When It Comes to Exercise, Different People Get Different Results

Are you not getting outcomes out of your train program? Here’s what you are able to do that’s backed by science.


There isn’t any one-size-fits-all strategy to train. Two folks doing the identical exercises could get very totally different outcomes. One individual would possibly work laborious within the gymnasium for months with out a lot progress, whereas their coaching buddy will get stronger in every session.



There’s a time period in train research1 for somebody who does not get the anticipated outcomes from a selected sort of train: non-responder. In examine after examine, some individuals enhance loads, and a few do not enhance in any respect, even utilizing the identical program.1


It may be irritating for many who put within the effort and do not see the outcomes they need, however we are able to study from the analysis on this space to make sure that everybody will get the advantages of train.


Here’s an instance of how a lot variation there may be throughout people in response to a selected train program.


One hundred and twenty-one adults participated in a 24-week strolling program, exercising 5 occasions per week. Before the study2 began, they had been randomly break up into three teams:


  1. A low quantity, low-intensity group who walked for a median of 31 minutes per session at an depth that might be thought of reasonable based on train pointers. I am going to name this the low group.
  2. A excessive quantity, low-intensity group who walked on the similar depth however for about double the time in every session (a median of 58 minutes) as the primary group. I am going to name this the medium group.
  3. A excessive quantity, high-intensity group who walked for about 40 minutes in every session at a vigorous depth. I am going to name this the excessive group.


Cardio health was measured a number of occasions all through the examine. After six months, right here is how every group did:


  • In the low group, 62% of the individuals improved their health.
  • In the medium group, 82% improved their health.
  • In the excessive group, 100% of the individuals improved their health.


When you look nearer, there may be a variety of health modifications, even inside the teams.





These graphs present how every individual’s health modified after finishing this system. Each bar represents an individual’s response. You can see that some folks improved loads, others a bit of, and a few folks decreased.


  • In the low group, the vary of responses was between an Eight% lower in health and a 30% enchancment.
  • The medium group had a variety between a 10% lack of health as much as a 43% enchancment.
  • In the excessive group, the least responsive participant improved by solely 7%, whereas the highest responder improved by a whopping 118%.


Remember, inside every group, these folks had been doing the identical train program, however their outcomes had been very totally different.


This study3 targeted on endurance-type train for cardiovascular health, however this occurs in different sorts of train research as nicely, together with interval coaching and power coaching.


In one power coaching examine,Four for instance, the identical 12-week program resulted in modifications in power starting from no enchancment for one individual to a 250% improve for an additional. There had been additionally important variations in muscle progress between people, with one individual lowering their muscle measurement by 2%, whereas essentially the most responsive individual elevated by 59%.


This effect5 has additionally been seen in diet science, with folks following the identical food plan experiencing very totally different quantities of weight reduction, and generally even weight acquire.


The causes for these variations aren’t apparent. Of course, components like sleep, stress, diet, and incidental bodily exercise can affect how somebody responds to an train program.


Researchers attempt to take these items out of the equation by asking individuals to comply with a standardized food plan or having them put on exercise trackers after they’re not within the lab, however it’s not doable to completely management for them.


Genetic components additionally actually play a task, with research6 indicating that about 50% of the response to cardio train is the results of genetic variations.


What Can We Learn From This?

If you are one of many fortunate ones who occur to reply nicely to a selected train program, that is nice! If not, don’t fret. While these findings appear discouraging at first, there may be excellent news. If we delve additional into the analysis, it seems that there aren’t any true non-responders to train. Everyone does enhance indirectly.


If you do not get the outcomes you anticipate out of your train program, listed below are some issues to think about the next.


When it Comes to Exercise, Consistency Is Key

The only program for you is more likely to be the one you may do recurrently.


In the strolling examine, the researchers reported the health enhancements solely of the individuals who attended not less than 90% of the train classes over the six months.


