Why Isn’t My Waist Getting Smaller? How To Shrink Your Waist

Why Isn't My Waist Getting Smaller

Why Isn’t My Waist Getting Smaller? How To Shrink Your Waist

Your waist getting smaller should be one of the main forms of progress you’re measuring.

If you’re not taking waist measurements at least monthly, then you need to start doing this.

Now what if you are, and your measurements aren’t changing?

This article is going to help you figure out why your waist isn’t getting smaller.


Why Isn’t My Waist Getting Smaller?



I don’t usually do nutrition only coaching. The reason being, your workouts matter and will make a difference to your results.

Most of you want to lose fat and feel more confident in your body.

You want to be a leaner but stronger version of yourself and run around in a bikini without feeling self conscious.

You don’t want to be a smaller version of who you are now.

There’s a difference between fat loss and weight loss.

You can be losing weight without losing fat which isn’t ideal.

If you want to look and feel better you need to aim for fat loss. Some of you might need to lose weight as well. Many of you don’t.

Nutrition will help you get smaller and lose weight. But to really target fat loss you need to be doing the right kind of workouts too.

They need to complement your nutrition and vice versa. Things work smoothly and you’ll get the results you desire if everything is set up correctly. When I’m in control of both, I can make sure this happens.

Your waist getting smaller is the best indicator to know it’s all working- that you’re losing fat.

The reason I know training is so important is that I do have a handful of nutrition only clients. They have their own trainer that they pay extra to see in the gym a few times a week.

I had an interesting thing happen with one of them. Her trainer went away for 3 weeks and she was left with walking to do for exercise.

This client hadn’t been getting results with her trainer which is why she hired me to help with her nutrition. 

I told my client that walking is great and she should do that for her health. But if she wanted to get her desired result, a smaller waist and flat stomach, she’d have to keep up her workouts. I wrote her a program and she agreed to do it for the 3 weeks until her trainer got back.

The result: she lost 2 cm from her waist. Even though I had her eating more food.

Her trainer got back and she started her workouts again. After a month of doing her trainer’s workouts we took measurements.

The result: no change.

Nothing else had changed, only the training program.

I didn’t expect another 2cm to be lost from her waist. But I did expect something to change. My client was back to getting no results.

When I asked to see her workouts I could see why.

Her workouts were totally different to how I would program for her based on her body, skill level and goals.



If you want your waist to get smaller you need to be following a GOOD weight training program.

Ideally it will be customised to you. And it will be periodised.

Your workouts should include mostly compound exercises that train all the main movement patterns. There should be enough volume spread out over the course of the week. 

Compound movements are exercises like squats, deadlifts, chin ups and rows. Yes, you should prioritise these over ab exercises to get a smaller waist. You can’t spot reduce fat.

My client started up with a new trainer for 2 workouts a week and started doing my workouts for her 3rd one.

After one month her waist had gone down by another 2 cm.

The new program she was following took into account all the tips above.

There’s an art and science to program design. It’s not as simple as stringing a bunch of exercises together and calling it leg day.

Your training program matters! If your waist is not getting smaller, it’s highly likely your training is off and it could be due to your program.

Check out this article if you want more tips on writing your own workout program.



Maybe you have a good program but you haven’t been executing it properly.

Using correct form, tempo and choosing the right weight also makes a difference to the results you’ll get.

You need to be pushing yourself hard enough in each set of each exercise within the workout.

Your strength should be going up in some way each week.

How you measure this will depend on your skill level. If you’re a beginner and can’t squat or deadlift your own body weight, then nailing your form and learning the movement patterns should be your priority. Improving your technique each week is progress even if you’re not adding weight.

If you’ve nailed your form, you need to be pushing yourself to add a bit of weight, or some reps or sets each week. It doesn’t have to be for everything, but you should be able to for at least one exercise. 

In some cases it could be that your food intake is wrong too. 

Many of you try to eat as little as possible thinking that’s how you’ll get the best results. It’s not.

Or you’re eating “fairly healthy” thinking that’s all you need. It’s not. 

You need to be eating enough to fuel your workouts but not too much that you go over your daily energy requirements for your body and goal.

Another common reason your waist might not be getting smaller is water retention.

If you’re bloated or inflamed then this could skew your measurements and how you feel. You might think you’re not making progress but you are. You just can’t see because water retention is hiding it.

There are a number of reasons you could be holding onto excess water. It could be your menstrual cycle, or stress. Even if you don’t feel stressed, being in a calorie deficit is a stress on the body. You can learn more about how stress impacts fat loss here.

It could also be some gut issue or food intolerance you’re not aware of.

I have had this happen numerous times when I’ve started eating in a calorie deficit. I’ll be doing everything right, yet I won’t be able to see any progress because I’m so bloated. My bloating sometimes lasts for 2-3 weeks without going away. I wake up bloated and go to bed bloated. It’s not from food and it’s not fat. I really have to remind myself this because it can be very disheartening. If I didn’t know better it would be easy for me to think I’m doing something wrong and I need to eat less. But I know this will make it worse. So I stick to the plan and patiently wait for it to go away. It always does.

Note: If you’re concerned about your bloating you should go and see your doctor.



If training and nutrition is on point then the reason your waist isn’t getting smaller is that you’re not being consistent or patient enough.

You won’t make progress if you’re doing yoga instead of your workouts some weeks.

Yoga, HIIT, pilates, running, swimming etc; they’re all great to do for enjoyment but they shouldn’t come before your weight training if you want to shrink your waist.

Fat loss takes time. The leaner you are, the slower it will feel. Losing a centimetre from your waist over a month is good progress especially if you’re not overweight to begin with.

Don’t try to rush the process.

If you’d like some help with your fat loss journey, feel free to reach out here.