It's 2021, and you're ready to get fit. You've put in a few weeks of workouts, and while you seemed to be making strides at the beginning, a few weeks have passed and you're seeing less and less progress with each day. Sound familiar? This phenomenon is called a workout plateau, and it can happen to the best of us. Workout plateaus tend to occur when your body gets used to doing the same routine day in and day out. Your muscles and metabolism go into autopilot because you aren’t stimulating them with more challenging, strenuous movements or longer periods of exercise.
Don’t worry, LIV Fam, workout plateaus are nothing to fear! With our help, you can get back to your grind and continue building muscle, getting lean, and reaching your goals—whether that means running a marathon or sprinting after your kids without losing your breath. Read on to learn our top four tips for overcoming a workout plateau.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Sometimes your fitness routine becomes repetitive because you get comfortable with doing the same workouts—perhaps a bit too comfortable? While it may be mentally and physically easier to sail through a workout you know by heart, your body is actually hitting ‘snooze.’ It’s been there, done that!
When faced with the same movements over and over again, your body adjusts until your workout is no longer as physically challenging (not to mention less mentally stimulating). Experts recommend going the extra mile—literally. If you usually jog at medium intensity for 20 minutes, try going for a full half-hour, or up the intensity for the same amount of time. If you hop on your bike every Sunday for an afternoon ride, try going for a run instead. Or if you are always lifting heavy, dial back the weight and do more repetitions. You could even try a class that focuses on tone and balance, such as yoga or barre. Your body will in turn have to acclimate to longer amounts of time physically performing, or more intense physical stimulation. This will help you overcome your workout plateau and produce more visible results in muscle gain, fat burn, and endurance (depending on the type of exercise you do). However you decide to stir things up, you’ll learn new moves and stay interested in keeping your fitness goals!
Hydration is Your Best Friend
A big motivator for your metabolism to work as fast as it can? Hydration! In fact, the more hydrated you are, the more calories your metabolism can break down for energy. There is a lot of research, including this flagship study, proving water can speed up your metabolism. A speedier metabolism can increase your workout results and help you break through your fitness plateau. The general recommendation is 11.5 cups per day for women and 15.5 cups per day for men, but that fluctuates according to factors such as age, weight, and the amount of physical activity you perform.
Finding it difficult to stay on top of your hydration needs? Always carry a reusable water bottle as a reminder. If you want to hydrate faster and more efficiently, try adding a stick of Hydration Multiplier to your bottle for 2-3x more hydration than water alone. Each stick has five essential vitamins and 3x the electrolytes of traditional sports drinks.
You Are What You Eat
Speaking of metabolism, your fitness plateau could also be due in part to the types of food you eat. Now, we aren’t talking about counting calories here. You may be missing essential nutrients that are needed for maximizing your workout performance. The right nutrition will help you perform your best and crush any plateau that comes your way.
Experts recommend keeping a basic food log for a week or two in order to become more aware of what types of nutrients you are putting into your body and how they make you feel. Take into account how many grams of carbs, protein, fats, sugar, and salt you are consuming, along with all your essential vitamins and minerals. Keeping an eye out for the nutrients you are taking in focuses your food log on the quality of food, not the number of calories. This log will help you to connect your food choices with how you are feeling.
Pro tip: if you are looking to take your weightlifting routine to the next level or feeling like your muscles are burning from trying to run an extra mile, try looking at the amount of protein and carbs you eat. These macronutrients help fuel your workout performance and rebuild your muscles. Whatever your 2021 fit goals might be, understanding that food can enhance any physical activity is key to optimum performance. More of the right fuel = more effective workouts.
Switch Up Your Scenery
Your plateau might not be due to physical factors alone—maybe you’re craving a new atmosphere. Fitness experts believe that your surroundings affect your body. So, if you exercise in the same place every day, it’s time to switch it up.
While you may have limited options due to the pandemic, there are ways to get creative. For example, do you usually press play on your virtual pilates class in the living room? Take your laptop or whatever device you use into the dining room or your bedroom. Has hopping on the treadmill become a snoozefest? Take that run outdoors in your neighborhood or to a park you haven’t been to yet. Getting your daily vitamin D from sunshine while experiencing a more exciting workout? Win-win.
There you have it, LIV Fam! Whether your 2021 fit goal is to run a 5k, reach new heights with bodybuilding, or tone up at home, these tips will come in handy. Remember—hitting a plateau is totally normal and a part of any fitness journey, and you can get through it. 2021 goals, we’re coming for you!