We’ve all had one… and we all hate them!
Humans are habitual. We strive on routine and rituals. While it’s true that routine can provide a sense of ease and security, I think we’d all agree that doing the same thing over and over again leads to boredom… and when the new, shininess of our workout routine fades, we simply stop doing it.
When you first start a workout routine, it’s easy to see results because your body is trying to keep up with this change. However, after several weeks of following the same routine, your body catches on and the weight loss and other benefits start to slow down until BAM! You hit the plateau… and hard!
You may call a plateau a fitness rut – it’s when your body has adapted to the work and requires less energy to perform it, therefore burning less calories. All you know is that you’re working just as hard but you’re no longer seeing the results. Next thing you know, your desire to continue wanes and before long you have abandoned your workouts. But don’t lose hope! Because with just a few simple steps, you can easily breakthrough that brick wall and continue to reap all the rewards of regular physical activity.
Have you ever heard the saying that “Variety is the spice of life”? Well, that’s pretty much all it takes for you to reach a breakthrough. Simply modify some part of what you are doing. You don’t have to revamp your entire routine, just one small piece of it.
A simple way to determine how to transform your current workout is using the F.I.T.T principle. F.I.T.T. stands for frequency, intensity, time and type. This strategy can be adopted for both cardio and resistance training.
Frequency – increase or decrease how often you workout.
- Did you start off with 6 or 7 day/week exercises? Try cutting back to give your body a rest.
- Are you only working out 2-3 days/week? Try increasing to 4-5 days/week
Intensity – increase or decrease the difficulty or level at which you workout.
- Take a different route when you walk
- Find a route that includes hills and valleys – maybe even take a hike.
- On the treadmill? Increase the speed or incline of the machine to kick it up a notch.
- Add some side steps or skipping into your walks so that you start to work different muscles
Time – increase or decrease how long your workout sessions last.
- Here’s the cool thing about exercise: you can do it in 10 minute segments. So if you only have time for 10 minutes before getting ready for work, think about when you could add in another 10 minutes somewhere else in your day – like on your lunch break.
Type – change the type of exercises you perform.
- Only doing cardio? Add in some strength training.
- Only walking? Add in swimming, biking, or hiking
The possibilities here are endless! Think outside the box and get creative with your workouts. Exercising should be fun – at least 80% of the time. So don’t quit until you find something you really enjoy.
Every 4-6 weeks, choose one element of the F.I.T.T. Principle to change up. Incorporating this strategy will enable you to continue progressing and reach your health and fitness goals.
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