Have you already exercised and lost the weight you wanted to lose? Are you finding that the benefits of your efforts are becoming less obvious? It could be that you are experiencing a fitness slump. Here are eight ways to blow past plateaus.
First, make sure subtle changes aren’t negating the hard work you do in the gym or outdoors or wherever. If you were losing or maintaining weight, but have recently gained a few pounds, do some detective work to discover where the extra calories are coming from. As long as you haven’t slacked off or drastically changed your routine, don’t blame your workout.
The routine you do today burns the same number of calories that it did a month ago. You have to take a good look at your lifestyle to find possible explanations for the plateau. Calorie-burning doesn’t occur during exercise sessions only. Do not rely on things to be delivered; shopping on foot is exercise. Even switching from a backless chair to a more supportive one can mean a hundred or so fewer calories expended per day. In thirty-five days, that adds up to one pound of body weight.
Skip the Rewards
If exercising makes you feel virtuous, than perhaps you’re habitually rewarding yourself in subtle ways. Larger meals, snacks or a beer after an intense workout can negate the calories you burn. Driving rather than walking or going to bed early are rewards that mean you burn fewer calories by the end of the day.
Improve Your Form
If you’re shuffling through the same cardio or weight routine that you did last year and can do it with your eyes closed, you may be using improper form. Form is imperative to the intensity of your workout; they increase together.
Leaning on the bars of a stairclimber instead of supporting your own weight can negatively impact calorie-burning. Some runners simply shuffle along the pavement, barely picking up their knees. You must practice good form and add some variety to your routine. Run off of the road, perhaps on a trail, where the terrain variations will force your body to use extra energy to adapt.
Challenge Your Body
If your form is still good, you may need to fine-tune your exercise regimen to launch yourself off of the fitness plateau. Your body adapts to a routine by building strength and endurance. Maybe it needs a new challenge.
Overloading your workout will make it interesting and fun. One easy way to intensify the load is to lengthen your current workout or take an additional weekly session. One caution: adding too much time to your schedule too quickly can overstress muscles and joints.
Add one identical workouts per week or add not more than ten percent to your total weekly workout time or distance. For example, if you usually walk on the treadmill thirty minutes, try adding three to four minutes the next time you walk. Do this each week. Always try to tailor your new workout challenges according to your schedule, fitness level and your state of mind.
Check back next week when I go over the next four ways to push past fitness plateaus.
Robert Bovee Certified Master PPT, RTS, ETS, FTS
As one of the most successful Professional Personal Trainers and Exercise/Fitness Therapists in the United States, Robert continues to remain at the forefront of the industry by providing his clients with a thorough education and the tools to implement that education. By improving his client’s physical health, strength, endurance, cardiovascular fitness and nutritional habits, he is able to motivate them to lead longer, happier and more productive lives. Find out more about Robert and his personal training career and services, here.