Not everybody finishing the examine managed to do 90% of the classes. When the researchers went again and included these, who attended not less than 70% of the classes, the share of people that elevated their health dropped by about Four% within the low and medium teams and by about 12% within the excessive.


I might say that 70% continues to be pretty constant. It signifies that these folks exercised for a median of three.5 classes per week, each week, for six months. Most of them improved their health. More consistency is healthier, although. People who attended Four.5 classes per week (90% of the whole classes) had been much more seemingly to enhance.


Consistency might be essentially the most vital think about attaining the advantages of train. Do one thing, something, each week. If you wrestle with consistency, give attention to setting small, achievable objectives and creating sustainable train habits earlier than you are worried about any of the small print of this system you are doing.


Have the Other Pieces of a Healthy Lifestyle in Place

Get sufficient sleep, drink sufficient water, eat loads of nutritious meals, transfer as typically as doable all through the day, and handle your stress.


Unless you may have these items fairly nicely underneath management, you will not know if it is the train program that you simply’re not responding to, or if one thing else in your way of life is holding you again.


If One Method Doesn’t Work, Try Another

Maybe you may have wholesome way of life habits, and you’ve got been constant in your train for a number of months with lackluster outcomes. What must you do?


Try rising the depth or the period of every session. If we have a look at the strolling examine once more, a number of individuals did not enhance their health after six months of constant, moderate-intensity train.


Still, the entire folks exercising at the next depth did enhance. Even with reasonable depth, individuals who elevated their quantity (doubling the time spent in every session) had been extra more likely to see enhancements.


You may additionally do extra classes throughout the week. In one other study7, researchers discovered that when folks carried out 60 minutes of biking train 1-2 occasions per week for six weeks, not everybody improved their health.


In that examine, there have been additionally folks doing the identical biking exercises Four-5 occasions per week, and all of these folks did reply. Afterward, the individuals who hadn’t improved their health repeated this system. This time they added two extra classes per week, and all of them improved.


You may attempt a special sort of coaching. One examine had folks full a three-week endurance biking program in addition to a three-week interval coaching program in random order.Eight


They discovered that whereas some folks did not enhance their health with one program, these folks did enhance after they accomplished the opposite program.


For power coaching, a variety of set and rep protocols9 appears to be efficient for various people. If rising muscle mass is your aim, for instance, and the normal 4 units of Eight-12 reps have not labored for you, possibly your physique will reply higher to heavier weights and fewer reps or lighter weights and extra reps.


Treat Your Training As A Science Experiment

Exercise supplies a variety of various and very important advantages. It can enhance your physique composition, lower your threat of many ailments, enhance your efficiency, your mind perform, and your temper, and far more.


Even in case you do not see the particular outcomes you are anticipating, you’ll enhance your well being and health indirectly because of constant train.


For instance, researchers had individuals full a one-year cardio program, exercising for 45 minutes, three days per week. Four various kinds of cardio health had been measured on the finish of this system.


Again, there was an amazing quantity of variability within the particular person responses. And, a few of the individuals did not enhance in all 4 methods. However, each individual within the examine confirmed enchancment in not less than one facet of their health.10


Maybe you are specializing in the flawed measure of outcomes, or maybe you are not monitoring your progress intently sufficient to comprehend what you are attaining. If you do not preserve monitor of what you are doing and the way you might be progressing, you will not know whether or not or not your program is working for you.


Make an inventory of some of the advantages of train which can be essential to you and preserve monitor of every one.


  • If you are all for enhancing your well being, you would possibly preserve monitor of your resting coronary heart charge, blood stress, or blood sugar.
  • For physique composition, you can monitor your physique fats proportion or measurements.
  • If health and efficiency are essential to you, preserve monitor of your time to finish a sure distance, the quantity of weight you raise for every train, or the variety of push-ups or pull-ups you are able to do.
  • For the extra refined (however equally essential) advantages of train like temper, stress discount, focus, the incidence of ache, or vitality ranges, use a easy 1-10 scale to gauge how you feel every day.


