Stuck in a workout rut? You’re not alone. Plateaus are a common part of any fitness junkie’s life. The good news is that making a few tweaks to your health routines can pay off in serious improvements to your fitness. Here are five proven ways to take your workout routine to the next level.
Your diet plays a big factor in your fitness for a number of reasons. For starters, eating well can help your body function more optimally so you don’t miss workouts as a result of feeling under the weather. Additionally, consuming adequate essential nutrients is what allows your body to repair and build stronger muscles. Finally, good nutrition will ensure you have a stable source of energy with which to fuel your workouts. If your diet doesn’t already include plenty of produce and healthy fats, protein, and carbs, then making the switch to healthier eating can seriously elevate your workout performance.
Sleep more (and better).
Just as adequate nutrients are critical for fueling your workout routine, so too is adequate sleep. Not only does high-quality sleep ensure you have enough energy to power through workouts, but it also gives your body a chance to rest and recover from intense exercise—thereby helping you achieve muscular gains more quickly. To improve your sleep quality, make sure you’re going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, using comfortable bedding, and creating a soothing bedtime routine that helps you unwind and relax so you fall asleep easily and rest soundly through the night.
When you’re tired or busy, it’s easy to push workouts to the back burner. But if something or someone is holding you accountable, you’re much less likely to scrimp on exercise. That’s why it can be so helpful to hire a trainer (if you have the funds), partner up with a workout buddy, or sign up for an event that requires you to be at a certain level of fitness by a specific deadline. Any and all of these strategies are great ways to make yourself accountable to your workout routine, which will help ensure you continue making steady progress.
Try something new.
One of the surest ways to break out of an exercise plateau is to shake up your routine. Consider signing up for a class you’ve never taken before, trying out a new sport, taking your workout outside, or joining a local sports league to challenge your body in new ways. Even making more subtle changes to your routine—such as changing up the days you do cardio versus weightlifting or switching the order of your regular strength training exercises—can challenge your body in new ways and help you bust a plateau.
Address your weak points.
You know those exercises you hate doing? That’s probably because they’re more challenging than the exercises you enjoy—and that can be a great clue into the areas of your fitness that are holding you back. If you want to take your workout routine to the next level, commit to getting stronger in the areas where you struggle. For example, maybe your hamstrings aren’t getting worked as much as your quads, or you’re great at pushups but can’t do a pull-up to save your life. Even though it may not be fun at first, tackling your weak points is a great way to bring greater stability to the entire body and enhance your ability to move forward toward your fitness goals.
From improving your diet and sleep routine to shaking up your workouts and strengthening your weaknesses, these five strategies will help you continue making forward progress in your pursuit of a healthier, fitter self.