7 Tips to Overcome Workout Plateaus

Upgrade your workout with these ideas
Upgrade your workout with these ideas

You’re probably bored with your workout because it’s the same thing, day in and day out. Whether you’re running, swimming, dancing, stretching, hiking, playing other sports, doing yoga, or lifting weights, you’ve hit a plateau and don’t know what to do! It’s a very common thing to happen. Even though I’ve been working out for almost 9 years already, I’ve experienced many plateaus during which I was bored with my routines or found that I wasn’t improving and reaching my goals. I decided recently to start training for the NPC Men’s Physique competition to challenge myself. And that I think that’s key: to challenge ourselves. But how do we do that? Here are some ways to throw a wrench in your workout routines to push you to higher levels.

(1) Change your sport. If you’re running, try swimming. If you’re doing yoga, try zumba. If you’re doing crossfit, try kickboxing. It doesn’t need to be a complete change. Maybe, you can change just one day of the week to add some variety.

(2) Increase the weight. If you’re lifting weights, try adding 5lbs more to each of your exercises.

(3) Increase the reps/sets or throw in a superset/drop set. Simply, try adding one more set to each exercise you do during each workout. Supersets and drop sets are great way to give it your all at the end of your sets.

(4) Switch out one of your exercises. Each day does not need to be completely different. Make one small switcheroo like instead of doing bench press, do push ups. On the next day, instead of doing squats, try lunges. Or instead of running, go for a swim.

(5) Update your gym playlist. There is a positive correlation between music and exercise performance, esp music with a good beat. So add new music to your playlist that gets you pumped! For the record, Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone” is one of the best songs to work out to on this planet. It’s like “sorry, exes, you missed out on THIS!”

(6) Go outside. If you’ve been doing cardio on a machine, try mother nature. It’s a whole different beast

(7) Find a gym buddy/Make a bet. Working out with a gym buddy can be a great accountability tool. Also, competing with friends is a great way to get your motivated to push yourself even harder. By the end, both of you will be winners.

Ultimately, you get to decide when and how you push yourself, but again, that’s key: push yourself. Having said that, don’t try to do all 7 tips all at once. Make small changes. Choose one or two and see how it goes. Remember, this healthy lifestyle is not a sprint, it’s the marathon of your life.

Good luck and be safe.

Thomas Ngo
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
Dietetic Intern


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