Is Exercise Getting You Nowhere? This Might Be Why

Don't worry, your scale isn't broken. There's a reason why your workouts aren't, well, working.


If you diligently hit the gym every day, but you’re not seeing a change in your muscle tone or body shape, you may be a non-responder. What does that mean exactly? Joselynne Boschen, Nike Master Trainer and Fitness & Lifestyle Expert at health app Lifesum, likes to refer to this situation as hitting a plateau in your exercise regime.

Thankfully, being an exercise non-responder isn’t a lifelong sentence; The trick might just be switching up your exercise routine. Practice different types of exercising such as cardio, high-intensity interval training, and strength and endurance training, and, of course, keep tabs on your diet.

“When your body gets used to doing something in any pattern, it will stay in that state of consistency,” Boschen said. What Boschen means by this is that your body adapts and gets used to the routines you put it through. Therefore, if you’re burning a certain number of calories every day your body will think that is the norm, and you won’t see results.

To get those visible results, one of the most important factors—besides the obvious diet and exercise—is making sure you rest. “In order for muscle and definition to show, you need the recovery,” Boschen said. A problem with many non-responders is that they over train and don’t allow time for their body to recuperate. Consistently adding new workouts that you’re doing too frequently and not watching the foods you eat can be counterproductive.

But how do you know if your new workout isn’t working either? What if you’re a non-responder to that one too? When you start a new workout routine, check your pulse—that’s your baseline number. If that number hasn’t gone down after a month, says the New York Times, it’s time to go back to the exercise drawing board.

Bottom line: Educate yourself on what type of exercise is best for your body and lifestyle and start off slow. With time, rest, and diet changes will come results. Need some extra motivation? Try these 11 tricks.

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Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is the Assistant Digital Managing Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 with a B.A. in Journalism. When she’s not writing for or keeping the 650+ pieces of content our team produces every month organized, she likes watching HGTV, going on Target runs, and searching through Instagram to find new corgi accounts to follow.