How to Break Your Plateau
Today is a typical morning like any other for you. You get up, go for your workout at the gym or go for a nice run, before you start your day. Or maybe you go from work to the gym to jump on the treadmill for 40 minutes then home. No matter when you fit your workout in, you are to be commended you’ve stuck to it. SO why isn’t the weight coming off like it did when you first started your new workout routine. Everything is the same. Cardio 3 to 5 days a week. Weight training 2 to 3 days a week. Your diet is still in tack (despite the PMS breakdown in the chocolate abyss). If you are still doing everything the same and you can’t seem to drop those last 10 lbs then you can’t drop those last 10 lbs because you are still doing everything the same. (I know I just reverse the sentence but read it again and you’ll catch on if you didn’t the first time.)
Your body is a wonderfully efficient machine. Everything from your head to your toes adapt to your environment, your activities and your lifestyle. Your exercise regimen is no different.
Here is the scenario.
You began the new year with a new found dedication to running. After all, you need to drop those extra pounds. So you go for a 45 minute run 5 days a week and weight train in the gym 2 times a week. In January and February the pounds fell off. You consistently left 2 even 4 lbs some weeks, chocking on your dust as you laughed your way all the way to the clothing store. But here we are in April and the scale hasn’t moved since the beginning of March. What happened?
Your Body’s Story…
When you began your program, your body worked hard to keep up with the new intensity and duration of your exercise regimen. As a result it burned energy (calories/fat) to keep up. Then one day as it accompanied you out the door and began picking up speed, then it said to it’s self. Oh I’ve done this plenty of times before. In fact I am good. I am so good at this now that instead of burning 200 calories on this run, I can do the same run and only burn 150 calories. So it runs with you and indeed it proved that it could do the same activity and burn less calories doing it. Your body has succeeded in doing what it does best…become efficient.
Ah ha! Eureka! Now you know. So what to do about it. Throw your body a surprise party and call it Cross training. Cross training is a great way to condition different muscle groups, develop a new set of skills, and reduce boredom that creeps in after months of the same exercise routines. The term cross training refers to a training routine that involves several different forms of exercise, and/or exercise intensity levels.
Get up tomorrow and instead of running for 45 minutes, jump on the bike and take a spin. Instead of doing 45 minutes of a moderate intensity run. Kick it up a notch and do 20 minutes of intense interval training (fartlek run will do as well) Providing different challenges in a workout forces the body to move out of its comfort zone and the body must work harder to complete the activity… Resulting in more calorie burn. More eating the dust off from the bottom of your shoes as you leave those pound behind. But that’s not the only benefit of cross training. If sports are your passion cross training can actually help you prevent injury and overuse syndrome. For most sports enthusiasts, cross-training is a beneficial training method for maintaining a high level of overall fitness and that’s not all Cross Training
Reduces exercise boredom
Allows you to be flexible about you training needs and plans (if the pool is closed, you can go for a run instead).
Produces a higher level of all around conditioning
Conditions the entire body, not just specific muscle groups
Reduces the risk of injury
Work some muscles while others rest and recover
Can continue to train while injured
Improves your skill, agility and balance
Mubarakah Ibrahim is an AFAA certified personal trainer and owner of BALANCE fitness, a personal training service for women in CT that offers in-home personal training, on-line personal training, outdoor boot camps, and hiking clubs for women. She is the creator of [http://www.ctwomenbootcamps.com] She also lectures, promotes and conducts workshops on health and fitness through out the northeast. She can be contacted by visiting her website http://www.balanceCT.com or e-mailed at balanceCT@hotmail.com