Secrets From A Trainer

10 reasons why you may not be crushing your fitness goals — and how you can change

Why you may not be crushing your fitness goals — and how to change

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Nobody wants to be yelled at during their workout.

Courtesy of National Federation of Professional Trainers
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Too much fitness gear can be distracting. Medical Futurist
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Demonstration of plank rows: You need to challenge yourself to see results. Photo by Cari Shoemate
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Your cheat meal may be ruining all your hard work at the gym. Courtesy photo
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Pick a time to workout that fits your schedule and isn't too late at night.   Shutterstock
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Group workout: You should have fun when you workout or you won't stick with it. Photo courtesy of Cari Shoemate
Exercise, fitness, gym instructor yelling at client
Exercise, fitness, Fitbits, watches
plank exercise, fitness
Generic shot of burrito
Exercise, fitness, woman asleep on the bike
Fitness, exercise, Bombshell bootcamp

January has now come to an end, so that means that you are either 1) Excited about your new fit lifestyle and are still eating healthy and slaying those workouts or 2) haven’t seen the results you want and have thrown in the towel.

If you are the latter, you may not be seeing the results you wanted for obvious reasons like you just plain gave up and don’t workout anymore or you’ve decided to try the all-bacon diet (yes, it’s a real thing). But there may be more to it than that. Here are 10 surprising reasons why you aren’t seeing results. 

      1. You think you are eating “healthy” but you aren’t.

       You are drinking protein shakes 3 times a day and wondering why you are gaining weight. Well, odds are those shakes are very high in calories, sugar and other products your body can’t process. Try to make your own shakes and avoid buying them from “healthy” places because even if you pick one with a name like a “Slim and Trim” strawberry smoothie, you end up drinking 84 grams of sugar — more than double what you should have in one day. Just because it sounds healthy doesn’t mean it is.


       So what should you eat? About 4-6 mini “meals” a day that consist of lean protein (doesn’t have to be meat), veggies, whole grains and some fruit. You need to keep it simple and try to eat things found in nature instead of in test tubes at Nabisco. The “cleaner” your diet is, the easier your body will process that food and turn it into true fuel.

       2. You aren’t dressing the part.

       You roll up to the gym in your I heart Cozumel T-shirt, Nike tempo track shorts from 10 years ago and a scrunchie in your hair and you wonder why you are so unmotivated. Go out and buy some new workout clothes ASAP! You may not have your dream body just yet, but you can still look great while working out. If you like the way you look you will have more confidence and are more likely to stick with your workouts.

        3. You are doing the wrong kind of cardio.

        If you’ve been walking on the treadmill for an hour each time you go to the gym you may not be challenging yourself enough. What?! An hour isn’t enough? Steady cardio can be great if you have a lot of time or are training for an endurance event (or just love to listen to podcasts). But, if you really want to burn fat quickly you need to do some interval training and really sweat. This means for about 30 minutes mix things up and do intervals of easy, medium and hard. HIIT training (high intensity interval training) and Tabata (20 seconds “hard” and 10 seconds rest) will do the trick.

         4. You don’t lift anything over 5 lb.

          Don’t worry ladies — if you lift heavy weights you won’t look like The Hulk. In order to really bulk up you have to have lift super heavy, do low reps and eat a ton of protein (oh, and have the genes). If you just want to be a smaller version of yourself do cardio only. Strength training (with weights or body weight) is how you can change your shape and get lean. So, go ahead and challenge yourself — see how much weight you can lift (with good form) for 12-15 reps. I bet you will be surprised by how strong you are.

          5. You have too much confusing fitness gear.

          You wake up early to go for a run but are literally weighed down by your FitBit, Garmin, Apple watch, heart rate monitor, wireless Beats and your compression socks as you scramble to enter your last 5 meals into My Fitness Pal. Fitness technology is great and if it helps you stay on track or motivates you then by all means use it. But, it’s not a necessity, especially if it’s too distracting for you and you end up spending more of your workout time fiddling with gear than actually working out. All you need is a good pair of shoes and some comfortable workout clothes and you can get in a great body weight workout with no equipment. No excuses.

           6. Your “cheat” meal is more like a cheat weekend.

           You ate great all week and only had 1 “cheat meal” over the weekend, so what’s the big deal? Well, that cheat meal probably involved a good amount of Tex-Mex, including multiple baskets of fried tortilla chips, 2+ sugary top-shelf margaritas and some sort of burrito smothered in cheese. Am I right?

            As a trainer I don’t like the idea of “cheat meals” because a lot of people tend to go overboard. I’m not saying you can’t eat out  but be smart. Did you know that some restaurants like Escalante’s even offers baked tortilla chips if you ask? Just don’t ruin your hard work with one meal or treat. Instead if you are really craving something bad, just have a small bite or share a very small portion with a friend and get right back on track with your next meal.

             7. You are working out at the wrong time.

             Your favorite spin instructor doesn’t teach until 8 pm but you can barely stay awake to tap it back. So, what do you do? Well, you may need to switch up your routine and find a time that works better for you. For some people that’s 5 am before the kids wake up or before work. For others, it’s fitting in a quick workout on their lunch break and others have more energy in the evenings. But, if it takes you 30 minutes to get to the gym in traffic or your class has you missing dinner with the kids, then you aren’t going to stick with it.

             Try to make it easy on yourself and pick a time that fits with your schedule. For some the best options may be creating an at-home gym, following along with workout videos on their phone or even working out in the stairwell at their office on their lunch break. Find a time, put it on your calendar and stick with it every week.           

             8. You don't have a support network.

             So your family thinks “Taco Tuesdays” means Taco Bell Tuesdays and “Meatless Mondays” means fettuccine alfredo. No wonder you are scared to tell them you want to workout and eat healthy. Explain to them that you are changing your lifestyle to get fit, strong and live a long healthy life for your fill in the blank (kids, dog, job, etc). You may be surprised by the support you can get from your family and friends — even if they aren’t living a healthy lifestyle. They may even join you!

             Also, don’t be afraid to use social media. You can find support groups on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and make instant “friends” that have similar goals and who inspire you with their workout pics, grocery hauls and healthy meals.

              9. You aren’t having any fun.

               If your bootcamp instructor yells in your face each time you slack on your burpees or your trainer has you starting each workout with 50 bear crawls you probably aren’t having much fun during your workouts. If you don’t have fun you won’t stick with it. You don’t necessarily have to love working out but you should at least have a little fun doing it. You should have a trainer, teacher or classmate that makes you laugh or smile or you should enjoy listening to your playlist or chatting with your workout buddy at the gym. You need to make it fun otherwise you won’t want to go.

             10. You are scared of being uncomfortable.

              If you are one of those people who doesn’t want to sweat or you have serious fear of being sore you have to change your mindset. It’s not fun to wake up early in the morning to go for a run or climb the stairs at work with sore legs. It’s also scary when you think about some of the other changes you need to make like eating healthier. We want comfort in our lives. But, in order to see any changes you have to be a little uncomfortable — at least in the beginning. But, believe me…it DOES get easier and you will probably even get used to waking up early to workout and learn to love to the taste of egg-whites.

              After a while it will be like second nature and then you’ll have to find a new way to spice things up like trying a new class, new sport or lifting heavier weights. You always want to be challenging yourself and break out of that comfort zone if you want to get results.

Cari Shoemate is a trainer, owner of Bombshell Bootcamp and fitness blogger at