The decision to get in shape can be one of the most important decisions that you will ever make. However, it can also be dejecting when you hit a fitness plateau. No matter how hard you try, you might find yourself in a position where your fitness goals begin to feel stagnant. You may be doing the same workout that you’ve always been doing, only you’re not getting any results.
Regardless of how much you exercise, you’re not getting any stronger or increasing your performance. To make things even more frustrating, this type of situation may also increase your level of pain and fatigue after a workout. Sore muscles can make an effective recovery a challenge, to say the least. In a worst-case scenario, an inability to advance in your workout can lead to burnout that eventually causes you to stop exercising altogether.
Why Do Fitness Plateaus Happen?
It all comes down to the science of the human body. More specifically, it’s related to the way the body responds to virtually any type of stress you put it under. When you’re exercising, your body tends to respond better when it doesn’t have an opportunity to become used to the workout routine you’re doing. If you haven’t worked out for some time, you’re likely to notice more changes in your level of strength and performance when you first begin your exercise routine.
After you’ve been doing it for a while, your body becomes more accustomed to it and doesn’t respond as readily. This can virtually halt your muscle development. The fact that you’re still training without seeing much progress can also affect your mental health, even to the point that you begin to lose interest in working out. Conversely, you may decide to spend more time in the gym in an attempt to remedy the situation. However, it’s not likely to help unless you considerably change your routine.
Overtraining could potentially cause you to hit a plateau. Additionally, it can lead to other problems like sore muscles, increased pain, and fatigue that can effectively stop you in your tracks.
How Do You Effectively Break Through a Plateau?
As previously mentioned, the most effective way to push past a plateau is to change your workout routine so that your body doesn’t get used to what you’re doing. There are several different ways to accomplish this. Some people decide to hire a personal trainer and others may use high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to force their body into fat-burning mode. Both of these methods work, but the most effective way to keep your workouts effective is to create a routine with a solid foundation.
For example, you can create a routine that has you doing a specific cardiovascular and weight-lifting workout three days a week on alternating days. You might do a routine that involves running and intensive strength training with free weights and barbells on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Two more days out of the week, incorporate Pilates or martial arts into your routine so that you’re doing something completely different and working an entirely different set of muscles. This will allow you to work on flexibility, stability, and muscle conditioning while still getting an effective cardiovascular workout. You might decide to do this on Thursdays and Saturdays. Finally, you have two days out of the week to rest and allow your body to recuperate.
Of course, you can always adjust the schedule to fit your needs. The point is, doing a workout routine like this will broaden your comfort zone and enable you to avoid becoming too accustomed to what you’ve been doing so far.
Don’t Become Discouraged
Your first step toward getting in shape is to start moving. However, it’s not enough to do the same routine day in and day out. To be truly effective, you need to constantly change things up so that your body is always challenged. When you do this, you’ll be able to maintain an effective routine without overtraining or becoming bored with what you’re doing. As a result, you’ll begin to look and feel better. Most importantly, you’ll be well on your way to living a healthier lifestyle.