Tips For Overcoming an Exercise Plateau

by William F. Gabriel - Date: 2010-08-27 - Word Count: 487 Share This!

Change Your Routine

If you've hit a plateau and don't seem to be making any progress, try changing up your routine for a week or two. If you're an avid swimmer, consider cross-training in another sport. Learn a few self defense techniques, for example. If you don't want to enroll in a class, you can try renting or purchasing a Self Defense DVD. What you try is not as important as the fact that you try something different. Surprise your muscles, and make them wonder what you are up to.

Turn Up the Intensity

Cross-training is good, but it's also important for you to vary the intensity levels of your routines to overcome or avoid hitting a plateau. You might want to try a more intense routine on Mondays and Wednesdays for example. Depending on the activity, you can step up the intensity in a couple of ways. Try working out for a longer period of time than you are used to. If you use weights, try increasing the amount of weight you use. If you don't use weights, try adding them to your program. By monitoring your heart rate during a workout you can check the intensity of the workout.

Try Active Rest

Sometimes when you hit a plateau you can try taking an active rest. Instead of sticking to your normal exercise routines, tone it down a bit. Take a stroll with the dog, play a game outside with kids, or switch high intensity workouts for low intensity workouts like yoga. Active rest will keep you in the habit of devoting time to exercise without overworking your muscles. Try something light to give them a chance to rebuild.

Examine What You Eat

When your overall fitness increases, your body's metabolism is likely to change. You will need to consume more calories to keep up with your body's demands. If you are at a plateau, keep a journal of what you are eating. Try varying your caloric intake each day. If you always feel hungry, then it's a safe bet your body needs more fuel to keep up with your current exercise regimen.

Sleep Through It

Sleep is essential. Make sure your body is getting enough sleep; otherwise your muscles won't have enough time to recover from the strains of daily exercise. Each person's sleep needs will vary, but try to keep a routine and stick to it. Getting four hours one night and ten hours the next night can take a toll on your body and keep you from breaking through your plateau.

In the end, you might find that none of these things get you quickly over that plateau. Don't stress about it. Sometimes the body just needs a little time to catch up to the changes brought on by exercise. Ride it out, stick to regular exercise, and wait for that point where you make a breakthrough. Most importantly, have a positive attitude. Hitting a plateau is like an exercising rite of passage.

For more information about self defense techniques, please check out Self Defense DVD.n
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