Fitness

7 ways to push through your exercise plateau

If you want to achieve your health and fitness goals, working out needs to be a part of your everyday life. As a result, it’s easy to become bored, unmotivated or disheartened. We asked Hannah Davies, master trainer at Virgin Active Aldersgate ( virginactive.co.uk), for her tips to beat your fitness plateau and get your mojo back

  • Change your goal
    Don’t be ruled by the scale. It’s easy to become obsessed with weight, and using it as the only way of staying on track. However, weight fluctuates so regularly that having it as your only goal can be very demotivating. Instead, use your clothes, a mirror or a tape measure as your guide – these are much more accurate ways of maintaining weight loss and will also be a sign of muscle gain. It’s this that will change your body for the better, giving it shape and making you feel fit and healthy.

  • Hiit it
    Have you heard of the saying ‘if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you’? Your body needs to be pushed into responding to your workouts. If you’re doing the same thing week in, week out, chances are that you’re staying in your comfort zone, which means that your body is doing the same. HIIT (high intensity interval training) is a great way to shock your system during your sessions and it has the added benefit of giving quick results. Keep it simple by picking four full body exercises, such as squats, burpees, mountain climbers and press ups and perform each for 30 seconds. Do four sets of this and not only will you get fitter and stronger, you’ll also see that fat melt away in a very short space of time.

  • Get a trainer
    Personal trainers have a vast knowledge of exercises and a good one will be able to tailor workouts to your goals while pushing and motivating you to achieve them. Many of us work better when someone is there telling us what to do and pushing us out of our comfort zone. It will also give you someone to be accountable to and provide support when you feel unmotivated. They will educate you on ways to train smart and eat well so you can fit training and good nutrition into your lifestyle.

  • Do a class
    Group training has been proven to be the best way for gyms to boost their retention levels, as members stay for longer and achieve their goals because they feel part of a community. Training in a group environment, whether it be a spin class, body pump, cross fit or bootcamp, provides you with motivation and support from not only the instructor, but also the other participants. What’s more, you may even make new friends and a healthy competitiveness to push yourself harder as you see others doing the same around you. It becomes as much of a social activity as it does a workout.

  • Make training goals
    Instead of focusing on aesthetic goals, performance-related targets are a great way to stay motivated. You can track and log the activities you’ve done and see results from week to week. This could be anything from lifting heavier weights and running at a faster pace, to swimming or cycling further or doing a certain amount of body weight exercises in a set time. When you have targets to hit, it becomes easier to stay focused as you have a set path to follow. These will change regularly in the right direction and will see you hitting new personal bests on a regular basis.

  • Be more social
    Instead of meeting up with friends for dinner, plan to catch up over a workout instead.
    Make dates in your diary as you would for your social occasions so that you can train hard and find out the gossip all at once. Getting your family and partner involved as well will make it easier for you to stay on track as you can push each other when one of you is lacking motivation, especially when you’re at home and all you want to do is raid the treat cupboard and stay on the sofa.

  • Set a time frame
    You could enter a fitness event, book a photo shoot, attend a 12-week bootcamp, organise a holiday, or pick an event in your social calendar – anything that requires you to work to a set date. This will give you the motivation to continue with your training and nutrition plans so you can meet your target. It won’t feel unreachable as it is a short to mediumterm aim, and the results from achieving this will inspire you and give you the belief that you can stay on track and keep smashing the goals you set.

}

philiphazell