If you've hit a plateau and are no longer seeing results from your workouts, it's not always because you ate too much at lunch, or because you're just not an early riser.
Sure, diet and exercise consistency matter, but there may be other habits that are interfering with your goals. Habits that you don't even realize are sabotaging your efforts.
To make sure you're getting the most from each sweat session, we tapped 11 top trainers for their tips on how you can set yourself up for fitness success.
You're Too MonotonousAmanda Butler, instructor at The Fhitting Room 1 of 12
"If you find yourself doing the same workout routines—with the same weight—and spending hours in the gym with no results, it's time to take it up a notch. For example, instead of doing three sets of 15 squats and three sets of 15 shoulder presses (with rest between each set), try combining the two exercises to make it a compound move (known as a thruster) and do as many reps as possible for time. This is the basis of a HIIT workout; always changing and always challenging! That's why they're so effective!"
You're Doing Workouts You HateBethany Lyons, co-founder of Lyons Den Power Yoga 2 of 12
"I constantly see clients doing workouts they hate because they think they have to. If your schedule is filled with workouts you don't like, the chance that you end up skipping them increases greatly! There are so many different types of effective exercise programs and classes out there (swimming, rock climbing, dancing, one-on-one training, boxing, Spinning, yoga, etc.) so find something—or better yet, a handful of things— you love and get your sweat on! And don't totally neglect one type of training just because it's not your favorite. Instead, find a way to do it that feels good for you."
You're Starting With The Wrong MindsetAndia Winslow, founder of #WinslowWay, conditioning and senior coach at Mile High Run Club 3 of 12
"Many folks psych themselves out before their workout regimen even begins. The 'I'm not ready yet,' or 'I have to get fit before I can go to the gym,' mentality is the biggest saboteur that I've encountered in my professional experience. Conversely, other folks jump out of the gates too hard and fast. In an attempt to make up for lost time or to make quick gains, they find themselves overworked and often times injured thereby relegating themselves back to the sidelines. If you find yourself thinking these things, remember to remind yourself one day at a time, one gain at a time."
You're Always Taking The Same ClassJulia Zygnerski, coach at EVF Performance 4 of 12
"If you have one hour to dedicate to working out, don't do the same thing every day. Your body ends up adapting to the same routine and you stop seeing results. Instead, find workouts that are constantly varied and incorporate both strength and conditioning, like HIIT classes, which will maximize your results with quick bursts of all-out effort. Yoga and mobility classes also help with flexibility and can keep you injury-free. Participate in workouts that challenge your body and take you to higher fitness levels."
You're Winging ItKC Sklar, instructor at SoulCycle 5 of 12
"If you want to see results and maintain them, consistency is key. Your long-term fitness relies on regular exercise, not just a few hardcore weeks before a beach vacation. To make your workouts add up to real results, make a plan. I encourage clients to plan out workouts for the entire week on Sunday evenings and commit to class sign ups, training sessions or even block off time slots for a walk, run or mid-day stretch."
You're Not Thinking About NutritionSarah Koste, private personal trainer in New York City 6 of 12
"I cannot stress how important it is to fuel your body for your workouts—pre-workout, post-workout and throughout your day. Think of your body as a machine that needs fuel to run and it's your job to pump it with efficient nutrition. A good way to think of your nutrition is as a complete lifestyle change rather than 'dieting'. Consistency is what gets results—with nutrition and workouts—and that turns into a lifestyle. We have to set ourselves up for success and that starts with fueling properly."
You're Skipping a Warm-UpColleen Conlon, group fitness instructor at Equinox 7 of 12
"I used to start my workouts by jumping on the treadmill and ramping up the speed without stretching or [foam] rolling first. I got away with this for years. But as I got older, I began to feel a lot of knee pain when jumping right into my workout. I ended up in physical therapy and couldn't workout the way I wanted to for a year. I realize now how important it is to warm up before every workout to prevent injury and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Even just a few minutes of jumping rope and dynamic stretching cam prime your body for exercise."
You're Treating Yourself Post-WorkoutArielle Childs, instructor at Row House NYC 8 of 12
"After teaching evening classes I'm so hungry when I get home that I want to scarf down anything and everything. Not only did I end up making poor food choices, but I was also eating a lot [of food] right before going to bed. I'd end up having a restless night's sleep—which affected my workout performance the next morning. Now, I always keep a light, healthy snack around the house that's ready for me when I get home—having a food plan eliminates unhealthy bingeing."
You're Not Logging Enough SleepLauren Williams, instructor at Tone House 9 of 12
"One of the biggest obstacles I see with my clients—and admittedly, often myself—when it comes to overall health, is lack of sleep. Most of my clients live very busy lives and sleep often gets pushed to the back of their lengthy to-do lists. Then they wonder why they feel so fatigued during and after their workouts, why their performance is declining or why they are getting injured. Sleep is critical for strength and recovery. You need to give your body a chance to rest, reset and recover in order to get stronger."
You're Failing to Be PresentAndrea Speir, founder of Andrea Speir Pilates 10 of 12
"One of the greatest things about exercising—but also one of the most essential and commonly forgotten elements—is that you can leave your day at the door. When you're at the gym or studio you should be focused on your workout, but that's easier said than done when you've got something intense going at work or in your relationship. I've found with my own workouts, as well as with my clients, that when our minds start to drift back to whatever is weighing on us, the muscles stop engaging as deeply as they should. So when it comes time for working out, try your best to focus on what's happening in the moment."
You're Forgetting to Cool It DownLiz Barnet, head trainer at Uplift Studios 11 of 12
"The number one thing I see clients doing that sabotages their workouts is skipping a cool-down. The purpose of your cool-down should be to help lower your heart rate and to stretch the body after a workout. This will assist your body in recovering more quickly and efficiently, which translates to better athletic performance. Just five to 10 minutes will do the trick!"