Generally speaking, we are happier when we are making progress. When we stop making progress, like during a fitness plateau, we tend to get easily frustrated. Whether it’s weight loss, building muscle, or learning a new skill, the key to overcoming a standstill in progress is variety.
According to research, a body will adapt to a fitness regimen within six weeks’ time, leaving you with the feeling of stagnant progress. Mixing up your routine will spur your muscles and body into growth again and help you to continue making advancement toward your goals.
Try new exercises.
Repeating the same routine week after week can lead to a fitness plateau. Your body gets used to the exercises and needs to have the muscles worked differently. If your usual routine calls for squats, switch things up with lunges. Do you normally attend spin classes? Try mixing in Zumba or Kickboxing. And if you really want to shake up your workout, sign up for a boot camp! By adding variety to your list of exercises, you are encouraging your muscles to grow.
Slow things down.
That seems contradictory, right? Workouts are supposed to be intense, raising your heart rate to make progress. While it’s true that an increased heart rate during exercise offers a range of fitness benefits, sometimes you need to kick it down a notch. Weight training is the perfect example. If you’ve hit a plateau, try slowing down each rep, particularly while lowering the weight. By doing this, you will keep your muscle under tension longer, and increasing the challenge of the exercise.
Mix it up.
Chances are your regular routine not only consists of the same exercises, but also the same order in which you knock out the exercises. By mixing up the order of your weight training routine, you’ll stimulate your muscles at different times. For example, doing pushups after you’ve worked the rest of your upper body will be much more challenging versus doing the pushups first thing.
Spend your non-workout days being active. We’re not suggesting adding more time on the treadmill, rather simply being active doing things that you enjoy. Walks through the park or at the beach with a friend, your family, or even your best four-legged pal. Take your bicycle for your next trip to the bank. Snowing outside? Strap on some snowshoes and go for a hike. Take the kids sledding or build a snow fort. Crummy weather? Spend an hour mopping the floors and washing the windows. Keeping active on your “off” days will not only keep you moving and entertained, it’ll also help you burn some calories without wearing you down during your recovery time.
While a fitness plateau can be frustrating, they aren’t permanent. With the help of these tips you’ll be able to break out of your rut and be on your way to reaching your goals in no time.
This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.