Why Am I Not Seeing Results?

by Mitch Davis

Many of us have struggled with reaching our goals. Whether this be a specific number on a certain lift, or more subjective in nature such as “getting stronger”. There are a few areas that we can look at to determine some potential reasons as to why you’re not seeing the results you want. This is by no means a comprehensive list and if you are dedicated to reaching your goals, I would suggest reaching out to a coach (shameless Power Train plug, I know). 

The first reason you’re not seeing results is because you’re not taking anabolic steroids. We all know that if you don’t see results within the first week, you should simply give up trying and just cheat by getting hopped up on as much gear as possible. All joking aside, there is something to be said about the psychological damage that social media brings about. If you’re spending all of your time comparing yourself to the TikTok influencer or your favorite bodybuilder, it is important to remember that the vast majority of them are on illegal substances and when they express how easy it is to come by “gains”, it certainly helps when you’ve got an extra boost from the copious ‘roids. Short version: Quit comparing yourself to the unrealistic peeps on the gram. 

For many of us, we need to embrace the sad truth that it takes a long time to see results. The first few weeks of training is coupled with cellular adaptations. Our “strength” gains have very little to do with muscular strength, and a lot to do with our central nervous system, learning the movement, and gaining confidence. We experience tremendous growth in a short period of time and then things slow down. We’re convinced it is our training, our coach, or some other variable, when in reality, your original “gains” were not muscular in nature. If you’ve just started working out and the gain-train has left the station, just be patient. 

You’re doing too much, at too high of an intensity, or too much volume. Too many folks think training to failure is the only way to get bigger and stronger. We need to understand that training to failure is probably not the best approach for the vast majority. Instead, train with intensity, at a level you can manage. This allows you to maintain the level of intensity day after day, and week after week. Quit sacrificing long-term gains for a short-term boost of dopamine due to your overly intense exercise routine. The inverse is obviously those of us who don’t train hard enough. Many of us want to see results, but don’t like the feeling of being pushed. Find the balance and you’ll experience results over the long haul. 

If you’re not seeing gains from a coach or program and you hop on to the next thing, chances are this is exactly why you’re not seeing results. Too often we become frustrated and hop from program to program too quickly. If you’re “changing things up” every few weeks because you think that’s how you’ll get results, you’re missing the point of progressive strength training. Effective and long-term results can take months, if not years. If you don’t like this timeline, revert back to strategy number 1. 

Your goals do not line up with your training plan. Far too often I hear athletes expressing their desire to be more athletic, yet train like bodybuilders. They train legs one day, arms the next, and upper body a third day. Although this is a fine training split, it is not beneficial for an athlete’s style of physical preparedness. When your training plan matches your expected goals, results will follow. There is nothing wrong with following a training plan you’ve downloaded from the internet, but if your only justification is that the person promoting it “looks jacked”, you might be missing a bigger piece as to why you’re not getting what you desire. 

The boring stuff, such as stress management, sleep, and proper nutrition are always the answer. We don’t like hearing this because it is so simple. If you eat enough protein and carbs, manage your stress levels, and sleep roughly 8 hours a night, your training goals will be much easier to meet. Put down the cell-phone and go to bed. Stay out of other’s business and stop overthinking. Eat your fish and broccoli. Train hard. Repeat this process for years on end and you’ll be a different (and better) person for it. 

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Mitchell Davis is the Director of Remote Coaching at Power Train Sports & Fitness.  He is a PhD candidate at Liberty University where he is pursuing his doctorate in Health & Exercise Science.  He has been a coach and educator for 13 years, serving in roles such as collegiate strength and conditioning coach, high school strength and conditioning coach, adjunct professor, personal trainer, and fitness consultant.  

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