Log this data in a pocket book or use a spreadsheet or your telephone. Follow a selected program for a number of weeks or months, assess how you might be responding, and make modifications if needed.


You’ll in all probability be pleasantly shocked at what number of methods you enhance your physique and your life with train.


Maybe your blood stress did not go down, however your temper could have improved, and your 5K time could have gotten higher. Perhaps you did not shed pounds, however your power elevated, and also you gained vitality and began sleeping higher.


These enhancements can inspire you to maintain going, and in case you do, likelihood is you will discover a technique of train that works finest for you.


Don’t Compare Yourself To Others

It ought to be evident by now that simply because your good friend obtained nice outcomes following a specific program does not imply you’ll too. Focus in your progress, not anybody else’s.


The Bottom Line

If you don’t see the outcomes you need, preserve making an attempt. If you continue to do not see outcomes, attempt one thing totally different. Finally, remember the fact that the science is obvious. Everyone responds.


If you retain at it persistently, you’ll obtain significant advantages.



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2. Ross, Robert, Louise de Lannoy, and Paula J. Stotz. “Separate Effects of Intensity and Amount of Exercise on Interindividual Cardiorespiratory Fitness Response.” Mayo Clinic, Proceedings 90, no. 11, (2015): 1506-1514.

three. Gurd, Brendon J., Matthew D. Giles, Jacob T. Bonafiglia, James P. Raleigh, John C. Boyd, Jasmin Okay. Ma, Jason GE Zelt, and Trisha D. Scribbans. “Incidence of nonresponse and individual patterns of response following sprint interval training.” Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism 41, no. three (2016): 229-234.

Four. Hubal, Monica J., Heather Gordish-Dressman, Paul D. Thompson, Thomas B. Price, Eric P. Hoffman, Theodore J. Angelopoulos, Paul M. Gordon, et al. “Variability in muscle size and strength gain after unilateral resistance training.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 37, no. 6 (2005): 964-972.

5. Gardner, Christopher D., John F. Trepanowski, Liana C. Del Gobbo, Michelle E. Hauser, Joseph Rigdon, John PA Ioannidis, Manisha Desai, and Abby C. King. “Effect of Low-Fat vs Low-Carbohydrate Diet on 12-Month Weight Loss in Overweight Adults and the Association With Genotype Pattern or Insulin Secretion: The DIETFITS Randomized Clinical Trial.” Jama, 319, no. 7 (2018): 667-679.

6. Ross, Robert, Bret H. Goodpaster, Lauren G. Koch, Mark A. Sarzynski, Wendy M. Kohrt, Neil M. Johannsen, James S. Skinner, et al. “Precision exercise medicine: understanding exercise response variability.” British Journal of Sports Medicine 53, no. 18 (2019): 1141-1153.

7. Montero, David, and Carsten Lundby. “Refuting the myth of non-response to exercise training: ‘non-responders’ do respond to higher dose of training.” The Journal of Physiology 595, no. 11 (2017): 3377-3387.

Eight. Bonafiglia, Jacob T., Mario P. Rotundo, Jonathan P. Whittall, Trisha D. Scribbans, Ryan B. Graham, and Brendon J. Gurd. “Inter-Individual Variability in the Adaptive Responses to Endurance and Sprint Interval Training: a Randomized Crossover Study.” PloS one 11, no. 12, (2016).

9. Beaven, C. Martyn, Christian J. Cook, and Nicholas D. Gill. “Significant Strength Gains Observed in Rugby Players After Specific Resistance Exercise Protocols Based on Individual Salivary Testosterone Responses.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 22, no. 2 (2008): 419-425.

10. Scharhag-Rosenberger, Friederike, Susanne Walitzek, Wilfried Kindermann, and Tim Meyer. “Differences in adaptations to 1 year of aerobic endurance training: individual patterns of nonresponse.” Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports 22, no. 1 (2012): 113-118.

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