For seasoned gym-goers as well as for “I’ll just stick to cardio” individuals, there is always something to be learned in their fitness journey. In order to avoid the dreaded plateau, you have to continue adding intensity to your workout.
Use your breath:
When it comes to exercise, the way you breathe can make or break your entire workout. Whether you are strength training or doing Pilates, efficient breath is crucial for delivering oxygen to the muscles to help you get the most out of your workout. If you are one to regularly hit the weights, you have probably heard that you should exhale on the exertion or ‘effort’ part of the exercise. This is because when you exhale, you are essentially contracting the respiratory and core muscles, which allows you to brace yourself and in return give you more power during the rep, while also supporting your lower lumbar spine. When in doubt, breathe out. Holding your breath can increase pressure inside the chest and keep blood from flowing to your heart, which is bad news.
Focus on your weaknesses:
You are only as powerful as your weakest muscle. Going to the gym and consistently working one body part is ineffective for total-body wellness, and it is a good recipe for injury. Let go of your pride and be willing to start slower to build up your strength. Instead of staying in your workout comfort zone, try different genres of fitness. Go for a run or hike if you are lacking on the cardio, try a yoga class if you know your flexibility needs work, or hit the dumbbells if you are addicted to spin class. Keep switching it up so your body is always guessing; the more diverse your cross-training is, the more powerful your weight loss efforts will be.
Train with someone stronger than you:
The fact of the matter is if you always train alone or with people of your own ability level, you are missing opportunities to exceed your own expectations. Try working out with someone who is physically stronger than you. Having someone around who inspires or intimidates you will always make you up your intensity level.
Listen to music:
Music is a good kind of distraction. It makes you forget the negative going on outside and helps you be present and focus on the workout at hand — and even enjoy it more and push harder. Also, every workout has a musicality to it, whether it is simply the rhythm of your breath or the cadence of your movement. Rhythm stimulates the motor area of the brain, telling our bodies when to move. By syncing with these time signals, we can keep a steady pace and use our energy more efficiently, thereby adding power to the workout. Basically, your playlist has the power to get you moving.