The moment when you finally hit your stride with your workout routine is seriously the best. It’s like the honeymoon phase of a new relationship.
Everything is (relatively) easy. You feel like you’re on top of the world. Nothing can slow you down.
Until suddenly, it happens: You hit the dreaded workout plateau. Now, you’re no longer seeing results, and your motivation is all but gone. What are you supposed to do now?
Well, as we see it, you have three options:
quit (but you’re no quitter, are you?);
keep doing the same workout routine and growing increasingly frustrated with your lack of progress, or
bust through your fitness plateau by leveling up your workouts.
If you want to start seeing results again, there is no question that option number three is the best course of action.
So, how do you make it happen?
6 Useful Strategies for Making Your Workouts Better
Create your workout playlists, pack your bag with essential workout gear and follow these pro tips to get yourself out of your fitness rut.
1. Switch up the intensity
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel with your workouts to maximize your results. If you enjoy hopping on the stationary bike in the morning and blasting T-Swift on your phone, then by all means, keep doing it! But instead of pedaling for 45 minutes straight at the same intensity, try switching up the intensity with an interval workout.
An interval workout involves periods of high-intensity mixed in with low and medium intensity and, according to research, it’s super effective at blasting fat.
In a 2017 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers found that interval workouts can burn up to 28.5 percent more fat than a continuous workout with moderate intensity.
If you normally use the bike for 45 minutes on a low intensity, try doing a 20-minute bike interval workout instead. Start your ride with easy pedaling for five minutes, dispersed with moderate, high-intensity and all-out pedaling before cooling down for another five minutes. Trust us, you’ll be feeling it in your legs the next day.
2. Try something completely new
Okay, we know that we just said you didn’t need to reinvent the wheel with your workouts, but hear us out: Trying a new workout routine can do your body some serious good. Like, a lot of good. As in, omg-I-can-finally-see-my-abs kind of good.
That’s because your body eventually adapts to exercise after about 4-16 weeks of the same workout routine. Once that happens, your progress will come to a screeching halt until you make a change in your workout.
While interval training is an effective way to challenge your body, why not try something new and exciting?
Replace one of your running workouts with a kickboxing class. Swap a cardio session for yoga (which is packed with workout-enhancing benefits, by the way). Who knows? You may just find a new type of exercise to get you excited all over again.
3. Fuel up the right way
Sorry to break this to you, but your low-calorie diet is secretly sabotaging your workouts.
Yep, it’s true. In fact, when it comes to fitness, undereating is arguably much, much worse than overeating. That’s because eating a low-calorie diet won’t provide your body with the proper nutrients it needs to fuel your workout, which inevitably leads to you feeling tired and unmotivated to do that extra rep or mile.
Furthermore, not all calories are created equal. If you’re not eating enough carbohydrates (an essential macronutrient), your body will eventually rely on the protein in your muscles as fuel, which is the last thing you want!
To fuel your body properly, start counting your macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins). If you don’t know how to do that, use this helpful macronutrient guide or see a certified nutritionist who can help you. Also, don’t be alarmed if your nutritionist tells you to eat way more carbs than you’re used to! Just trust the process. We promise that you’ll look and feel a million times better once you start fueling your body with the proper macronutrients.
4. Wear comfortable workout gear
Look, we can all admit that exercise isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world. You’re sweating, your face is flushed and all you can think about is taking that glorious shower after you’re finished. But while exercise itself is generally uncomfortable, that doesn’t mean you need to make it a million times worse by wearing the wrong workout gear.
The wrong shorts can cause chafing. The wrong bra can cause breast pain. The wrong shoes can cause painful blisters that put you off your running game for an entire week or more. In other words, you need to make sure you’re wearing appropriate clothing that won’t slow you down or negatively impact your performance. Prioritize your comfort and you’ll be amazed at how much more motivated you are to do that one additional rep!
5. Set specific goals
When you first started working out, you probably had one goal: Just show up. Get in the gym, do the thing and pat yourself on the back. And to be perfectly fair, that’s a worthy fitness goal—for a fitness newbie. Now that you want to take your workouts to the next level, you can no longer just wander into the gym without a plan. Not if you want to see progress, that is.
So, what do you want out of your fitness regimen?
Do you want to build more muscle? Increase your running speed? Or maybe you just want to get enviable abs like Kate Beckinsale (can you believe she’s 46?! Talk about #bodygoals).
No matter what your fitness goal, it’s important that you know what you want out of your workouts. By knowing the final destination, you can create a fitness road map to get you there much, much quicker.
You don’t even need any equipment to get started. Your body is the equipment! Bodyweight workouts involving squats, pushups and reverse lunges are a super-effective way to train and will help build muscle that boosts your cardio workouts. Plus, you can also use resistance bands, kettlebells, and medicine balls to take your workout to the next level. Before too long, you’ll be looking in the mirror and thinking hot DANG!
Don’t let yourself fall into a fitness slump. Use these pro tips to get back in the game!
Annie Kuniansky is the manager of the Red Dress Boutique editorial team. She oversees all of the content creation and outreach for the company. When she’s not working or writing you can find her researching the latest fashion trends or hanging out with friends.