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Mistakes That Lead to Fitness Plateaus

How to Know If You've Hit a Workout Plateau and What to Do About It

running treadmill

Trips to the gym have finally become apart of your weekday routine. You've been feeling great and looking even better up until this point, but for some reason, you're not feeling the burn anymore. Welcome to the workout plateau club! It happens to all of us, usually around the one or two-month mark, when the scale stays at the same number, and your body becomes immune to the stresses of exercise. Fortunately, all it takes is a few simple changes to get past this minor hiccup in your fitness routine. Here are some tips for overcoming a workout plateau.

  1. Make a change: Our bodies are highly adaptive and are constantly working to maintain homeostasis — hence why you aren't sweating anymore or burning any calories the way you used to! The body acclimates to repeated challenges, making it necessary to change your cardio routine every four to six weeks.
  2. Step It Up: If you run three times a week for 30 minutes, add some hills to your run or increase the length of your runs. Remember to do this responsibly and only increase the distance by 10 percent a week. Add in some intervals to really increase the calorie burn — we have plenty of interval workouts for you to follow. Or why not switch it up and take a couple of 60-minute spin classes or hit the rowing machine?
  3. Pump It Up: If you're not strength training, now is the time to add some muscle to your frame. A pound of muscle burns more calories than a pound of fat. And you want to replace fat with muscle to increase the amount of calories you burn a day. Already lifting but feeling like you've hit your plateau? You need to make your strength training more intense. Bump up the frequency of your training from twice to three times a week. Increase the amount of weight you're lifting to challenge your muscles even more or try a more challenging exercise. For example, skip the triceps kickback and try triceps push-ups or side planks. Hopefully by now the burn will be back!
Image Source: Thinkstock
SandyClark SandyClark 5 years
Sometimes a day or two of actual rest followed by a change in routine can supercharge your gains
KristinFuse KristinFuse 5 years
Another tip: look for a class where the exercises change every time. Something like Zumba or a non-traditional Pilates class (ahem, Fuse Pilates) gives you accountability and decreases likelihood of plateaus, since your body doesn't get "used to" a specific routine.
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