The human body has an incredible ability to adapt to most types of stress. After all, these adaptations are what make it possible for us to gain strength, build endurance, and lose weight! With that being said, performing the same routines over and over again can lead to a stall in progress, something commonly referred to as a plateau. If your progress has slowed or stopped altogether, don’t get discouraged! All you need to do is change your workout to change your body!
The Dreaded Fitness Plateau
It’s normal for your first fitness plateau to occur within 8 to 12 weeks of beginning a routine. Unfortunately, it’s not unheard of for it to happen sooner. Simply put, if your body is no longer being challenged, you will fail to see change.
Believe me; I know how frustrating it is when you don’t get the results you’re expecting! You must remember that giving up is the worst possible thing you can do! Quitting will just force you to start over, and no one wants to do that.
Change Your Workout to Change Your Body
The good news is that working past a plateau is actually pretty simple! All you need to do is switch up one or two components of your workout at a time. This will usually produce enough of a change to shock your body back into motion! So, what exactly do you have to change?
Types of Exercises
If your current workout routine isn’t as challenging as it once was, it’s time to make a change. The first way to switch up your workout is by swapping out one or two old moves for new ones! Select a move that forces you to work in a different plane of motion. Instead of squats, try walking lunges or side lunges. Perform medicine ball twists or ankle tap crunches in place of planks. Working the same muscle groups from a different angle can have a huge, positive impact on your progress.
Another way to change up your exercises is to trade a body weight move for a weighted-one. Replace push-ups with dumbbell chest presses, or chair dips with weighted kick-backs. Throwing in a move that challenges your body to work in a new way will allow you to continue progressing.
Sets and Reps
The second way to kick-start your progress is to occasionally change up the number of sets and reps. Reps (short for repetitions) describes how many times you perform a move. Sets are how many total rounds you complete. Keep in mind that when you decrease reps, you should also increase resistance. Likewise, if you increase reps, you will most likely need to decrease resistance. If you don’t need to decrease resistance, the weight is probably not challenging enough to begin with. Step it up!
Example: If you’ve consistently been performing an exercise with 10-pound dumbbells for 3 sets of 10 reps, switch it up. Instead, perform 10 sets of 3 reps with 20-pound dumbbells. While the volume (30 total reps) remains the same, the change in resistance will challenge your body. Any time your body is challenged, you will see and feel the results.
Intensity of Exercise
Intensity is often looked at from a cardiovascular exercise standpoint, but it can also refer to the amount of resistance you are using during a weight training session.
If your goal is to lose weight and you’ve consistently been performing steady-state cardio, try throwing one or two HIIT routines into the weekly mix instead. On the other hand, if you’re obsessed with HIIT workouts but you’ve noticed your progress has slowed, performing some steady-state cardio in its place can be just what you need to begin burning fat again!
As far as weight training is concerned, varying the resistance used can change your body faster than any other method! Many women get swept up in performing high-rep exercise with light weights. In reality, performing lower-rep exercise with heavier weight can have a much greater impact on your physique. Occasionally integrating heavier weights into your routine will not only make you stronger, but more toned as well!
Duration of Workout
When it comes to duration of exercise, steady state cardio and HIIT come back into play. Generally, we spend more time (30-60 minutes) performing steady-state cardio activities (like walking on the treadmill) than we do for HIIT routines. HIIT workouts typically last 15 to 20 minutes, tops.
Your best bet for losing more weight is to utilize both forms of exercise. One week, focus on performing more HIIT exercise. The next week, spend a little more time on light-intensity exercises. Routinely switching up your training will keep your body from adapting!
Give this 21-Day Lean & Fit Workout Challenge a shot!
This may be the most obvious method of switching things up, but we’ll address it anyway. How many times per week do you exercise? Twice a week? Five times per week? Whatever your answer, changing up how many days per week you workout can have a significant effect on progress.
Obviously, if you’re only exercising once or twice a week, adding in another day or two (or three) can kick your metabolism into overdrive. In turn, you will begin burning more fat again.
On the other hand, if you’re an avid gym-goer that works out every single day, you may want to consider taking a day off every now and then. Recovery is just as important as exercise. It may seem counterintuitive, but failing to give yourself enough time to recuperate can be detrimental to the weight loss process.
Simple Changes for Incredible Results
Remember, you don’t have to change all of these things at once. You just have to swap one or two at a time! Incorporate some out-of-the-box exercises, play around with different sets and reps, or maybe just take a day off to rest and relax. Keep in mind that sometimes the smallest change can produce the greatest outcome! If you embrace these tips, it won’t be long before you begin seeing results again!