I am in a total rut when it comes to working out. It just seems like I'm trying hard and not getting results. What should I be doing differently, if anything?

Dear Rocco,

I am in a total rut when it comes to working out. I do intense cardio kickboxing four times a week. After doing this routine for more than 12 weeks now and eating healthy (smaller meals four to five times a day), I still have lost very little body fat and weight.

I am five-foot-five and 160 pounds with 26 percent body fat (which seems bigger than my body actually looks). I have always been an athletic girl, and I personally still feel good about myself. It just seems like I'm trying hard and not getting results. What should I be doing differently, if anything?

-Shanna

You may be trying too hard. I know it sounds crazy, but you may be doing too much cardio kickboxing. This is a very common problem, and can be quite frustrating for many people - they're motivated to exercise, but their body just doesn't respond well to aerobic activity.

Too much aerobic activity can actually be detrimental to your fat-loss goals. See, your body is great at adapting to any stress, and although you may not think of it that way, exercise is a type of stress. The more aerobic exercise you do, the more efficient your body becomes at using fat as an energy source.

This means that after 12 weeks, you would have to work twice as hard to burn the same amount of fat calories as you did when you first started your exercise program. In other words, you'd have to take two classes a day, which I don't recommend.

What I do recommend is that you vary your aerobic activity. Do a mix of cardio kickboxing class, spinning, interval training on a treadmill (walk for two minutes, run for two minutes) and anything that you feel comfortable doing.

Also, please talk to a qualified fitness professional and get a strength-training program so you don't lose the muscle you already have. And no, cardio kickboxing does not maintain muscle. Resistance training does.

So don't get discouraged, and keep on keeping on. Consistency is the key to effective fat loss - and you will see fat loss, don't you worry.

Rocco Castellano is the founder of askROCCO Media, which provides boot camps, seminars and online fitness services at askROCCO.com. He is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine and has written "askROCCO Uncensored v1," available at bookstores everywhere. If you need a daily dose of Rocco, check out his blog at askROCCOblog.com