Fitness

Beat The Plateau

SLEEP MORE

There is just never enough time in the day to fit everything in. But, getting an extra hour of shut eye could give you the omph you need. “Sleep is crucial if you want to fire up your fitness levels,” nutritionist Russell Bowman (nutricentre.com) tells us. “Sleep encourages the production of melatonin, which can improve your glucose tolerance and metabolism. Going to bed just one hour earlier is worth two hours in the morning. It also regulates your fat intake, and gives you a boost of antioxidants and energy. Make sure you turn off your phone and TV 30 minutes before hitting the sack, as these bright lights can hinder melatonin production.”

KEEP ACTIVE IN THE OFFICE

We’ve all done it: working through lunch or not leaving the desk for long periods of time, both of which can contribute to hitting a plateau. “Sitting at your computer all day is no excuse,” leading fitness instructor Greg Sellar (fitness-fx.com) reminds us. “Just five minutes, every two hours, of a little exercise can improve your chances of beating the plateau.” It doesn’t matter whether you go to the gym for a tough workout twice a week – it won’t make up for sitting around at a desk the rest of the week. “Try making use of your chair as an exercise companion and super-charge you day with bodyweight exercises. Drive the chair backwards as you drop into a front leg lunge. Failing this, simply take a walk – the brisk movement will speed up your metabolism.”

EAT THE RIGHT THINGS

“When the scales get stuck it’s time to refocus your efforts on eating healthily,” says top nutritionist Vicky Pennington (boots.com/makeithappen ). “It can be difficult to stick to a new eating plan, especially if it’s very different to what you’ve been used to. Over time, growing portion sizes and extra calories can slow your weight loss. Try keeping a food diary for a week. Write down absolutely everything that you eat and drink, along with a note of how you’re feeling.

This will help you spot bad habits or emotional triggers for overeating and identify the changes you need to help you get back on track.”

GET SOME GOOD KIT

“Running can sometimes be a slog and finding ways to help you break through the barriers are tough,” says personal trainer Steve Harrison (premierglobal.co.uk ). “MP3s, correct footwear, heart rate monitors, a pedometer, and having your route mapped out are all great tools and ways to keep you motivated.

“Music can lift your mood and give you that extra boost of willpower. And, wearing a pedometer can measure your distance, allowing you to view your progress as you go, thereby helping you push for that extra mile. So, keep equipped and you’ll soon see results.”

TRY YOGA

yoga can help you beat the fitness block as it’s a complete body workout. there are so many different poses you can try to help tone and strengthen your whole body – reaching muscles you may neglect at the gym,”explains personal trainer gemma ramage (soundmindandbody.co.uk ). if you’re looking to jump over the next hurdle, try postures such as ushtrasana (camel pose) or sputa vajrasan (fixed firm pose), which is good for runners. These can help whittle your waistline, while other yoga moves can stimulate your organs, making them work harder and helping digestion. plus, breathing techniques can draw oxygen to your muscles, ridding you of stress and stopping the fat raised by cortisol.”

MIX IT UP

“If you stick to the same routine, you won’t see the results you crave” says specialist physiotherapist Uzo Ehiogu (londonbridgehospital.com ) “This can lead to a weight-loss slump because your body doesn’t need to burn as many calories. You can also risk causing yourself injury if you train the same body parts without mixing it up. Beat a fitness plateau by changing your regime in your weight training as well as the length, frequency or intensity of your cardio. This will give your body a sharp kick-start and supercharge you towards your goals!”

VISUALISE SUCCESS

“Whether you’re looking to shave off inches or power up your fitness levels, believing in yourself is really important,” says health expert Simon Hermiston (macdonaldhotels.co.uk). “If you let it become your mantra, before you know it, visiting the gym and turning down that choccy biscuit will be second nature. What’s more, this will help your stress levels, making it easier for you to control your regime and push past that plateau. The mind is so powerful and has helped many top athletes at the height of their career. So, keep motivated and achieve your goals, set achievable benchmarks, remember where you started, keep a structured programme and stay positive. Believe in yourself.”

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Health & Wellbeing