeing the results you want, this one’s for you.

Chase Morlock

Have you ever hit a point in your fitness journey where you feel like you are doing everything right but still not getting the results you want? I can always feel the frustration when a client explains to me that they are doing everything right but still not achieving their goals. They show up, work out hard, and have been doing so for a long time, but don’t seem to be getting anywhere. 

One of the best parts of personal training is that we are on the ride with you and truly want you to succeed (sometimes even more than you do). When someone is feeling like described above, the first two things I remind them are:

1. They are so much healthier now than when they weren’t doing those workouts, even if they haven’t hit their target goals quite yet. It can be easy to forget about where they started when they’re so focused on what’s ahead, but it’s always worth remembering how much progress they’ve made up to this point.

 2.  I can only be with them for a few hours a week, which leaves about 165 hours remaining in the week. Because the hours outside the gym are sometimes where things fall off track, I like to take a deeper look with them at their overall lifestyle habits.

If you empathize with the feeling of not seeing the results you’re hoping for from your workouts, then check out the list below. It breaks down some of the biggest ways that people can undermine their workouts. Those 3-4 hours a week in the gym are incredibly important, but most of the other factors on this list need to be completed outside of the gym to ensure progress. 

Here are some of the reasons you may not be seeing the results you want in the gym: 

  • Not enough water 

    • Water has so many benefits, including: regulating body temperature, lubricating and cushioning joints, protecting the spinal cord, and excreting bodily wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements. Water also plays a major role in performance and even weight loss. Not consuming enough water could lead to reduced motivation and increased fatigue, which makes it much tougher to work out or even move throughout the day. Water can also aid in weight loss because it increases satiety and boosts metabolism. If you’re not sure if you’re drinking enough water, a great starting point is to shoot for half your body weight in ounces of water. Try this out for a few days and see how you feel. 

  • Not enough recovery

    • Most people are scrambling throughout the day to get everything done, get the kids to school, go to the kids’ sporting events, make sure dinner is on the table, do a quick workout, do a great job at work, get home on time and be a good spouse, etc. All of this doesn’t leave much, or any, time for recovery - to slow down, relax, and rest. We are all busy, and we live in a day and age of people trying to “optimize” and “life hack” their way to success. However, it’s pretty hard to cheat your way through rest and recovery time. What does recovery mode look like? It can be different for everyone, but it might include a few minutes to read a book, say a prayer, or to lay down, stretch, and take some deep breaths. Taking a few minutes for recovery each day is a guaranteed way to help life slow down a little, which will undoubtedly help you see results in your health and fitness. Recovery time helps decrease stress, improve sleep, and set up your body to function optimally, which helps with achieving physical results in the gym. One of my top tips for being able to carve out recovery time into your day is to plan for it the night before. Before you hit the sack, plan your to-dos for the following day, get your lunch ready, set out your clothes, and decide when you are going to find time for recovery and rest the following day. Then, stick to it.

  • Not enough movement 

    • This one is simple. Most of us are very sedentary. 3-4 workouts a week are great, but that unfortunately won’t cut it. Many of us sit for hours and hours a day with poor posture and few breaks to get up and move. The fix? Get up and move throughout the day. Stand up at least once an hour and walk around a bit, hit a couple jumping jacks or push-ups a few times throughout the day, trade in your normal desk for a standing one, bike to work, walk to work, go on walks with your family, and so forth. With so many ways to incorporate movement into your day, there’s no excuse not to do it.

  • Not progressive overloading (AKA you’re always grabbing the same weights) 

    • This one does actually apply to the weight room, and boy oh boy, do I see this one often. Simply put: You can’t expect to see changes if you don’t push yourself. At Rise, we chat often about the importance of progressive overload. You will not see changes in the gym if you’re not finding ways to increase the stressor (ex: more weight, reps, sets, etc). If you continue to grab the same weights and do the same exercises, you won’t see progress. This is part of the problem with going at it alone. Exercise is great no matter what, but your potential for growth and success is severely limited if you don’t know how to safely and effectively push yourself in your workouts. Maybe you’re working out but only have a few pieces of equipment at home or a few online videos you follow, or you might even have a lot of experience in the gym but have gotten stuck in a rut. If you want to see continued progress, my advice is to find a great gym with great coaches and a great progressive plan, and get to work. At Rise, we walk with you step by step and guide you to success by helping you continue to progress, and we will work through the sticking points together.  

  • Not enough protein 

    • Do you have a sweet tooth? Extreme cravings? You may not be getting enough protein in. I have actually dealt with this problem personally at one point. When I explained it to our nutrition coach, she immediately told me I needed to up my protein intake. She helped me adjust my protein goal and, just like that, my sugar cravings have almost vanished. This one is a really big deal if you have a weight loss goal. Protein is so important for both our recovery and our satiety. If you feel like you aren’t losing weight, definitely take some time to think about this one. 

  • Alcohol (and drinking calories) 

    • This one is the kicker for many. I have seen it over and over. People will do everything correctly but they are not willing to adjust their alcohol, soda, or sugary drink intake. Just remember, if you have a weight loss goal, the fastest way to undermine it is going to be drinking your calories. It might be from booze, but it could also be pop or other sugary drinks (yes, your double whip grande caramel mocha is included here). Specifically, alcohol also affects your recovery which will ultimately affect the rate of your success. To be clear, I am not telling you that you can’t drink alcohol. I enjoy a few drinks myself. But my recommendation is this: If you are trying to change your body, booze is a big enemy. Try taking 4 weeks off of alcohol a year to boost your progress and add in additional weeks if you can. If you are happy with where you are at, then you can probably get away with drinking a couple of nights a week, but just understand that it impacts your mood, your sleep, and your overall health. 

  • Lack of consistency

    • Consistency is the key to all of this. You cannot expect quick fixes. If you are reading this, you most likely are crushing your workout routines, but now you need to get consistent with your water, your recovery, your protein, and so forth. Consistent effort over time will lead you to success. You can’t expect to do these things a few times and be at your goals. Be consistent for a week, then a month, then a few months, then 6 months, and then a year, and then look up and see where you are at. Find out what is plaguing you right now, make the proper changes, and then be consistent with them.


  • DIY fitness 

    • I touched on this briefly in the progressive overload section but will say it again. If you feel like you are working out hard but not seeing progress, you may be doing the wrong things. Maybe you are doing the same exercises in your basement with a few pieces of equipment, or maybe you’re doing the same few workout videos or a slew of random workout videos you found online. Maybe you go to the gym and do a few exercises, and you might even be doing them well. But unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that what you’re doing is the right program for you. If you are at a point where you are stuck or frustrated, come chat with us. When my car is broken I call a mechanic. I can do a few of the basics here and there, but when I need actual help, I turn to the professionals. If you need help seeing results with your health and fitness, we’d love to help you.

When you are ready to talk with a personal trainer about your goals, click here to set up a time to chat.