Feature Image by Limor Zellermayer

So you’ve been putting in the hours each week to get yourself in tip-top shape. You may have even started a new workout regimen. While you know it’s pretty impossible to see results overnight, at some point, you may find yourself wondering whether your hard work is paying off. 

Sure, physical changes to your body are great indicators that you’re on the right track. In fact, Lisa Herrington, ACSM-certified personal trainer and founder of FIT House Davis tells FabFitFun that it’s completely normal to feel discouraged with an exercise program if you aren’t seeing results. 

“The first two weeks of a program can often be the hardest as bad habits are being broken, new behaviors are being formed, and it may be too soon for noticeable physical results,” Herrington says. “This is when focusing on how exercise makes you feel can help you stick with your sweat sessions.” 

If you’ve been working hard and you haven’t seen much change, here are other ways to tell that your workouts are actually working. 

You’re feeling happier and much more optimistic.
If you’ve noticed that your mood has improved since starting your workouts, that’s a really good sign. According to Herrington, exercise releases endorphins, which are hormones that improve mood, boost energy, and trigger a positive feeling both physically and emotionally.

“Write down how you feel before a workout (anxious, nervous, tired, calm, excited) and then write down how you feel after the workout,” she says. “Most likely the exercise will make you feel happier and healthier and the longer you commit to regular exercise, the more it becomes an essential part of your weekly routine and overall well-being.”

You feel more energized throughout the day.
There’s no doubt, getting into shape can be tiring for the first few weeks. However, Heather Stevens, master instructor at premier fitness boutique, Studio Three, tells FabFitFun, “You’ll know you’re on the right track when you feel the serotonin rush post-workout. So be patient; if you’re a fitness newbie, this may take a few weeks of consistent training to get to, but it’s worth it.” 

You’re sleeping a lot better.
If you find yourself feeling refreshed to the point that you don’t need an extra cup of coffee in the morning, that’s a sign that your workouts may be doing some good. When you exercise consistently, you’re more likely to have a better night’s sleep. 

“Exercise turns up our internal body temperature, which takes several hours to come back down to normal,” John Fawkes, NSCA-certified personal trainer, tells FabFitFun. “Your brain actually registers that gradual temperature readjustment as a signal to relax and wind down, making you feel sleepier and then resting deeper.” 

Your typical pace or weights are starting to feel comfortable.
When you’re working out consistently, it’s important to pay close attention to how your body feels as you work out. “If the weights you’re lifting or the pace you’re running feels a little easier than the week before, it’s a great sign that you are building endurance and/or strength,” Stevens says. When that happens, be sure to pick up the pace or start lifting heavier weights. You’re ready for more!

You’re thinking a lot clearer.
Regular exercise can help improve your cognitive abilities. “This means we’re likely to be able to pay attention for longer, show a greater capacity for planning and coordination of daily activities, and make better decisions,” Eamonn Leaver, psychologist and fitness expert, tells FabFitFun. 

You’re actually looking forward to your workouts.
Chances are, you’ve dreaded getting up early to go out for a run. According to Stevens, even the most experienced athletes and fitness pros have their low-motivation days. But if you find yourself actually looking forward to some of your workouts, that means that you’ve created a great routine for yourself. 

“Workouts should be both mentally and physically beneficial — so if you find yourself excited to hit the pavement or the gym, you’ll reap the benefits of your workout,” Stevens says. “Alternately, if you find yourself dreading most of your workout days, it’s time to switch things up. Try a new activity until you find what works for you!”

What are some of your favorite workouts? Let us know in the comments below!

xx, The FabFitFun Team