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Modifying Your Workout will Help Avoid the Plateau

By Tony Meyer
March 27, 2012
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Do you remember the movie, “Groundhog Day”? You know, the film where the main character wakes up at 6:00 am every morning to Sonny and Cher’s  “I Got You, Babe” blaring on his clock radio, only to relive the tediousness of the same day, day after monotonous day. If you’ve reached a plateau in your workout, you’re probably performing the exercise equivalent of this film.

Our bodies need change; they get used to the same old routine and get bored, too. If you want get over your workout plateau you’ve got to embrace change.

Here’s how you do it:

Modify your workout.
If you like to use the elliptical or treadmill, try raising the incline setting, increase the speed, or use one of the pre-programmed routines on the machine. If weights are more your thing, change up the order of your exercises — use heavier weights, do more sets with fewer reps, or do fewer sets with more reps. The point is to vary your routine.

Modify your diet.
As we lose weight, our bodies need fewer calories to maintain this lower weight. You need to adjust your caloric intake to account for lower caloric needs. Try to cut out 100 to 200 calories a day and see what happens in a month.

Modify the intensity of your workout.
There are aerobic and anaerobic types of cardio: Long duration, low-intensity cardio is aerobic; short duration, high-intensity cardio is anaerobic. For a fun way to get anaerobic cardio, try sprints on the treadmill or the Kettlebell or Gladiator classes. These high-intensity exercises will kickstart your metabolism into overdrive. For a change in aerobic cardio, try Boot Camp or Boxing. Both classes are fun and burn just as many — if not more — calories than running on the treadmill for 60 minutes.

Remember what it felt like when you first started exercising? If you truly want to overcome the workout plateau, you’ve got to push yourself back to that point. A little discomfort is not a bad thing — that’s how your body knows to adapt.