Results can require the most simplest of things to institute. Try these things before anything else.
Here are some things that I commonly see that helps sabotage any results:
If you are working out but not seeing results, you may not be sticking to the program long enough to SEE results. Your body keeps receipts of everything that happened to it previously.
So that means...
if you were a chronic dieter (or yoyo dieter);
or not sticking with a rounded program for any length of time;
or maybe you've done a combination of these two things;
or maybe you're someone who has done only primarily cardio;
Your body holds on to those receipts.
Its job is to keep you metabolically sound, or in homeostasis. Your body tries to maximize anything it's served. It's primary job is to keep you alive and keep you as healthy as possible.
If/When you've done all these different things beforehand (& most of us have), even though your end goal might be to lose weight, or to lean out, or do any combination of these things, it's going to do what's best for you, because it's thinking longevity.
That may include holding on to fat a little bit longer. You may be most likely working against what your body is trying to do for you because it doesn't know the end goal you're trying to achieve. It's going to choose the scenario that keeps you healthy long term.
Coax the body and it responds; Force the body and it reacts.
- Coach Scott Abel
By not sticking with a program long enough because you're not seeing results very quickly is a common mistake. Switching over to another program because you think the one that you're currently doing is not working, only prolongs weight loss or the results you are seeking.
For some people that could be two weeks, for some people that can be six weeks, or six months or even all the way up into a year. It truly depends on your body's history.
If you're not giving your body time to adjust and adapt with a realistic and well rounded program, it's going to take some time for your body to see results, of your current program.
How long should you follow a program?
It depends, and is different for each person. Working with a professional can get you to your goals much faster.
It is really important for you to lift heavy. Not all the time, because that that produces injuries. But a well rounded program should include, very heavy weights (FOR YOU) at least 40% of the time. This means lifting weights that are at least heavy enough to produce struggle for the last 2 - 3 reps of a 5 - 8 rep set.
When you have heavy weight training as part of a rounded program, you're building and increasing the density of your muscles and your bones. Not only will you look aesthetically pleasing sooner, but you will be keeping yourself healthy as well as increasing your longevity.
As we age, strength training helps with balance, bone density, and strengthening tendons; decline in these three main things plague us as we mature.
If we don't make it a point to add strength training, we fall susceptible to the increased chance of breaking bones when we take a tumble because of lack of balance. It also keeps our mobility & vitality intact & improves muscular coordination .
When we make building muscle a priority, we will be able to move more so we can continue to move. The more we move, the more we are able to move, the less we move, the less we are able to move.
Adding strength training is essential for safety and longevity.
"Toning and tightening" comes faster when you challenge yourself often with heavy weights. Lifting heavy helps to increase your metabolic rate because it builds muscle quickly.
Muscle helps you burn more calories. The more muscle you build, the more calories you burn, even at rest.
It goes without saying that walking is really good for you. I'm using walking as an example because it's the solution that most people choose as their cardio. It's free and the most that is required is a really great pair of shoes, and the great outdoors (or maybe a treadmill, if you already have one), so it's very cheap and accessible.
The only flaw in the plan is that it's the only thing done. That's why doing workouts from home are a really great addition. You can use them to round out a heavily based cardio program and it's economically feasible.
I'm sure you're aware already of the many, MANY benefits of strength training. Muscles adapt to all kinds of resistance, burns far more calories than steady cardio activities, and burns calories DURING the strength training activity AND while resting.
In other words, as soon as you cease that cardio activity, you are no longer burning calories, but muscle burns calories ALL THE TIME.
It's probably best to think of your cardio training as strengthening your cardiovascular system, getting nutrients to circulate, and providing support for our systems (ex: skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, lympatic) to collaborate, rather than thinking of it PRIMARILY as a weight loss tool.
Combining resistance training with a cardio routine as well as a flexibility routine, rounds out a solid program.