Why you’re not losing weight with your PT

Are you one of these people SO frustrated that you are not losing weight even though you see a personal trainer?


I get it- you work really hard, you do it every week and your PT is great… I KNOW!


But did you know that once a week isn’t enough to promote weight loss? Neither is twice a week and while three times a week is perfect- it’s not the complete picture of what you need to do in terms of exercise and weight loss.

Firstly let’s not forget that stat we see every day on social media –“losing weight is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise”. I have no idea if this is actually a statistically proven stat but in practice I would say it’s fairly accurate, in fact as an exercise physiologist I don’t actually count on structured exercise as a significant to contributor to weight loss. I’ll tell you why – this tends to feed on the compensation system of trading food for exercise. The reality is that you can get significant weight loss results by just focussing on your diet and really this needs to get the most attention if you are serious about losing weight.

Of course- I am a HUGE advocate for exercise, however, it should be done more for its other health benefits rather than solely for weight loss. Benefits like reducing your cholesterol, risk of diabetes and heart disease, giving you strong bones and muscles, alleviating depression and anxiety, improving your brain function and lung capacity.

Exercise is the single most effective way to improve your health and well-being and should be part of everyone’s regular routine.

For exercise to be effective it needs to be done regularly- at least three times a week. To promote weight loss it will need to be either high intensity or completed almost every day. So simply seeing your trainer once to twice a week in a nutshell, is NOT enough to give you weight loss results!

There are however a few things that you may be doing post exercise that are not favourable for weight loss. Do you replenish your fluid with sports drinks that are full of sugar or use protein shakes to facilitate recovery? STOP doing that! You don’t need it and it can be the biggest waste of calories consumed in your day. If you are eating nutritious food from all food groups all your need is WATER. Just drink water you’ll be fine!

Secondly, it’s not uncommon for people to ‘treat’ themselves after a hard exercise session. This may be a larger portion size of carbohydrate and/or protein, higher calorie food choices (like fries) or a few extra indulgences like alcohol or sweets. Praise from your PT and self-accomplishment of a task is responsible for triggering an ingrained reward system we may have been bought up with- one that defaults to poor food choices! Unfortunately we often end up compensating the calories burned in a workout in a post workout indulgent meal or treat. Being aware of this trigger means you can better manage your response and be even more driven to eat healthy especially post exercise.

Apart from these post exercise compensations, what is actually far more important for weight loss than that 1 hour of exercise you do with your PT no matter how many times a week it is, is what you do in the other hundred hours of your week! I’m not just referring to exercise- it’s your incidental activity that you should be focusing on. Remaining active and achieving 10 000 steps per day is not only a better contributor to weight loss than structured exercise it also is better for your health. If you are looking to lose weight- look at the food you eat and how active you are throughout your day, layer in some regular exercise (with or without your PT) and you really will be ticking all boxes to achieve great health and as a consequence you will lose weight! Happy Days.


Contact an Accredited Exercise Physiologist for more information on how you can reach your goals and exercise right.