Is Your Workout Not Working Out?
If you're exercising regularly but not seeing results, you may have hit a plateau. What should you do? Follow these five tips to get back on track and meet your fitness goals.
What causes an exercise plateau? Simply put, your body has gotten used to your workout routine. It's no longer challenged and no longer feels like it has to adapt or do anything different. This can be a sign that you've become more fit or that you're really not working as hard as you think you are. In some cases, exercise plateaus are caused by working out too hard; sort of your body's way of staging a protest. Whatever the reason, it's time for a change.
1. Define what's not working for you. Are you no longer losing weight, seeing or feeling a difference in your appearance; or are you just not motivated anymore?
2. Pull out a pad and pen and start keeping track of what you're actually doing. Write down what you eat (every bite) and how much you're exercising. Putting it in writing helps you find the weak areas in your diet and exercise routine, shows you what you're doing right and where you have room for improvement. You may be surprised at how many calories you're really consuming and how little time you're really spending at the gym.
3. Redefine your fitness goals. Think of this as making a new commitment to yourself. Maybe your goal is to lose ten pounds or run a 10K. Write your goal down to make it clear.
4. Write down a plan for achieving that goal. Put "Research" as the first item on your planning list. Research includes studying up on ways to achieve your goal:
- Training and fitness websites, magazines, classes and clubs
- Weight loss support groups, cookbooks, nutrition websites and magazines
- Talk to friends who have successfully achieved goals similar to your own.
- Consult with a dietician or fitness trainer to put the finishing touches on your plan.
5. Put that plan into action. Remember, your plan has to be based on change. Work out differently:
- Use different machines and equipment
- Try different sports
- Do different mat exercises
- Lift heavier weights or do more repetitions
- Mix intervals of high-intensity and low-intensity activities into your workouts.
- While there's nothing new to the weight loss equation-burn more calories than you consume-consuming more calories from protein, fruit and vegetable sources helps your metabolism work better, harder and more efficiently.
- Drink more water, and limit your consumption of less soda, alcohol, juices and other liquid calories.
6. Give your body time to respond to your new workout and diet. Keep mixing things up to keep your muscles guessing, working and challenged. Finally, if you're working out diligently, eating well and still aren't satisfied, try adding acceptance to your goals. Every body is different. Make sure your goals are realistic, achievable and completely your own.
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