Why am I Working Out but not Losing Weight?
While working out regularly is often an effective weight-loss strategy, it isn’t a guarantee you’ll shed pounds. If you’re working out but not losing weight, consider changing your workout routine — and check to make sure your diet is on track.
Too Much Muscle Gain
If you’re not shedding pounds, the type of workout you’re doing may be a culprit. If you’re participating in mainly resistance training exercises, such as weightlifting, you’re likely gaining lean muscle mass –which actually weighs more than body fat. The position stand of the American College of Sports Medicine is that resistance training does not enhance weight loss. The good news is even if you’re not losing weight, regular weightlifting should help you achieve more muscle definition, boost your metabolism, and reduce chronic disease risks.
Lack of Cardiovascular Exercise
If you’re not participating in cardiovascular exercise regularly, you’re missing out on an ideal form of weight-loss exercise. A study published in 2012 in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that study subjects who participated in aerobic, or cardiovascular, exercise lost more weight and body fat than individuals who just participated in resistance exercises. Researchers who conducted this study concluded that while resistance training increases lean muscle mass, doing cardiovascular exercise is the best way to lose weight. Try jogging, swimming, biking, or using an elliptical machine.
Short Workout Durations
Though it’s often difficult to find time to fit long workouts into a busy schedule, exercising for short durations may be hindering your weight loss progress. It is the position stand of the American College of Sports Medicine that exercising 150 to 250 minutes per week provides modest weight loss, while getting more than 250 minutes of exercise in weekly is associated with significant weight loss — and helps keep lost weight off. To meet this weight-loss goal, you could work out for 60 minutes five days weekly, or exercise for 50 minutes six days per week.
Regardless of how much you’re working out, you won’t lose weight if you’re eating too much. To lose about 1 pound per week, you have to burn off 500 more calories than you eat daily. Ways to avoid overeating include drinking water before meals and snacks, cutting out sugary drinks and sweets, boosting fiber, and increasing dietary protein. Keeping a food journal is also associated with weight loss, according to a study published in 2012 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Choose a variety of vegetables, low-fat dairy foods, lean meats or soy products, skinless poultry, seafood, whole grains, egg whites, legumes, nuts, seeds and plant-based oils.