Here are a few tips to help spice up your workout and steer clear of a fitness plateau:
- Consider cross training. Cross training the strength and endurance components of your workout allows you to use a range of exercises and equipment, which ultimately adds variety and excitement to your regular fitness program. If you’re looking to change up your current routine, determine the different muscle groups you’re working in each of your exercises and replace these with alternate exercises that target the same groups. For example, replace pushups with bench presses or dumbbell presses and swap sit ups with front planks or crunches on a stability ball. You might also consider working with a personal trainer each time you decide to try a new cross training program so they can help you create a safe and effective routine.
- Increase the intensity. If you hope to see more results in your current strength training workout, know that your physical intensity is a major factor in success. Contrary to what many think, the most effective way to increase strength is to make your muscles work harder, not longer. Next time you’re at the gym, try using heavier weights but be careful not to overdo it! Only add three to five pounds each time you increase weight to help avoid injury.
- Diversify your cardio workout. Everyone knows that cardio is a crucial aspect of maintaining a strong and healthy lifestyle—it aids in weight loss, lowers cholesterol, helps prevent certain diseases and has even been proven to slow the aging process. Yet, running the same route day after day won’t offer your body the challenge it craves, and chances are high that you will get bored and possibly even give up. Make sure you incorporate hills and flat planes into your walks or runs, and remember to vary speed and intensity each time to get the most out of your cardio workout.
- Try something new! Trying a new fitness class or a different form of exercise is the easiest way to change up your workout and can be a lot of fun. If you typically jog to satisfy your cardio needs, try a step training or kick boxing class at your fitness club or recreation center. If you’ve only used dumbbells for weight training, work in some moves with akettlebell, resistance bands or other alternative equipment available at the gym. What often makes these classes even more fun is bringing a friend or family member along for the ride!