Do you remember when you first started your fitness journey? With each minimal change, you saw encouraging results. These improvements reeled you in and here you are: a fitness addict (junkie, gym rat!) Lately your efforts, albeit much more organized and intentional fueled by knowledge and experience, do not result in the stepwise progress you noticed in the beginning. You may have thought to yourself “I am a lot more consistent but where are the results?” You may wonder, “I am eating clean and sacrificing more but I see only minimal change.” Perhaps you are at the stage of your journey each one of us inevitably encounter: the dreaded plateau.
Although plateaus are inevitable, the duration of each is variable. As someone who has faced these often and overcome them each time, here are some tips to breaking past fitness plateaus and reaching the Promise land of new gains (and/or losses).
1. Increase your intensity.
Intensity in fitness is analogous to effort. Increase the weight you lift… Decrease your rest time. Go all out! Predictably increasing your intensity will decrease the duration you spend working out as intensity and duration are inversely related. You may go from working out an hour at a time to 30-45 minutes while increasing your gains. This may be super cool as you can reclaim your time! Work smarter not harder.
2. Increase your volume.
This seems to be the most praised tool in our current climate as the idea that working out longer equates to more gains. There is some utility in this especially if you have not been putting as much effort as is necessary to achieve your goal. Volume can be increased by increasing the number of exercises per workout session, reps (repetitions) per exercise, sets (group of reps) per exercise, duration of cardio training or a combination of the above. As previously mentioned, choosing this approach may decrease your intensity.
3. Cleaning up your diet.
If you are like me you find this most challenging. Perhaps you are slacking and do not have the same dedication to your nutrition as you did at the inception of your fitness journey. Clean it up sis! Start by eliminating empty calories such as sweet drinks and sodas, alcohol, snacks like potato chips and calorie dense chocolate bars. This goes a long way. Stay hydrated! Drink lots of water which will keep you satiated longer. Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Stick to the lean proteins!
4. Increase your rest.
We are only recently acknowledging the major role adequate rest plays in fitness. Try to ensure you have rest days where you take time away from the gym. Paradoxically your body will thank you for this!
5. Incorporate flexibility training.
Increasing your flexibility will allow you to stay injury free and enable you move through the entire range of motion of each intended exercise. If you are unsure where to start, visit Youtube for beginner flexibility workouts or your local gym for scheduled yoga classes.
Incorporating one or more of these tricks will help you smash your fitness barriers and overcome fitness plateaus all while looking stylish in your zoezi sport gear. Next level, here we come!