After reading this title, perhaps some of you are saying.. What is a plateau anyways? You mean like that grassy hill thingy..? Since this is Mindfully Miranda we are talking about, lets be clear, a fitness plateau can be defined as:
“A plateau is defined as a stage in an exercise or weight program where additional progress cannot be made, such as increase in endurance or strength, performance times or loss of weight.”
Now that we have got that all settled, how about we get into how to avoid this conundrum? Keep reading for my Top 3 Tips to Avoid a Training Plateau..
- Know Your Intensity: Think to yourself, “How hard am I really training?”. It can be very easy to get into a workout routine that when you begin to get comfortable in it, you start to fail to recognize how intensely you are training. When you condition your body with resistance training exercises, you will begin to be stronger and stronger. That being said, the same repetitions and movements will become easier (this leads me into my next point). I recommend wearing a Heart Rate Monitor (See my Top Recommended HR Monitor Review Here), or quickly heading to a machine at the gym that reads your heart rate. When training, it is best to aim for either a “Fat Burn” Zone, where your body is essentially at a moderate level to burn fat, or in a “Peak” Zone, where you are training at a high intensity. This ensures that you are challenging yourself. Buuuut, don’t think that you *need* a HR Monitor to know how you are doing. Check for these 3 things: Sweating? Breathing Hard? Feel Somewhat Fatigued? and then for the “Peak”.. Cant Hold a Conversation?
- Switch It Up: As I previously mentioned, it can be super easy to get comfortable in your workout regime. This is why I challenge you to continuously change things up! Do you always do the same arm workout, week after week? Head to Pinterest and search for a new Circuit that you can do! Never done a Spin Class? Pencil one in at your Rec Centre ASAP! Do you always go for a 5K run on Fridays? Next week, try adding interval sprints for your last 0.5K, or take a more hilly route.When you are constantly changing things up, you “confuse” your muscles, so by trying new workouts, you challenge your body to learn new movements. This helps you avoid plateauing because your body is consistently having to draw on working different muscle groups, and is also working towards creating new muscle memory.
- Dial It Up: Been using the same 5lb dumbbells for the past month? Next time you do a strength training workout, try aiming for the 7.5 lb – 8 lb ones! If you’ve been training with the same 35lb weighted barbell for a month, go for a heavier one! It may be a bit more difficult at first, but your body has become stronger, and it deserves a little bit of a challenge in order to see growth and change! Adding more weight to your exercises, or even adding weights where there wasn’t (think ankle weights when running, etc.) can take your workout from “the same-old same” to the next level, trust me.
I hope that these tips help you towards reaching new heights, new goals, and new triumphs.
Wishing you above all Health & Happiness