10 ways to break an exercise plateau

What is important is not what happens to us, but how we respond to what happens to us. Jean-Paul Sartre, 1905-1980, Writer and Philosopher

Does this sound familiar? You've been exercising for two or three months and things are going great. You're consistent, working up a sweat and using muscles you forgot you had. Your body fat is dropping and your energy is increasing. People are starting to comment on your changes, and you’re not even worried about those occasional moments when you go off your diet. You’re so active, it just doesn’t matter. Life is good.

Then, boom! You miss a day of exercise because something “comes up.” You miss another day because something else “comes up.” You experience a string of these days and then finally return to your exercise program. However, your resolve only lasts a day or two, and soon you’re not looking forward to your workouts with the same enthusiasm. In fact, your workouts seem like a monumental struggle.

Workouts become a thing of the past, you’re eating more junk food and clothes start to fit tighter.

I have news for you; everyone experiences a plateau. For some it may be two months, some six months or longer. It doesn’t matter - everyone experiences it.

Before you throw in the towel, know there is a solution to this dreaded dilemma. In fact, there are numerous solutions. The key is to plan your attack and put an end to it.

These 10 sure-fire methods will help you break your exercise plateau. You don’t have to use every one of them; just pick a few and run with them. The mind responds best when it’s not inundated, so select the few that feel right.

  • Get a workout partner. Find someone who has similar goals and try to work out with this person at least twice per week. If you know you have to meet someone at a specific time, you’re bound to be accountable.
  • Hire a personal trainer. For five to 10 sessions, hire a personal trainer and make sure he/she trains you once or twice per week. You’ll get the benefit of a structured workout programme, as well as someone to monitor your progress and motivate you to achieve a fitter body. If you can’t afford it, convince a friend to join you and pay for joint sessions with the trainer - this will lower the price tag.
  • Plan a holiday to a warm climate. Like a destination where you can have fun and snorkel, swim, bike ride or go hiking. Also, write down a few goals related to what you want your body fat, scale weight, and measurements to be when you go on the trip. Planning for your holiday will be a constant source of motivation.
  • Join a club. There are many cycling, running and walking clubs, charity walk events, etc. Find one that appeals to you. The camaraderie and scheduled activities will be something you look forward to.
  • Exercise 10 minutes per day. One unorthodox routine I’ve given to several clients is 10 continuous minutes of exercise each day Monday to Friday. The exercises are purely calisthenics, so all you need is your own body. For example, on Monday perform a set of bent knee pushups followed by a set of abdominal crunches. There’s no waiting between sets; you simply perform one exercise followed by the other for 10 consecutive minutes (make sure you warm up briefly before starting). On Tuesday, perform lunges and curls with dumbbells or cans. Wednesday, jump rope or walk briskly for 10 minutes. Thursday, repeat Monday’s routine. Friday, perform all the exercises from Monday to Thursday in succession.
  • Work out in the morning. I know it may be inconvenient and you have to get up earlier, but if you can manage three morning workouts per week you’ll accomplish several things. You’ll stimulate your metabolism for the rest of the day, decrease your appetite and, most importantly, start your day with success.
  • Consider getting some equipment for your home. You don’t need a fully operational gym - just some dumbbells, a skipping rope and maybe a workout tape for when you can't get to the gym. Remember, we’re looking for every opportunity to keep you on the right track.
  • Scale back on workouts. If you find yourself slipping into an exercise funk, cut back on your workout time. For example, if you’ve been consistently exercising for an hour three to four days per week, cut back to 20-25 minutes and less days. This simple technique will keep you consistent and won’t be mentally intimidating.
  • Plan your meals for the week. Try to cook healthy foods in advance. This sets the stage for nutritional success and is a deterrent to the “I’ll just pick up a burger and chips” mentality. Allowing yourself some liberties on the weekends - but planning your meals for the week - will further guarantee success without suffering.
  • Pick one activity you want to get good at and focus on it. Something like improving your time on the treadmill, making your abs stronger, improving flexibility, being able to use heavier dumbbells. One goal can sometimes keep us focused and motivated.

You have the tips you need, so now put them to work. Don’t let an exercise plateau beat you at its game. Fight back and win.

Please consult with your doctor prior to starting any exercise programme.

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Thanks to tescodiets.com who have provided this article.