If you’re not seeing great results when you exercise, this may be the reason

Now that the new year is here, you might have started working to get back into shape (or not, we don’t know your life!). Whether you resolved to run more, go to more classes, or try something new, great results will keep you motivated. But so many of us exercise without seeing results. Which can be frustrating! But now, experts think they have an explanation for that.

The problem might be your biology.

We know, that doesn’t sound encouraging. But it is. Because researchers think they’ve found a way to get around your biology and get the workout results you’re looking for.

Researchers found that different people respond differently to exercises.


In a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers from Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario and the University of Ottowa found that some people are “non-responders” to exercise. That means that exercise doesn’t give them the same boost in cardiovascular fitness. But, if you don’t respond to one kind of exercise, you may respond to another type.

The study followed 21 healthy women and men, who completed two types of workouts. They worked out in two separate training periods with a gap in between of several months. Half the group performed endurance training during one period while the other half did interval training. And then they switched for the second round.

They found that some individuals got better results from one workout type over the other.


Some people responded better to endurance training, and others responded better to interval training. What does that mean for you if you feel like you’re not getting results from your current workout? Switch it up!

If you’re mostly doing endurance training like long, steady runs, bike rides, swimming, etc. try interval training with fast, intense bursts and slow recovery. If you’re more into interval training but aren’t seeing results, try a longer, steady pace instead. Todd Astorino, PhD, a professor of kinesiology at California State University, who was not involved in the study, agreed with the study’s results.

He said, "The typical exerciser needs to be very aware of how they adapt to the particular regime that they are following. And if they do not feel that they are adapting, they need to change something."

And if you don’t know if you’re responding to your workout, try this test.


One of the researchers, Dr. Brendon Gurd, suggests measuring your progress with two simple studies. First, get on a treadmill and pick a specific pace for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, record your pulse. Then, pick a distance, like 2-3 miles. Run that distance and record how long it takes. Continue with your current workout routine for several weeks.

Then perform those two tests again. Your pulse should be lower in the first test, and you should run the distance faster in the second test. If neither of those are true, you’re probably not responding and should change up your routine.


And there’s also a side benefit to this information. Even if you’re not a “non-responder,” and your workout seems to be working, thinking this way can help you be more mindful of your activity. Making sure that you keep working hard and pushing yourself will always help you progress. And remember, when you start to feel frustrated, don’t give up, just change things up!