Health and Wellness
April 2016

Top 10 Reasons You’re Not Getting Toned

A quick and easy guide to help you improve your gym performance.

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We’ve all been there: You’re going to the gym, working out four, five, six times a week, but you just don’t feel like you’re seeing the results you want. What gives? Well, you’re probably making a few simple mistakes. Don’t worry, Gold’s Gym is here to help. Below, we offer 10 common reasons why you’re not getting toned.

1. No Portion Control

A study in 2009 showed that of the 329 overweight participants the 33% of participants who didn't practice portion control gained 5% more weight, while the 38% who did lost 5% of their body weight. Diet is one of the most important aspects of an individual’s workout routine—some even say that it accounts for as much as 80%. But even if you focus on lean meats, eggs, milk, fresh fruit and veggies, eating too much of anything isn't going to help you get lean. Try to be cognizant of calories and fat per serving and think about buying a kitchen scale so you can start learning what something like a healthy serving size of chicken looks like on sight, so you are better informed when eating out.

2. The Wrong Amount and Kind of Cardio

When it comes to cardio, think high intensity for shorter periods of time. Studies have found that it’s better to sprint on a treadmill for 30 seconds, recover for three minutes, then repeat 10 times than to run at a moderate pace for half an hour. With High Intensity Interval Training, you build muscle, increase your VO2 max and keep burning calories for up to two hours after you finish working out.

3. You’re Ignoring Strength Training

While it can be tempting to stick with cardio and classes, the real key to getting toned is to mix strength training into your routine on a regular basis. You should hit the weights at least three times a week, focusing on more weight and lower reps. That will help you build muscle, which increases your basal metabolic rate—the amount of energy you expend while resting —and helps you burn fat.

4. You Need to Increase the Weight

If you are strength training—which is great—don’t forget to gradually increase the weight you are lifting. To get toned, at the end of each set of reps you should feel like you can’t possibly do one more rep (this is often called “training to failure”). A good guideline: If you can do more than 12 repetitions in a set, raise the weight by 5%. Grunting is okay, after all. Gold’s Gym offers group exercise classes including BODYPUMP. BODYPUMP is a barbell class that strengthens your entire body in 60-minutes. The workout challenges all your major muscle groups by using weight-room exercises like squats, presses, lifts, and curls.

5. Too Much Stress

Stress is as bad for the body as it is for the mind, and studies show that it contributes to an increase in appetite, weight gain and a loss of muscle mass. Do what you can to relieve stress, whether that’s getting a massage or using your workout as a stress reliever.

6. You Didn’t Consult a Trainer

Asking a Gold’s Gym professional for help can have two benefits. The first is that they can analyze your current routine and probably narrow in on why you’re not seeing results. And second, they can then create a program to help you maximize your gym time to start seeing results. There’s a little bonus, too: A trainer can help tweak any mistakes you’re making in your form. If you’re doing an exercise wrong, you’re not getting 100%, and you risk injury. Remember you can stop at your local Gold’s Gym for a free fitness consultation from one of our certified personal trainers.

7. Too Little Water

Hydration, hydration, hydration! If you stay hydrated, you’ll feel better and look better, while your muscles will recover faster and you’ll burn fat quicker. Consider carrying a water bottle and sipping throughout the day.

8. Not Enough Stretching

If you’re hitting the gym regularly for sessions of cardio and strength training, you’re going to be using your muscles a lot. So don’t forget to stretch, which increases flexibility and range of motion while keeping muscles long and lean instead of getting constricted. A comprehensive, continued stretching plan will help you keep working out for months on end, avoiding injury and helping with consistent form.

9. Too Little Sleep

You can’t function without enough sleep, and your muscles can’t either. Without seven to nine hours of sleep a night (and at least 24 hours between strength-training routines), you won’t get toned as quickly as you hope. Studies have found that people who are under-rested get less than 100% of the benefit of going to the gym, as their muscles are focused on recovering, not developing.

10. Too Much Routine

Muscles need to be worked. They also need to be surprised with new moves and new work every six to eight weeks. Chances are, if you’re getting tired of doing the same thing at the gym, your muscles are right there with you.