Frustrated with your lack of progress?
Annoyed that the scale won’t budge?
Are you putting in the effort during your workouts but the results just don’t reflect your effort?
Has your fitness or weight loss journey failed to progress?
When that happens, it’s easy to lose motivation.
It’s a vicious cycle.
Maybe you lift weights at a gym. Maybe you prefer to exercise at home or do cardio outdoors. Whatever your routine looks like, I have discovered 5 rather unconventional ways to spice up your workout and get better results in less time!
If you’ve been around for a while, you know that I prefer lifting weights to cardio. In fact, if you’ve seen my recent workout videos, you know that strength training has changed my physique, my energy, and my life overall.
After more than 30 years in this space, I’ve discovered a few unconventional simple strategies that are truly game-changers.
But first, let’s start by reviewing some of the obvious ways you can break through your fitness plateau..
Common Ways to Break Through Your Fitness Plateau
- Progression Overload: Slowly increase the resistance and tension to challenge your muscles.
- Variation: Perform a mix of cardiovascular exercise, resistance training, and flexibility work to target different muscle groups.
- Compound Phases: Engage your core with exercises that use multiple muscle groups at once.
- Proper Nutrition: Protein, carbs, and healthy fats aid in muscle growth. Magnesium has been shown to reduce muscle soreness.
- Hydration: Dehydration can lead to a decline in physical performance, reduced endurance, and decreased strength.
- Rest: Downtime between days, as well as sets, supports muscle recovery. Prioritize adequate sleep.
- Progress Tracking: Keep track of your workouts, including exercises, sets, repetitions, and weights used.
- Consistency: Make exercise a regular part of your routine and commit to a consistent workout schedule.
- Clear Goals: Setting strength, endurance, and/or weight loss goals helps you stay focused and motivated.
- Realistic Expectations: Be patient with your progress and avoid comparing yourself to others. Focus on your own journey, and celebrate each milestone along the way.
Most of these strategies are no-brainers to avid exercisers. They are solid rules for daily life as well.
When it comes to getting noticeable results from your workouts, attention to various factors are key. The most powerful factors are things a lot of people don’t consciously consider during their routine.
However, you may have already established some of the most effective exercise habits without even knowing it.
My Game Changing Simple (yet uncommon) Fitness Tips
Avoid Your Phone
- Turn off notifications and turn on airplane mode
- Time stands still when we’re looking at our phones, making your workout longer or causing you to take too much time between sets or exercises
- Multitasking impacts your body’s ability to focus on the muscle group you’re working with, resulting in diminished results
Playlist give you More Power
- Studies show people who exercise to music that motivates them work with greater efficiency and drive
- Music has the ability to evoke emotion, inspiration and more energy allowing you to push harder
- The right playlist puts you in a positive mindset and gives you more energy – energy is key in exercise
- Monitor your form, range of motion, etc. in a way you can’t in a mirror
- Discover new ways to modify your workout to challenge your body in new ways
- Don’t be embarrassed about filming yourself – everyone thinks they’re an influencer now
Forget the Reps
- Focus on how your muscle feels and how much gas you have left in the tank vs how many reps you have remaining
- Counting reps often results in finishing early because you hit your rep count, vs reaching true muscle fatigue
- Reaching fatigue allows muscle fibers to break down so they can build back up stronger than before
Focus on Recovery
- To get better results, allow your body to repair and adapt
- Enhance circulation and reduce muscle soreness with recovery techniques like foam rolling, PiYo, yoga, stretching, and mobility exercises
Watch Your Tempo
- When you lift too quickly, you create momentum, making your workout easier
- By slowing down the pace of your reps, the muscle stays under tension longer resulting in better results
- When in doubt, keep the eccentric phase slower than the concentric phase
Did I lose you with that last one?
In weightlifting and resistance training, the concentric and eccentric phases refer to the two distinct parts of a muscle contraction.
- Commonly known as the “positive” phase of a movement
- Occurs when the muscle generates force to overcome the resistance and move the weight in the desired direction
- Muscle fibers are actively shortening and producing force during the concentric phase
- Typically associated with a sense of effort or strain in the muscle as it contracts
- Primary goal is to overcome the resistance and complete the movement
Effects on Muscle Development
- Plays a significant role in increasing muscle strength and power
- Primarily stimulates the development of fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are responsible for generating high levels of power
- Concentric contractions contribute to muscle hypertrophy (growth) by promoting protein synthesis and anabolic signaling pathways
- Enhances muscular endurance by improving the muscles’ ability to sustain repetitive contractions while weightlifting
- Often referred to as the “negative” phase of a movement
- Occurs when the muscle lengthens under tension
- Involves controlling the resistance or weight as it moves in the opposite direction to the applied force
- The muscle fibers lengthen while still producing force, acting as a brake to control the movement
- Requires greater muscular control and can create a greater sense of muscle soreness or fatigue than the concentric phase
Effects on Muscle Development
- Particularly effective at inducing muscle damage, triggering an adaptive response which leads to muscle repair and growth during the recovery process
- Contribute significantly to muscle hypertrophy, especially by promoting the development of slow-twitch muscle fibers
- Improves muscle strength, as eccentric contractions can generate higher levels of force compared to concentric contractions
- Commonly used for rehabilitation purposes and can improve tendon strength and function
Both the concentric and eccentric phases are essential for muscle development. Incorporating both types of contractions into a training program can optimize muscle growth and minimize the risk of injury.
Remember that everyone’s fitness journey is unique, and results may vary. It’s essential to listen to your body and make adjustments based on your individual needs and abilities.
For example, using scales and tracking macros work wonders for some people.
That does not work for me.
Personally, filming myself has proven to be the most effective way to break through my fitness plateau. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s a great way to monitor form and range of motion, track your body’s progress, and address any issues you may not notice in the mirror.
If you really can’t stand the idea of filming yourself, you’ll want to listen to episode #998 to learn more about the workaround that provides all the same benefits.
Check out the following links for more fitness tips & tricks…
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