Surmounting That Fitness Plateau

Just as there are diet plateaus, you can hit the wall with exercise, too — no longer seeing results from your efforts and then losing motivation.

According to the experts at the American Council on Exercise, a plateau is often a sign that your body has adapted to the specific workout you’re doing and needs a new stimulus to move to the next level.

So the first step is to shake up your routine. For instance, if you’ve been steadily walking on a flat treadmill, add an incline. If you walk outdoors, switch to hiking. Also, engage other muscles by alternating with another type of cardio workout than your norm.

However, make sure that cardio isn’t the only type of fitness activity you’re doing. If you haven’t stepped up to strength training, it’s time to tackle it.

Keep in mind that lifting weights isn’t your only option — you can train with weightless resistance bands or even your own bodyweight (think push-ups and chin-ups). But if it’s your weight training routine that’s stalled, it could be time to switch to heavier weights, more complex lifts or even higher-tension resistance bands.

As counterintuitive as it might sound, too much training can backfire and prevent progression. Also, be sure that you’re allowing enough recovery time between strength training sessions. That means at least two days, the time needed for muscles to recover and grow.

There’s also the possibility that boredom with your routine has led to gaps in your workout schedule. If you’ve been skipping workouts, all the above steps should add enough interest to get you back on track.

Finally, keep in mind that diet plays a part in fitness success. Your body needs protein to create lean muscle, so make sure to include high-quality sources in every meal.

More information

Get more on these and other tips to exit a plateau from ACE Fitness.