Fred DeVito gives us a preview of Core Fusion's new Boot Camp exercises. Purchase the Core Fusion Boot Camp DVD here.
OK, so you are sticking with your New Year's plan of watching calories and exercising 3 times a week. It's been a few months now, you've dropped some pounds, and you're feeling more energetic . . . but have you hit a plateau?
This could be a defining moment in your quest to making healthy eating and regular exercise a lifestyle, instead of a burden.
With all the fitness options out there . . . a gym membership, personal training, core-barre classes, yoga, spinning, running, and more . . . you can easily get confused about making the right choices for your personal needs and goals.
Here are 5 reasons why you may have hit that plateau, and what you can do to get beyond it.
1) The cardio myth: People are conditioned to think that they need to do cardio in order to lose weight. The fact is that although you can burn up to 600 calories in an intense 1-hour cardio session, you are not doing much to stoke your metabolism and resting heart rate for the remainder of the day. This means that over a 24-hour period, your calorie expenditure is not as great as someone who is incorporating strength training into a cardio workout. So while all that time and sweat will get you dehydrated, your workout may not give you the body that you wanted.
2) The unbalanced workout syndrome: In a quest for the tightest butt and flattest abs, people will overdo repetitions and avoid stretching because it's a "waste of time." Too much strengthening exercise without the proper balance of stretching does not leave you toned, it leaves you tight. And when you get too tight, you become bulky and injury-prone. Choose a program that properly balances the cardio, strength, and flexibility components of fitness.
3) Choosing exercises you like are not the ones you need: What you need is not always what you like. If your body is too tight, you may tend to shy away from exercise that requires flexibility. That's a reason some men are not comfortable with Pilates, yoga, or core-barre classes. The key point here is that if an exercise requires flexibility, then over time, it will increase your flexibility. It just requiresconsistency and patience. Working on the exercises that you need as well as the exercises that you like will improve your fitness level and move you beyond your plateau.
4) We want results . . . now: We live in a society where money is no object, and if we punch in our credit card number we can have anything delivered to our doorstep. You can't get strong abdominals that way. You can hire the most expensive trainer, or buy the latest and greatest abdominal machine, but unless you spend time working on areas of weakness, you won't see results. Abdominal bracing, strength in stillness, and proper form will help you rise above your plateau . . . not 100 crunches. I see the proof of this every day in the Core Fusion classes I lead at Exhale Spa!
5) The weekend warrior dilemma: If you have a busy work week, you probably use your weekends to exercise and let off steam. So you wake up Saturday, you play tennis or go for a round of golf, and then you end up on the couch Sunday with a hamstring pull or rotator cuff strain. When I ask my Core Fusion students what exercise they do, they usually mention activities like these. And I say, "No, that's your sport. What do you do for exercise?" Exercise prepares you for weekend sports. Exercise should not be viewed as a competitive sport. Exercise needs to be viewed as personal, not comparative. It's not about the person next to you. It's only about you.
With exercise and nutrition, lasting change requires that you stay open to possibilities, explore new movement patterns, and become educated beyond what movie stars are doing or magazines are saying. Take a fresh look at the options and be open to new activities. The choices you make today about nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction will have a lasting effect on your lifestyle for years to come.