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4 Warning signs that your workout isn’t working

Sarah Wassner Flynn is a New York City-based writer. She's contributed to magazines such as CosmoGIRL!, National Geographic Kids, Runner's World, Women's Health, Prevention and MetroSports New York. She is also the author of The Book of ...

4 Fitness Flaws

Have you been working out for weeks and haven't shed a pound? Are you unmotivated or just too tired to hit the gym day after day? Then you may not be approaching your exercise the right way. Here, we have four warning signs to look out for when it comes to making sure your workout is still working!

Bored Woman Exercising

Fitness warning #1: Excuses, excuses, excuses

Are you always finding reasons to skip the gym or itching to leave as soon as you arrive? If you answered yes, chances are you not emotionally invested in your workout routine. Whether you're bored, uninspired or just plain tired, it's time to rethink your fitness mode of choice. First, focus on the reason you're working out: Do you have a specific goal in mind? If not, figure one out — fast. Having a true purpose for putting yourself through those strenuous sweat sessions will give you extra motivation to get through them. Simply bored with the type of workout you've been doing? Then, change it up. Try one or a few of these 15 new workouts for the New Year and keep your fitness goals in mind to maintain your exercise enthusiasm.

Fitness warning #2: You're sick and tired after you exercise

Sure, you're supposed to be a bit worn out after your workouts. But if you're crippled by cramps, nausea and headaches or you just can't shake a sickness, you may be overtraining. Anxiety, insomnia and even decreased appetite may also be attributed to overtraining, which means your workouts push your body past its breaking point. As a result, your immune system is compromised, causing you to feel rundown — or worse. If you suspect you've been overtraining, take a few days off from exercise. Take naps and relax, get plenty of water, and be sure that you're eating a well-balanced diet. Then gradually return to a modified version of your fitness routine, limiting yourself to less frequent workouts than usual until you're feeling 100 percent again. And if you're not? See a doctor to rule out an illness.

Fitness warning #3: You're in a lot of pain

Muscle soreness is a given after a tough workout. But if you're feeling extreme pain, especially in your joints or in a concentrated area on any of your muscles or bones (like a spot on your shin or on top of your foot), you may be developing an exercise-related injury. Anything from overtraining to poor posture and wearing the wrong shoes may cause injuries like stress fractures, muscle tearsand even bulging discs — and these injuries need plenty of time to heal. So if your pain lingers well longer than a few days past your last workout, stall all sweat sessions and head to a doctor to get it checked out. (Click for tips on reducing your risk of exercise-related injury.)

Fitness warning #4: You're not seeing any results

No exercise plan is going to work overnight, and you've got to be patient when trying to tackle those extra pounds. But if you've been at it for a while (at least a month) and haven't seen any fruits from your labor, you probably need to switch things up. Refresh your routine by trying something new: Go for a swim instead of a jog (you'll get in just as good of a calorie blast); hit a Pilates class to tone your core instead of your same ol' ab exercises. Sometimes, all it takes is a little variety — and a little fun! — for those sweet results to finally show up. And don't forget to focus on your food, too. You need to burn about 3,500 calories to lose just one pound of fat, so make sure you're not overeating.

Tips to make fitness fun

Fitness quiz: What's your workout style?
Revive your workout: Get back into the fitness groove
Get motivated to exercise with mental fitness
5 Tricks to sneak fitness into your day

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