Ever get bored with a workout? Or hit a plateau during your weight loss? Then you are not alone.
Many women, and men too, suffer from what I like to call the “gym blues.” They start to lose interest in their goals due to boredom or because they cannot get over the plateau they’ve hit. This is where change is beneficial. Simply changing your routine, the amount of weight you are lifting, or by doing something completely different like attending a fitness class will not only rejuvenate you, but also help you to get over your plateau.
If you typically like lifting weights but are no longer seeing results, add a cardio routine to your workout. And vice versa if you’re a runner — try adding a weight-lifting regimen to your routine. Varying your workout routine or regimen will help to beat the boredom and keep you enthused in your weight loss or weight strengthening journey.
Attending a fitness class is a great way to add excitement to your routine. Yoga is great for strengthening and elongating the body. This is great for runners or for those who want a little peace and quiet during your workout. I am here to tell you that yoga is not as easy as it looks. I encourage many of my weight-lifters to try yoga. You’ll use muscles you didn’t even know you had.
Other great classes include but are not limited to Zumba, Body-Pump, kick boxing, Pilates, boot camp, spin and step aerobics. Try something new — you never know, you might even like it. It takes courage to be a newcomer in a fitness class. We, the instructors, know who you are. You’re the ones who always try to get to the back of the room and hide behind someone else. But before you know it, you’ll be in the front of the class trying to out-perform your instructor.
You should change up your weight routine about every eight weeks. When you’re lifting weights, your muscles create memory and they get used the movement and the weight being lifted. After a while it no longer becomes a challenge to perform the exercise. You can change the way your muscles think by either adding more weight, training opposing muscles or by completely changing the exercise.
There are several exercises you can perform for each muscle of the body. If you are only doing one or two of these exercises all the time, day after day, week after week and month after month, more than likely you’re not seeing any new results.
For example, for the triceps you have several exercise options to choose from: triceps extension, kickbacks, dips, pull-downs, pull-backs, etc. You also can change the position of your hands to make the move more challenging. Try performing a reverse grip triceps pull-down instead. This means your palms are facing up rather than down when gripping the handle. It is simple changes such as these that can make a huge difference in your results. If you typically like using the machines, try switching to free weights instead — and vice versa. Try adding free-standing or machine-free moves like squats, lunges, push-ups and full sit ups.
As far as the abdominals go, this is the one muscle group where little equipment is necessary. Really all you need in the beginning is the floor and you. Then to make it more challenging you can add some free weights or use the “captain’s chair” for some abdominal leg lifts. The key to working your abdominals is catching them at different angels and hitting all the different muscles (rectus abdominis, internal and external oblique and transversus abdominis).
Keep boredom at bay and your body challenged by varying your routine about every eight weeks. For more questions or concerns with how to keep your muscles challenged or how to overcome a plateau please contact me or your healthcare provider.
Marilyn Ward is a personal fitness trainer and nutrition counselor in Richmond Hill. She can be reached at 478-542-0454.