What It Means If a Workout Isn’t Getting Easier

“If it was easy, everyone would do it.” Or so the saying goes. While they aren’t wrong—you should absolutely applaud yourself each and every time you coerce your sore legs and out-of-breath body to push through a workout class—that doesn’t help when you’re constantly struggling through a workout, waiting for the moment when the instructor yells “Andddd we’re done!” 

In fact, there could be a greater reason as to why you just don’t feel like class is getting any easier for you. If you’re thinking maybe you’re not fast enough, flexible enough or strong enough, let us stop you right there. Everyone struggles from time to time, but if you don’t feel like you’re improving class after class, there could be a greater reason why. So we decided to find out what those reasons could be.

We spoke to ClassPass instructors from different cities teaching different workouts to see what it could mean if a workout just isn’t getting any easier. If any of the following sounds like things you’ve experienced in class, you’re not alone. Read on to find out what the experts say you should do about it:

Make sure you’ve prepared enough

Although we often roll out of bed, throw on some yoga pants and hurry ourselves over to get to class on time, ensuring your body and mind are fully prepared to do a workout is essential. From how much sleep you’ve gotten to your level of stress, how you are feeling outside of class can significantly impact how you feel inside it. Sarah from Charleston Cycling Club tells us, “Make sure you are hydrated before class. This can majorly affect your performance and whether or not you leave the studio with that sweaty high. Stress at work, diet and sleep can all affect your workout.”

Get yourself checked out

If you’re typically well rested, hydrated and feeling stress-free during your workout but still really feel you’re struggling more than usual, it’s totally normal to grab an appointment with your doctor and make sure your health is in top shape. There could be a variety of things impacting your health that could affect class performance. Olivia from The Studio MDR suggests, “It may be worth checking in with your doctor about what could be going on that is causing the roadblock. It could be anything from allergies to certain foods, to something more internal.” Sarah agrees, “If the feeling lingers, get your iron tested. Especially in women this may affect your workout!”

Set realistic goals

We all want to be the healthiest, best versions versions of ourselves. While having fitness goals can be beneficial, it’s important to make sure what you’re striving towards is realistic for you. What is doable for someone else may not be as doable for you, so don’t beat yourself up about it. “Be realistic about the goals you are setting, understanding it will take at least six weeks to see results and notice any dramatic change,” Sarah points out.

Look at the bigger picture

Sometimes things aren’t so black and white. Just because you don’t necessarily feel like class isn’t getting easier, doesn’t mean you aren’t getting stronger. “Are you making healthier eating choices as a result of your new fitness routine? Are you sleeping better and generally less stressed? Can you finish that arm song on your spin bike without wanting to drop the weights? Acknowledge the small steps and I promise you will find the big results in time,” Sarah says. “All these little things that may not be as measurable are sure signs that the workout is having a positive impact, no matter how hard or difficult it may feel”

If it’s getting harder, you may actually be doing better

We know, it sounds ironic. But think about it: Working out is supposed to be hard. If it’s feeling too easy, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve conquered the exercise. It may just mean you actually aren’t doing it right. Many times, newcomers will feel a workout is easy because they’re still learning how to perform each move. Over time,, the better you understand and are able to execute it, the harder it’ll actually become. Mimi from The Bar Method says, “In Bar Method, improving means that the workout becomes harder, not easier. The more expert you are at the workout, the harder you can make it. Students who feel the workout is easy aren’t in the proper alignment and need to listen more attentively to their teachers.”

Renay from Bar Works agrees, “Honestly, I don’t think improving and feeling like the class is getting easier is the same thing. Most of our clients tell us that class actually gets harder for them as they get stronger and understand the mind-body connection. They are able to push themselves harder, understand which muscles are being used for each exercise and are able to fire those particular muscles as needed.”

Be patient with yourself

Patience is a virtue but a lack of it could also be the reason why you feel you’re not improving at class! “Be patient!” Olivia says. “Things don’t happen over night. The key is to stay consistent, show up and do your best every time. This doesn’t mean getting a personal best every time you work out, but trying your best not to phone it in and having an athletic integrity about working hard according to your capability. If you are doing all of this, keep it going and the body will catch up!”