There’s nothing more frustrating or disheartening than putting in the time and effort to make progress with your exercise routine and to not see the results you’re looking for after weeks (or even months). This can happen for a few reasons, but the good part is that if you’re already putting in the time, then the hardest part is over. After that, these few adjustments should be enough to get you closer to your fitness goals.

Push Yourself

If you’re going to the gym regularly and still not seeing the results you want, it probably means you need to switch up your routine a little. Gym junkies become very knowledgeable about working out because they know they need to target a variety of muscle groups for an overall strong body. Rather than simply working out their legs, they plan on working out their hamstrings and quads, or adductors and abductors to make sure every muscle in their leg is getting the attention it needs.

Additionally, it’s important to make sure you’re wearing yourself out. Are you used to doing 10 reps with a 20lb weight? Try 20 reps next time. Does your mile warm up not cause you to break a sweat? Try to do it in eight minutes instead of ten. There are a lot of health benefits to ensuring you push yourself and do your cardio right, such as raising your good (HDL) cholesterol, increasing bone density and reducing stress.

Eat Right

Depending on what your fitness goals are, eating right can make the entire difference between the progress you’re making and the progress you want to make. If you’re exercising to build muscle, your diet should consist of enough calories and protein to fuel your workouts. If you’re trying to lose weight, your calorie intake should be lower than the amount of calories you burn each day. It’s all about finding the right balance between diet and exercise.

If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to count all the calories you consume, not just the ones from food. Alcohol contains a lot more calories than you might think, even if you’re just drinking liquor. If you find yourself prone to more than just the occasional round of social drinks or glass of wine after work, consider exercising as a way to combat your dependence on booze.

Sleep Well

If the gym is your sanctuary, it may be easy to spend a lot of time there. However, exchanging sleep time for exercise time is counter-productive to health goals in a lot of ways, because our bodies need sleep to recover from the wear and tear of each day. Therefore, if you’re allowing your gym time to dig into the eight hours of sleep you should get each night, your body doesn’t get a chance to rebuild the muscles that you’re wearing out at the gym, which ends up slowing your progress.

The time of day in which you’re working out is also important to the progress you make. If you’re looking to lose weight, it’s best to work out in the morning. If your goal is to boost muscle strength, exercising in the evening is best because muscle strength tends to be at its lowest in the morning and gradually increases throughout the day. However, it’s important to be careful not to exercise too late into the evening, as this can disrupt your sleep pattern and affect your mood.

Exercising has an immense amount of health benefits, whether or not you’re making gains or dropping weight as fast as you want to. Nonetheless, as beneficial as daily exercise is, it’s a huge bummer to put so much work into something and not get the return you want. Covering all the bases of a fitness lifestyle is a great way to maximize the effects of your exercise routine, and get you on route to the fitness satisfaction you’re working towards.

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