Pushing past a plateau!

2013Mar18_ExerciseGeneral_AHave you ever pushed yourself so far, only to grind to a sudden halt on the path to your goals?  You might have gotten so far along that you simply don’t want to give up your journey and the possibility of reaching your destination. And being stuck in the same place can be frustrating  in an exercise program, especially if you are no longer seeing ongoing results. If you are experiencing this in your exercise regime then you’ve probably reached an exercise plateau. What you need to do now is find a new direction to get you above and beyond this flat hump.

Before you take steps to get over a fitness plateau, do you know what it is?  In essence, it’s when your body tells you it’s bored with the same old exercise routine and that it’s no longer having the effect that it once had. Your body is adaptable and after too much of the same style of exercise and it simply adapts and gets used to it. This means that your metabolism is no longer being stimulated.

How do you climb above a plateau?
If you don’t do anything you’ll likely continue to see minimal changes to your body and ultimately lose your motivation. A plateau can create stagnation but there are simple ways to move on:

A change is as good as a rest
Whatever you’ve been doing, do something different. Shake up your fitness regime, workout in a different way than you’re used to, and if you’re not sure which direction to go in then seek help. Professional fitness instructors understand what a plateau is and how you can quickly springboard back into a proactive, effective routine.

Up the ante
Add some intensity. Interval training is often a good way of getting your body reactivated, as can a progressively more intense cardio workout. You might want to change the speed, the weight or resistance to create a new challenge. Look at your routine and find areas where you could make small adjustments that will really change how your body responds.

4 week fitness shifts
Add in some changes every few weeks. This is a way of avoiding a plateau  in the first place. Changing your cardio workout or which equipment you use, can be refreshing. You don’t have to throw your routine out the window each month. Simply adding in some new elements can work wonders. Also, if you manage to overcome a plateau you might find that you don’t need to change too much to keep your body guessing and responding.

Built in challenges
Whatever exercise you do it helps if there is a progressive aspect to it, such as built-in challenges that smoothly take you to the next level without your metabolism dropping off. If you keep running the same route each day, for the same amount of time, then after a while there’s no real challenge.

Take a break
Rather than increase intensity you might need to simply take a break. Don’t see a plateau as an indication that you have reached some upper limit of your own capabilities. You haven’t! However, burnout and not allowing yourself enough recovery time can be detrimental too and a short break away from exercise might be just what the fitness instructor would order!

Strength training
Look not just at mixing up your routine and making changes, but also ensuring that you are adding in variety is a good idea too. Strength training can help keep you moving  but you need to keep adjusting this style of exercise too as it is easy to find you’ve reached a plateau.

Is it your whole workout that’s the problem or one specific area that’s holding back your progress? Look at your recent exercise history and see where changes can be made, or where you can introduce a new variation. You might only have to make slight adjustments to get over this hurdle.

Don’t overdo it!
In a bid to make sure that a plateau is never part of the plan it is all too easy to add too much weight, resistance and challenge too quickly. While muscle confusion is what you’re aiming for you don’t want to overdo it or your muscles simply won’t be able to keep up and respond. Strategically solid and sensible is the way to go.

Have you reached an exercise plateau? Do you need a boost to get your fitness levels moving in the right direction? Get in touch if you need a plan that will work for you.

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