After a few weeks of sticking to an exercise routine and seeing results, it can be tough and disheartening to hit a workout slump or “plateau,” as it’s commonly referred as.
The truth is, once the body becomes more efficient at a certain exercise, it doesn’t expend as much energy to complete it, according to Chase Karnes, CSCS, NSCA-CPT. When those 7-pound bicep curls and 3-mile jog become too easy, it’s time for the next challenge. Read on for some advice on how to take workouts to the next level.
1. Work the Lower Body: Leg workouts burn more calories per move because that’s where the body’s largest muscles are located. Exercising glutes, quads and hamstrings can more easily burn the fat that’s hiding in the biceps through increased caloric burn. Hit the most muscle fibers with squats, lunges and deadlifts, and add more weight if they start to feel easy.
2. Interval Training: These workouts involve alternating periods of all-out effort and slow-paced rest, which can help burn more calories in less time. The higher intensity will cause the body to use more energy and keep the burn going for hours. One preferred method involves 30 seconds of all-out effort, followed by 90 seconds of rest.
3. Lift Heavier Weights: Adding a few extra pounds to a lifting routine requires the body to burn more calories because it causes further breakdown of proteins, which requires more calories to repair. Worried about bulking up? No sweat. Women lack the testosterone levels required to achieve the giant muscles that motivate men to hit the gym.
4. Grab a Pal: Exercise with a friend does more than provide built-in motivation to hit the gym. A workout buddy will increase feelings of competition and encourage a more intense workout.
5. Try Dynamic Warm-ups: An intense warm-up similar to the day’s workout will boost caloric burn and prepare the muscles that will be used. For example, warming up for a run could involve high skips or long backwards strides.