- You're Losing Weight
While weight loss isn’t the only indicator that your workout is effective, it sure is a nice perk. If you’re working out regularly and pushing yourself, you should be able to lose at least two pounds each week if you’re also making changes to your diet that contribute to at least a 500-calorie-per-day deficit.
- You're Happier
Are you feeling happier all of a sudden? Those rose-colored glasses you’re seeing the world through could be the result of you finding the right exercise routine. Exercise can boost your endorphin levels, giving you a feel-good rush, and it doesn’t take long to enjoy these effects. In fact, according to research published in Procedia — Social and Behavioral Sciences after just 8 weeks, male students who engaged in exercise twice a week reported being happier than their counterparts who abstained. And for more ways to make your routine more enjoyable, try these 40 Workouts You Can Do Without a Gym!
- You're Building Muscle
Are you suddenly seeing definition in places you didn’t realize you had muscles? Is your booty looking more like The Rock's by the day? Building muscle is a process, but the results often seem as though they appear overnight. If you’re getting stronger, more defined, or even verging on ripped, you know your workout is on the right track.
- You're Eating Better
You might be hungrier because of your workouts, but for many people, an effective workout actually means you eat better. In fact, researchers at Indiana University have found a link between increased exercise and better diet quality. If you’re fueling up on healthy proteins, fats, fruits, veggies, and whole grains, and ditching those highly-processed snacks, it could be a sign that you’ve found a workout that’s right for you. And for more ways to slim down fast, discover these 14 Ways to Lose a Pound a Day!
- You Have More Energy
Working out can certainly wear you out by the end of the day, but it’s also a pretty effective way of giving yourself more energy during your waking hours. The combined adrenaline rush and circulatory boost afforded to you by exercise can improve your energy and give you more focus throughout the day. In fact, a study published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics reveals that sedentary individuals who undertook an exercise program increased their energy levels in a short period of time.
- You're Hitting Your Goals Faster
Are your miles getting faster since you started hitting the gym? Can you work out for twice as long as you did when you first started exercising? Building endurance and hitting workout milestones are surefire ways to tell that your workout is effective and right for your body. And discover how to make exercise more enjoyable with these 20 Ways to Make Working Out More Fun!
- You're Committed to Quality Over Quantity
The right workout for you is one that you can commit to and commit to getting better at. If you can maintain a focus on quality over quantity, meaning you’re always trying to do better, but not necessarily trying to do more, it’s a good sign that you’ve found a workout that works for you.
- You're Thirstier
A tough workout usually means plenty of sweat. Sweating means you need more water. Rinse and repeat. If you find that you’re significantly thirstier after your workouts, it’s your body’s way of telling you that you need to rehydrate because you’ve lost a significant amount of water through sweat. And if you want to sip your way slim, discover the 8 Best Lose-Your-Gut Smoothies!
- Your Cravings Have Changed
Do you suddenly find find yourself dreaming of berries instead of cake? Do you have cravings for carrots instead of chips? Blame your workout. Researchers at Indiana University have discovered that individuals who exercised on a regular basis eat more fruits and vegetables than those who didn’t work out. And for more satisfying foods that won't pack on the pounds, discover the 20 Healthiest High-Fat Foods!
- You're Getting More Limber
Weight loss and improved endurance aren’t the only measures of an effective workout; if you find that you’re more flexible, it’s a good sign you’re doing something right. Improving your flexibility is a great benefit of exercise and an easy way to avoid injuring yourself during future workouts.
- You've Added Weight Training
Cardio has its place, but it’s unlikely you’re getting as effective a workout as you think if you’re not incorporating some kind of resistance training. Adding some weight-bearing exercise, or using your body as said weight, is a great way to make sure your routine is working to make you fitter and healthier.
- You're Wiped Out at the End of Your Workout
You might have more energy in general because you’re working out on a regular basis, but being completely exhausted after a class or run is often a good sign that you’re working out effectively and getting into your calorie burning zone. You don’t need to be ready to crawl into bed with your exercise clothes still on after every sweat session, but an occasional workout that produces those feelings of full-body tiredness is one that’s still challenging you. And find out how to improve your health in an instant by discovering these 6 Things That Happen When You Give Up Sugar!
