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. Last week I shared with you the first four ways to blow past plateaus. Here are the final four ways.
Discover Interval Training
To increase your fitness level and calorie burn, insert three to six intense intervals into two aerobics workouts per week. If you usually do your workout at seventy to eighty-five percent of your maximum heart rate, the intervals can take you up to ninety percent of max.
You can do a ten minute warm-up at your regular treadmill pace, then speed up for ninety seconds. Slow down until you recover. Use your breathing as a heart-rate monitor as a gauge. After you’ve recovered, fit in two to five more ninety second intervals. Finish by gradually decreasing speed to cool down muscles and slow your heart rate.
If your current routine leaves you tired or achy, consider adding variety instead of intervals. Substitute fifteen to twenty minutes of your regular activity with something totally new. Shorten your usually cycling workout and use that time to ski on a cross-country simulator, for example. When you use different muscle groups to exercise, you’re more likely to work longer and harder. A ski simulator stresses upper body muscles that a bike does not. Plus, variety helps prevent overuse injuries and boredom. You should try to rotate between three or four cardio activities per week.
If your basic exercise regimen is straight aerobics, such as walking, jogging, aerobics, stair-climbing or cycling, and trains only lower-back muscles, you may not be quite as fit as you feel. To truly round out your workouts, add an abdominal work at least three times a week, and a well-designed upper-body weight routine twice a week. If your routine already involves strength training, try adding new machines or exercises to spice it up.
For the best muscular gains, lift in a slow, controlled manner and never work the same muscle groups two days in a row. To save time, choose exercises that work large muscle groups, such as straight-leg push-ups, bench presses, squats and lateral pull-downs.
Add a Few Pounds
To push clients off their weight-loss plateaus, add a few extra pounds to their cardiovascular workouts. To do this, you will need to dig your backpack out of the closet. Place a five to eight pound weight in the pack. Strap it to your back, adjusting the weight so it does not continually slam into your body, and perform a low-impact, weight-bearing cardio workout. Try an outdoor hike or a session on a stairclimber or cross-country ski machine. The extra weight in the pack increases your metabolism, which leads to more calorie-blasting and strengthens supporting muscle groups.
Take a Break
If you’ve been working long and hard, and fatigue is a constant companion, consider taking some time off. A week of total rest and healthy, low-cal eating could be what you need to repair stressed muscles and replenish energy stores. The one thing not to do that week is eat more than usual, since you’re not burning as many calories. No exercise is effective if you don’t have the energy to complete it or don’t give your body time to recover. Sometimes a mini-break is exactly what your body and mind need to push off that frustrating plateau. You’ll go back feeling stronger and more motivated than ever.
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.