Consistency is the ultimate game-changer when it comes to an effective workout routine. However, those normal gym routines can often get a little tedious, which can often make it harder to stay motivated or find yourself plateauing with your progress.
If you’re feeling stuck, doing the same thing day in and day out, then here are some tips on how to level up your routine and keep things challenging.
A simple yet effective way to level up your workout routine is to make sure you include a warm-up. A warm is probably the most common thing that is missed in any fitness routine, but if you are suffering from a plateau, then this could change everything. Just by adding 10-15 minutes of low-intensity movement or activation before a workout, you can enhance your performance significantly. This is because a warm-up supplies your muscles with oxygen, and raises your body temperature, which helps with the responsiveness and flexibility of your muscles throughout a workout. Although some days you may want to get your workout over and done with quickly, a warm-up is also an effective way to prepare yourself mentally for the workout ahead.
#2 Alternative exercises
Usually finding an alternative exercise or modifying an exercise is associated with weakness. Something that you do if you need to lower the intensity, for example, because of an injury. However, this is not always the case. Modifying an exercise is an opportunity to challenge your mind and body in a new way, as well as work different muscles. In this case, a step backwards or sideways can skyrocket your progress. For example, rather than squatting with a heavy barbell, why not switch to squat pulses or use a resistance band.
Burnouts, or finishers, are often added to the end of a workout with a lighter weight and a high number of reps to completely exhaust the muscle group you had been working to help facilitate in building stronger and bigger muscles. This kind of addition is a great way to challenge yourself and to tackle any sort of boredom or plateau you may be experiencing with your workouts. It is also one of the best ways to level up your workouts for an extra kick and increase your progress.
#4 Set performance-based goals
Quite often the reason you work out is that you have a goal in mind. This goal is typically related to losing weight, getting toned or building muscle. While these goals are completely valid, they take a lot of time, effort and consistency to see changes. This shouldn’t put you off, instead, you should be in it for the long game.
What can change your perspective, help your mindset and level up your workouts, is to include performance-based goals. Anything from a goal number of pushups, chin-ups, burpees or anything that would challenge you, which will enable you to work towards something, rather than training aimlessly. Start by noting down the maximum number of reps you can perform at this moment in time (this can be to exhaustion, or you can see how many you can do in a set number of minutes). Then, use the SMART methodology (specific, measurable, action-orientated, realistic and timed) when setting goals which will enable you to measure your progress and increase your effort.
Alternatively, or as well as performance-based goals, you could also set a range of lifestyle goals that are not related to weight. These are great because exercising provides you with so many more benefits than just losing weight, and when you shift the focus away or expand your focus, it can provide you with that much-needed motivation to work out. Some examples of things you can track are:
- Energy levels
- Quantity and quality of sleep patterns
- Cognitive functions
- Skin quality
- Ability to do more of the things you enjoy
- Weak or painful joints
- Enhanced sense of wellbeing
#5 New program
Sometimes you can add on a warm-up and a burnout, but it still isn’t enough. The other thing you may consider is changing the program you are following, or changing the style of workout completely. There are many different styles to choose from, for example, weight lifting, hypertrophy training, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and many more. Alternatively, you can search for the best personal trainer in your area, who will be able to sit with you, work out your goals, and tailor a program to meet your needs. The benefit of working with a personal trainer is that you have extra accountability and support, which could be what you need to level up your workouts.
Depending on where you are in your journey, there are many things you can do to spice up your workouts and help you overcome the plateau. Play around with different ideas and find what works for you.