6 Reason Why Your Work-Outs are Not Working

1. Sleep

Proper rest is the most commonly overlooked elements of your work-out. You put all that time in the gym, it is important to also work hard to cultivate an environment to allow your body to heal. Your muscles do not grow when you are working out. Your body changes and develops when you are resting, specifically in deep sleep. Deep sleep or stage four sleep is called REM or rapid eye movement. This is the stage your body does most of its healing, recovery and growth. It often takes 70 to 90 minutes of sleep before you can get into REM sleep. Therefore, it is critical that you have a good night sleep of at least 7 hours of undisturbed sleep.

If you are not allowing your body to rest then you are just putting stress onto your body and eventually you will cause yourself to burn out.

2. Your Diet

It’s difficult to outwork a poor diet. If you are eating junk food consistently and feeding yourself an excessive quantity of unhealthy calories (burgers, fried foods, sugary snacks) then your body is not going to have the nutrients that it requires for sustained growth. If you are feeding your body pure junk food then it is going to have a high quantity of saturated fats, empty calories, chemicals and processed sugar in your body. These types of food cause an excess of insulin in your body and insulin is what stores fat.

In addition, for you to boost your fat burning hormones, you need muscular development. For your muscles to grow, you need to fuel your body with the proper nutrients that it requires. This comes in the form of the three macros and four micronutrients. They are water, carbs, proteins, lipids, vitamins and minerals. A diet full of nutritious food will help your body heal and recover.

3. You are only doing cardio
If your work-out is only slow steady state cardio (Jogging, cycling, sending time on the elliptical) then you must adjust your workout. When all you do is slow steady stake cardio, you are causing your body to develop a hormone imbalance. Hormones such as leptin is created in the muscles and they how your brain reacts to certain food. If your body has an imbalance in this hormone, it may just continue to tell your body that you are hungry and keep eating and piling on weight.

It’s important to mix up your work out so that you are getting both muscular development as well as cardio endurance. This way, you stimulate your muscle growth and lower your fat burning hormones to prosper. By only performing aerobic work-outs, you are not building your muscles which is what stimulates leptin growth.

4. You are setting unrealistic expectations
Your body isn’t a machine, you can’t expect to see results overnight instantly. This is especially true if you only started working out very recently. For example, if you have been slightly overweight for 10 years, and you set the goal where you want to lose 5 lbs. every single day for 1 week straight.

You should ask yourself, is this realistic? No, this is completely unrealistic.

Sometimes when we set goals that are completely unrealistic you will only disappoint yourself and put yourself in a negative feedback loop.

What you should do is understand the amount of results your body can be expected to attain in a reasonable amount of time. Let small goals that are attainable so when you attain them, you feel good then you can step it up and keep growing.

5. You aren’t working hard enough.

Working out is meant to challenge you. It’s not meant to kill you to the point where you never want to train ever again it does need to challenge you a little bit. If all you are doing is walking on the treadmill for 1 hour, and you wonder why you have seen little to no results then you probably need to reconsider your work out.

During your workout, you can use your heart rate as a measurement of how hard you should be working. Your heart rate should be in the approximately 75% - 80% of your age, sex and build group.

6. You are doing the same routine repeatedly.
Your body is a mechanism that adapts, that is how it learns and grows. By giving your body the same workout repeatedly, it’s going to develop the same type of results. For you to grow, you need to continue to increase the level of difficulty for your body to grow and get stronger. This is just how the human body works.  You will push yourself to where you are slightly uncomfortable, because after you stay here for a while, it will become easy. Then you’ll need to push a little bit more. This is how you will elevate yourself to that new level.


Cam Tang Poy B.A is a Kru (instructor) at York Muay Thai in North York, Toronto. He began training Muay Thai in 2007 under Kru Yai Jenypher Lanthier (Head instructor of York Muay Thai). Since then, he has competed as an amateur fighter both in Canada and the United States, and now focuses on developing the students and athletes at York Muay Thai. He is also the director of their Kids Muay Thai program. In 2010 and 2011, Cam taught the Muay Thai program at York University’s Tait McKenzie Fitness Center, as well as Boot Camp classes at its Vanier College. In 2012, Cam became an Ontario Certified Teacher, completing his education at the University of Toronto. Today, he has the privilege of living his passions 24/7. Working in Toronto schools during the day and training Muay Thai students by night has pushed him to continue learning and growing. He loves every moment of it.