Pushing Beyond the Plateau: Tips on how to reset your fitness dial back to results
Set Small Goals
FitnessMagazine.com suggests starting out with goals that you can keep for at least a week, so as not to overwhelm yourself and cause sabotage. Sit down with a piece of paper and write your ultimate goal on top of it, followed by a list of mini goals. If your main mission is to lose belly fat, list that on top, and underneath put, “ attend abdominal classes at the gym.” Decide on a new objective to reach every week, so that you’re constantly striving. Keep this list of goals in a place where you will be able to see it several times a day — and picture yourself working these actions to increase your motivation.
Keeping a journal is highly important. The ability to look back and see what foods you were eating when you were at your most successful will help you to plan and adjust your menu for slower weight-loss seasons. You can also record new workout ideas from the latest fitness magazines, write down what cardio or weight training you did, how you’re feeling, your mistakes, tough-times, and certainly successes. Optimal health takes constant readjusting with both the foods you eat and the workouts you perform, so tracking them is key.
Intervals mix things up and keep your body striving. If you’re a runner, add some hills into your runs and do 30- second sprints, with a minute of slow-paced walking in between. If you use the elliptical machine, switch to a machine you may have never tried before — like the stair stepper — and increase the level of difficulty to rise and fall every few minutes. Take a new class once a week for added variety. The important thing is to keep your body guessing, and always be challenging yourself. Every four weeks re-evaluate your workout routine to give your body something new to conquer.
A pound of muscle burns 25 times more calories than a pound of fat, so including strength training at least two days a week in your fitness routine is essential. Start off using lighter weights and doing more reps if you’ve never lifted before — and stick to the machine weights until you feel ready to graduate on to free weights. New York Times bestselling author, Tosca Reno suggests in her book, The Eat- Clean Diet Recharged, to include squats, leg presses and lunges because, “when you perform exercises that work major body parts, hundreds of your muscles contract at once, increasing your metabolic rate by as much as 2,000 percent!” If you want a leaner physique, pick a lighter weight and do three rounds of 15 to 20 reps…or, for added size, lift a heavier weight, performing three rounds of 8 -10 reps.
The body restores itself while at rest. This is the time when muscle is built, so if you don’t give yourself adequate time to recover, you may end up injuring yourself. By resting at least one day a week, you reward yourself for a job well done, stay energized, motivated, and fully recharged for the week ahead.
By rewarding ourselves even for the smallest of feats, such as performing an extra sit up or resisting that cookie at breakfast, we are showing ourselves compassion and grace. A few quiet moments taken to acknowledge what you have conquered that day can make all the difference.
Courtney Kopec has been studying fitness and health for over a decade. Having personally lost more than 60 lbs., she believes that a healthy life is a life in progress and enjoys sharing what she has learned on her journey with others. Mrs. Kopec works as a freelance writer covering topics on health, food, and fashion.