- You're Reaching Your Target Heartrate
If you’re barely breaking a sweat and don’t feel that thumping in your chest, it could be a sign that workout isn’t working. However, if you’re reaching your target heart rate every time you hit the gym, it’s likely that your workout is appropriately challenging.
- Your Clothes Are Bigger
Even if you don’t see your weight plummeting, you may look and feel thinner and notice your clothes are fitting more loosely. If that’s the case, it’s a good sign you’re still in the calorie-burning zone. Since muscle has less volume than a similar amount of body fat, you might look thinner before those numbers on the scale start going down. And find out how to incentivize your exercise routine with these 42 Ways to Reward Yourself Without Food!
- Your Workout is Still Challenging You
Workouts can quickly become routine, and not in a good way. If your workout still makes you sore, still motivates you, and is still producing changes in both your body and mind, you know you’ve found a good one.
- You're Breathing Heavily
You don’t need to be panting throughout your workout to know it’s working, but that doesn’t mean you should be able to sing an aria while doing it. If you’re getting mildly out of breath while you’re working out—enough that you can still talk, but not so much that an all-out gab fest seems advisable—then your workout is probably just the right level of intense to keep you moving toward your fitness goals.
- Your Blood Pressure is Lower
Your doctor may know if your workout is working even better than you do. Effective workouts will often lower your blood pressure as your circulation improves and arterial plaque is reduced, so check in with your doc once in a while to know where you stand. And for more ways to get your blood pressure into a healthy zone, enjoy these 42 Foods That Fight High Blood Pressure!
- You're Working Hard
Working out may be fun, but at the end of the day, it should still be work. If you still feel like you’re putting in plenty of energy and effort into your workout weeks, months, or years into your routine, that workout is still working for you.
- Your Measurements Have Changed
While weight loss is often a side effect of exercise, it shouldn’t be the only way to measure your progress. If you’re building muscle, your weight may not go down as quickly as you expect—and in some cases, it can even go up. However, if your measurements are getting smaller, you can rest assured your workout is doing its job. And to improve your health and get your weight loss on track, cut these 40 Foods That Harm Your Thyroid!
- Your Digestion is Working at Full Speed
If your digestion has gone from wonky to wonderful, you might have your workout to thank. Exercise in virtually any form, from walking to kickboxing, can help speed up your digestion, helping you beat the bloat and look slimmer in no time. And for more ways to get your belly working like a well-oiled machine, turn to these 45 Foods For a Healthier Gut!
- You're Increasing Your Workout Intensity
Just getting to the gym is a feat, but once you’re there, coasting won’t cut it. Doing high-intensity training on a regular basis means you’re getting an undeniably effective workout—researchers at the University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, and St. Paul’s Hospital have even determined that high-intensity training is effective at improving the cardiovascular health of individuals with coronary artery disease.
- You're Sleeping Better
There are few things in life more satisfying than a good night’s sleep. Fortunately, an effective workout—one that challenges you both physically and mentally—can seriously tire you out by the end of the day, making it easy to get at least eight uninterrupted hours. In fact, research published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine reveals that there's a bidirectional relationship between exercise and sleep, meaning the more you work out, the better you'll sleep, and vice versa. And for more reasons to get a good night's rest, discover how Sleep Deprivation is Sabotaging Your Zero Belly!
- Your Muscles Ache
Are you feeling the burn? That’s a good sign your workouts are working. When you’re sufficiently challenging yourself, you’re often creating micro tears in your muscles, which your body then repairs, making the affected muscles bigger and stronger and leading to those aches after a solid workout. Just make sure you’re not pushing yourself to the point of pain—if you’re feeling legitimately hurt, it’s time to give yourself a break.
- You're Hungrier
While we often thing of exercise and diet going hand-in-hand, research suggests that the former may actually make the latter more difficult. Research conducted at the University of Ottowa’s School of Human Kinetics reveals that exercise intake tends to be correlated with increased caloric intake among women, so if you find yourself hungrier or eating more often, it could just be a sign that your workout is doing its job. And keep your weight loss on track while treating yourself by enjoying these 45 Foods That Conquer Cravings!
- You're Happy to Go Back
The wrong workout is one you dread, one you can barely get out of bed for, or one you want to finish the second it starts. If your workout makes you feel better and makes you eager to return day after day, you know you’ve found the one.