You’ve made exercise a priority. You exercise daily. You never skip a day. You were making great progress, losing weight, getting stronger, having more energy, or whatever your goal is, but now things are no longer progressing. So what’s going on??
Well, of course there are many factors that can contribute to plateauing in your fitness journey, but one common cause that can be easily fixed is adding variety to your workouts. Many people get into the routine of doing the exact same workout or a very similar workout every single day. At first it works, but then your body adapts and gets used to that type of workout, causing your progress to come to a halt. Maybe you only do one type of workout, because that’s what you enjoy most or maybe that’s all you know how to do. Either way, there is a solution for both!
First of all, if you are doing the same workout on a regular basis because that’s what you enjoy, that’s great! You should enjoy your workouts, because that plays a major role in keeping you consistent. Maybe you really enjoy running or biking or strength machines or free weights, but no matter what the type of exercise, the body will adapt. A good start if you’re someone who enjoys cardio, such as running and biking, is to add some speed intervals into your workouts a couple days a week. For example, run or bike faster for 1 minute then easy for 1 minute and repeat 5-10x during your workout. The interval training will be a new challenge for your body and should start to get you out of that plateau. However, if you’re a cardio junkie, I highly recommend adding a couple days of strength training, which will increase your speed and stamina as well as help prevent injury (see my previous blog post about race training).
Secondly, if you’re the person that’s into strength training, again, that’s great to do what you enjoy, but you still can’t do the exact same exercises on a daily or weekly basis and expect continued progress. Try using different equipment (dumbbells, barbells, cables, kettlebells, resistance bands, strength machines, or TRX bands just to name a few), and make sure you exercise all body parts throughout the week and not just focus on the same muscle group day after day (for example only legs or only chest). Another option is to try working in a circuit where you alternate between muscle groups with minimal rest in between to get your heart rate up. These are all great options to provide a new challenge to your body.
Finally, if you are the person doing one type of workout over and over because you don’t know what else to do, my first suggestion would be to try a group exercise class! I know they can be intimidating at first, but they are a great way for you to challenge your body in ways you never would have thought of on your own, plus you have the energy of the class and the instructor to push you harder! My second suggestion if you really want a personalized program for you is to try personal training. Working with a personal trainer not only gives you new ideas for exercises and one on one attention, but you also get a workout designed for you specifically that focuses on your goals and areas that you need to improve.
I hope these tips are helpful and inspire you to mix up your workout routine!