5 Ways To Overcome Your Annoying Fitness Plateau
At the beginning of a new workout plan, you’re on cloud nine. You feel every exercise deep in your muscles, you see yourself getting stronger and more toned, and your energy is through the roof. But after some time, that honeymoon phase wears off and you begin to feel like your progress reaches a total standstill. What gives?
Welcome to a fitness plateau, my friend. It can be quite a bitch to deal with, more so mentally than physically at times, because it robs you of the motivation that keeps your healthy fitness routine moving in the first place. But luckily, there are several ways to jump out of this stagnant space that won’t require much extra effort. You just have to know where to focus your attention.
1. Change the days of your workouts.
If you’re someone who runs every Monday, strength trains every Tuesday, practices yoga every Wednesday and so on, it’s time to switch up which days of the week you complete each type of exercise. Over time, your body adjusts incredibly well to the routine you give it, so make an effort to keep it guessing. If the idea of alternating days makes you feel annoyed and disorganized, mark your calendar on the first day of every month as the time to reformat your workout schedule. That’ll help it feel like a fresh start and possibly even motivate you to work even harder since it feels new (and dare we say fun).
2. Create a new variety in your workouts.
Even the most dedicated long-distance runners make room for cross training. If you’re doing the same exercise literally every time you get moving, you’re missing out on major opportunities when it comes to strength, flexibility, endurance, additional skill sets and more. Do your mind and body a favor and throw some variety in there. You might discover a new love for swimming, or that you’re actually amazing at holding minute-long planks in boot camp class. But you won’t know until you willingly take on these new challenges in new situations.
3. Stop skipping the exercises you hate.
There’s a reason so many people joke about skipping leg day — it’s because it’s tough and painful, and physically obvious when you don’t just suck it up and strengthen your lower body. If you feel like your fitness gains are losing steam, look at the areas of your workout plan that aren’t getting enough TLC and lean into them. You’ll be making a more intense and more well-rounded routine that will undoubtedly leave you seeing results again in no time.
4. Take a rest day.
On the other end of the spectrum, you can also plateau from working out too much. Your muscles require rest days to heal and rebuild, so if you’re skipping down time, you’re skipping a key part of the fitness puzzle. Allow yourself at least one day a week to skip the 5 a.m. gym workout or park run and go for a leisurely stroll instead — or better yet, sleep in a little bit. You’re technically helping your body here, so there should be no guilt over this decision whatsoever.
5. Check out your food intake.
Intense workout routines often lead to intense feelings of hunger since you’re pushing your body harder to expend more energy. But just because that CrossFit class burns a lot of calories doesn’t mean that it’s not super easy to rack them right back up at happy hour. Even the most intense athletes need to be mindful about their diets and properly fuel their bodies for the activities they enjoy. Of course, you can have your indulgences and your cheat days every so often, but don’t overdo just because you’re logging a long run in the morning.