Have you been pumping iron and sweating it out in the gym for months now without any results? You’re putting in the work and have been consistent for a while, but just not seeing any gains? Then you could be what some call an ‘exercise non-responder’.
Scientists have known for years that not everyone reaps the same rewards from exercise; simply put, some people must work twice as hard to get half of the results of someone else.
Does this sound like you? Then read on to find out more about exercise non-responders.
So, what is an ‘exercise non-responder’?
There’s no scientific definition of what exactly makes an exercise non-responder, but generally, it’s someone who experiences little or no benefit from exercise. So, if someone is training regularly but doesn’t see any benefits, whether that’s building muscle, getting stronger, losing fat, improving endurance, decreasing blood pressure, or seeing fewer benefits in these areas than other people.
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However, this can be deceptive because you could fall into the non-responder bracket if you improve in some fitness areas but not all, or specifically, in the build gains, lose fat areas. A more accurate description could be low responders rather than non-responders.
How does a low responder react to exercise?
It’s unlikely that there are people who don’t see any better from exercise at all. However, they may not get the same or as much benefit from a particular practice as others do. However, research shows that everyone can achieve health benefits from improving their fitness through exercise.
Good news for low responders
While some people might be low responders to one kind of exercise, they may be high responders to other types. In fact, research has shown that people respond differently to different kinds of training. Something like spin might be great for some people and offer little-to-no benefit to others.
A study comparing the results from two training programs: cardio and weightlifting, found that some non-responders didn’t benefit from their first training program, but when they swapped to the alternative training program got some of the most significant gains. Even non-responders respond well to exercise when it is tailored to their unique physiology.
In addition, a study published in the Journal of Fitness Research also revealed that people who followed a training program tailored towards their goals and preferences experienced much greater results than those who followed a non-tailored program. Plus, research has shown that you can increase the benefits of your workouts by upping your workout intensity.
So, the great news is that even as a low responder to exercise, you need to do the right kind of exercise for the right amount of time, at the correct intensity and the most effective frequency, and you will see results. Plus, don’t forget that your ability to recover and adapt to your workouts is heavily influenced by lifestyle factors like sleep quality (and quantity), diet, stress, etc. Any of these variables can mess with your gains.
The bottom line
While not everyone benefits from the same kind of exercise equally, everyone can benefit from training. You just need to work out the best type of workout for you.
Even if you’re a non or low responder to exercise, you might be surprised how much your gains increased with 7-9 hours of high-quality sleep each night, plus managing any stress.
Also Read: The truth about alcohol and building muscle
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