Fitness Matters: Hitting a plateau? Change things up!

Are you seeing results from your workouts? If getting stronger, leaner, and tighter is a part of your goal, then make sure you are changing things up with more effective workouts. With the body’s amazing ability to quickly adapt, hitting those dreaded plateaus will halt any progress and make you feel like you are spinning your wheels.

If you are spending too much time in the gym each day, your body is less likely to respond the way you hope. When we commit to a goal, we often feel a little overzealous in the beginning and may end up spending hours in the gym… at least until we burn out. More of the same thing, such as longer workouts, will not necessarily produce better or faster results. When it comes to getting lean and fit, your body will respond much more to a change-up rather than an increase of the same old routine.

Choosing the right type of workouts that challenge you will make all the difference in seeing results in less time. Keep your lifting routine under one hour by working hard with minimal breaks. By performing a circuit-type workout, you will maintain an elevated heart rate (great for fat burning) and challenge the endurance of your muscles with less rest between exercises.

The same is true for cardiovascular exercise. If you are spend 45-60 minutes on an elliptical at a moderate pace, jumping on the step-mill for 20 minutes of high intensity interval training will burn more calories and get you huffing and puffing in less time. A little extra effort will take you out of your comfort zone and into the huge calorie-burning zone!

Stimulate enough muscle fibers to build lean muscle and utilize more energy to maximize your calorie burn. If you are performing only isolation exercises such as bicep curls or triceps pushdowns, leg extensions or leg curls, you will not see significant results. By changing your workout to include mostly multi-joint exercises such as squats, lunges, chest press, and lat pull downs, you will stimulate many muscles at one time, which will accelerate your results.


If you perform all your strength training on machines, you could be limiting your own progress. Because machines only work in a specific range of motion, you may be limiting the way your body naturally moves and restrict your range of motion. In turn, this actually limits your ability to fully activate all your muscle fibers, affecting your fat burn and muscle definition. If a machine does not fit you properly, this can also lead to excessive strain on your joints. It is critical that you incorporate exercises that allow your body to move naturally with full range of motion.

Carving out those wash board abs is not simply the act of performing hundreds of crunches per day. Training the core muscles is certainly important for many reasons, but targeting the muscles will not burn that stubborn fat layer on top. The key to getting a tight, toned midsection is to burn off that layer over the muscles. This can be done best with a consistent combination of diet and exercise (strength and cardiovascular).

By making a few changes to your routine, you will keep seeing the progress you work so hard to achieve. Consistency over time is still the best prescription for overall health, but a few curve balls now and then keep the body guessing and changing in positive ways.

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