Plateau. That dreaded word that you do not want to hear, let alone experience. Especially if you have been diligently exercising in an attempt to get fit or lose weight. We have all experienced a plateau at some time all of a sudden you stop losing weight or you just cant seem to run any faster. When you hit a plateau, it doesn't necessarily mean you need to work harder or spend more days at the gym.
Here are five ideas that may help you break through:
Take an Active Rest If you have hit a plateau, it may be time for an active rest. Take a week off from structured exercise, and instead take leisurely walks, play ball with the kids, or take a yoga class. Active rest rejuvenates the mind and the body and allows for overworked muscles to rest and rebuild. You will return to exercise stronger and ready for new challenges.
Time to Eat As You Increase Your Fitness Level, your bodys metabolism may increase and so will your calorie needs. If you hit a plateau, evaluate how much you are eating. You may need to eat more than you have in the past for your body to continue to increase its fitness level. If you find you are often hungry, this is a clear sign you need to eat more to sustain your exercise program.
Mix it Up If you do not vary your workout routine your body will eventually run on cruise control, and you will experience a plateau. Try new cardiovascular activities, or use free weights if you always use machines for strength training. Changes in your routine will surprise the body and force it to adapt, bringing you to new levels of fitness.
Different Day, Different Intensity Varying your activities, or cross-training is important to avoid or break through a plateau. While cross training the type of activity is often recommended, it is also important to cross-train the intensity of your workouts. Specify different days of the week as low, moderate or high-intensity days. Try interval training work at a low intensity for a couple of minutes and increase to a high intensity for a couple of minutes, and repeat. If you use a heart rate monitor, be sure your average heart rate for your exercise sessions vary from day to day.
Sleep It Off Be sure you are getting enough sleep. Getting the right amount of sleep for your body will allow time for your muscles to recover from exercise. This will ensure that you can come to your next exercise session with enough energy and at full strength to take on a challenging workout.
If you find you still cant break through that plateau, then make the decision to ride it out. Sometimes a plateau is necessary to allow the body to catch up with a new body weight or fitness level. Rest assured your body knows what is best and will break through the plateau at the right time!
AUTHOR: Denise Henry