If you have ever been an athlete or dedicated yourself to some kind of physical goal, then you are probably familiar with the dreaded plateau that often rears its ugly head. Everything seems to be going well. You are hitting your daily, weekly and monthly goals, and are seeing the incremental gains you are working so hard for. You will surely continue along this trajectory until you fly by your ultimate target and move on to an even higher one. Right?
Unfortunately, this is often not the case. The gains start to decrease until they are practically non-existent. You seem to have hit a wall with your current workout regimen, indicating that you have gotten as much as you can out of it. What’s more, you are likely tired of the repetitiveness that comes with sticking to a strict routine over a lengthy stretch of time. Who can get excited over doing the exact same thing in the gym week after week?
Do not fret! Although this is a frustrating occurrence, it is unavoidable if you stick to the same program for long enough. Luckily, there are many ways to combat plateauing and boredom in the gym. This will allow you to continually move forward towards your list of fitness goals. Here are five tips that you can use in order to get over these workout humps.
#1. Change Up The Process
Have you ever been at the gym diligently following your routine, when suddenly, the next machine you are supposed to use is taken? What are you supposed to do? If you wait around for the person to get finished, you are sacrificing precious time in which your muscles are fired and ready to be worked. If you are like most of us, you will probably tweak your order of exercises in order to eventually come back to the occupied machine. If you want to quell boredom and plateauing, you should try shuffling a workout around on a grander scale.
If you completely change the order you perform exercises, you will notice that you are no longer as bored and your gains are no longer as stagnant. Do you usually start with biceps and triceps? Save those for last. Do you usually finish with core workouts? Work those in between your other exercises. Your muscles will be fresher than they usually are while you use certain machines, thus allowing you to likely go up in weight. They will also be more gassed than usual for other exercises, which will make them more challenging. All in all, altering your exercise schedule is a good way to keep your body guessing.
#2. Challenge Yourself
One of the main reasons people plateau and become bored with their workouts is that the exercises are becoming too easy. Gone are the days when you would walk out of the gym drenched in sweat and then wake up the next morning sore from head to toe. There is a way to recapture some of that feeling without altering all of your regimen–tack on more weight or increase your reps.
You should never allow yourself to get too comfortable with a certain exercise. Any time you feel that you are not really pushing yourself to finish a lift, it is time to either add a couple of pounds to that bar or lift it eight times instead of six. The more you continually push yourself, the more you are preventing yourself from plateauing and thus eliminating boredom. Every time you step into the gym, you should be approaching a new challenge of some sort, and increased weight/repetitions is a perfect way to do just that. If you never become complacent with the amount you are lifting and the amount of times you are lifting it, you will continue to progress physically.
#3. Complete Overhaul
Some people are easily bored, especially in the gym. They find it hard to perform similar exercise routines on a daily and weekly basis, which decreases their motivation. If you are one of those people who needs a fresh start to your workout program, then it might be best to change it altogether.
Giving your exercise regimen a complete overhaul is the surest way to avoid plateauing and boredom. Oftentimes, the body becomes so used to certain movements that you end up simply improving that exercise and not the muscles it involves. Your biceps are not getting stronger, you are just getting better at doing bicep curls. If you change up the exercises, you are not allowing your body to get comfortable with a specific movement, thus allowing for more consistent gains and reducing the risk of getting bored at the gym.
The most important aspect of this method is to make sure your new exercises are working towards your same set of fitness goals. There is no point in changing things up if you are sacrificing the specific progress you want to be seeing. In summation, maintain the same destination but alter the journey to avoid boredom and the plateau.
Whatever It Takes
Maintaining an effective and consistent workout program is not an easy task. It takes hard work, dedication and a willingness to adapt and overcome when obstacles inevitably come up. Plateauing and boredom are two of the biggest hurdles that any gym-goer faces any time he or she sets out to accomplish a fitness goal.
This method works no matter what you want to accomplish. Is your goal to become a stronger, faster football player? Then you need to maintain a dynamic and effective regimen full of power lifts and explosive drills (while also having the right custom football gloves at your side). Is your goal to lose 20 pounds before beach season rolls along? Make sure to mix in various forms of cardio as you work your way towards the body you want. Whatever your dream is, if you avoid the plateau and the boredom, then it is no dream at all.