The good news: you're getting stronger and faster with each workout. The bad news: you're not seeing the results you're used to. Is your workout getting stale? If you're fearing that you've hit that dreaded workout plateau, read on for five ways to make your workout even more effective.
- Your Intervals: You've memorized your treadmill workout, and those minutes spent sprinting are not as exhausting as usual. If you're not challenging your body during those high-intensity spurts, you may not see as much change in your body as you're used to. Try elongating intense intervals, increasing your speed, or cutting your recovery period to challenge your body and shock it back into getting results. Shake up your routine with one of these high-intensity interval training workouts.
- Your Weights: Similar to your cardio workout, if you're not challenging your muscles when it comes to the amount of weight you're lifting, you may be wasting your time. As you get stronger, performing more reps becomes easier, making it take longer and longer to exhaust the muscles you're targeting. Instead, assess how you feel after you do your normal set of reps; if you're not fatiguing at eight to 12 reps like you were in the beginning, it may be time to test the waters with a heavier dumbbell. Read more about finding the right dumbbell weight for you.
- Your Go-To Machine: Even if your favorite machine isn't occupied, going for an entirely different type of workout can be beneficial. You won't be as bored, since you're learning a new machine, and you may find a new favorite to master while you're at it. Ready to go? Here are some alternatives to your favorite gym machine.
- Your Direction: When you switch your movements to go backward, you'll be working different muscles than you normally do. Jogging backward on an incline on the treadmill or switching direction on the elliptical can help strengthen leg muscles that you normally neglect. Even alternating the direction you do your lunges - either forward, backward, or to the side - will ensure that you're toning all those muscles in your legs.
- Your Workout Order: If you normally end your workouts with a few minutes of ab workouts, you're not alone. But if you're always saving something like a core workout (or other body-part-specific move) until the very end, you may be sabotaging your routine. "[At the end of your workout], your energy levels are lower, which means higher risk of injury and less intensity. And if you're running late on time, you're going to skip what's at the end," says celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson. Instead, build a circuit workout that keeps you moving from one body part to the next, so you're working all areas throughout your workout. Try these fast total-body workout ideas to get started.