One of the questions I get all the time from clients and readers is how to break out of a fitness plateau. This plateau occurs when you stop seeing results, despite your workout routine. The answer is to pick up the intensity, challenge yourself and cross-train. Here are five easy ways to do that:
1) Multitask your workouts
Combine two workout moves. For instance, combine side-lying outer thigh leg lifts with your side plank ab workout. Try doing a side plank on your forearm and lifting the top leg for 20 reps. You’ll shorten your workout and make each exercise twice as difficult for your muscles. Use the extra time to do some different cardio.
2) New cardio
If you usually run, do one week of spin, then one week on the elliptical, then stairs, then combine running, spin, elliptical and stairs in the last week. It’s a month of new cardio workouts. You can also make each day of each week harder with more weight or incline, and for longer by five minutes each day.
3) Double your weight
If you’re used to doing 20 reps of shoulder presses with eight-pound barbells, jump to 10 reps of 15 lbs. Usually work out on a machine? Jump off the machine and get barbells then jump down to number four.
4) Get tubing, therabands, or cable machines at the gym
This offers different range of motion and different resistance. Add more resistance three days a week and increase the weight each week for a month. After that, add stability balls, bosu balls, body bars and kettle bells.
5) Switch up your fitness classes, outdoor routines and fitness DVDs
Try some hardcore moves that include intervals. For example, half-hour workouts where alternate working out for four minutes, and easy for two, will challenge your muscles and your heart. It will also help you burn more calories during and boost your metabolism.
Take my month-long five-step challenge to push yourself off that plateau. Just don’t blame me if you get sore — that’s how you know it’s working.