If getting back into the gym is one of your New Year's resolutions, you'll want to read this before you begin expecting results. Research has found that many people who start new exercise programs—as is popular in January—see little to no improvements in their health and fitness levels, even after weeks of commitment to their new workout plan. An article in The New York Times details this phenomenon, noting scientists call these people "nonresponders"—individuals whose bodies simply don't respond to the exercise they're doing—and highlights a recent study that reports promising results.
This new study has shown that if you're not seeing improvement in health and fitness from your workout, switching to a different form of exercise or routine can inspire improved results. Initial studies performed in 2001 showed that when a diverse population was exposed to the same endurance training exercise regimen, performance improvements varied widely and some participants became even less fit. It wasn't until recently that these different forms of exercise training were used concurrently in a study to test if "nonresponders" in one regimen may become "responders" in another. The study found that when the participants were exposed to more than one type of fitness regimen, their fitness always improved.
"There is no one-size-fits-all approach to exercise," says Brendon Gurd, overseer of the study and associate professor of kinesiology at Queens University. "But it does seem as if there is some size that fits everyone." The strategy for determining which workout is right for you is through trial and error. Measure your fitness by engaging in a quick physical activity like briskly climbing several flights of stairs, and then check your pulse. After a month of your chosen workout, repeat the stair test. If your heart rate isn't slower, and the climb wasn't easier, you might be a nonresponder to your chosen workout routine.
Head to the comments to share your thoughts on these findings, and let us know your method for staying in shape.