Dear Billy and Hudson,
I have been working out solidly for a few months and initially I was pleased with the results. Recently though, I’ve reached a plateau and despite doing Interval Training, I’m not seeing any changes. What should I do? I’m working out as hard as I can.
I am glad you asked this, Allison, because I think a lot of people become frustrated a few months into a new exercise program. The problem is when you start a regime, your body responds to the new exercise and burns more calories, and you see the results. Pretty soon, however, your body adapts and, if you keep doing the same workout, your body will start storing fat again because it isn’t being challenged and stimulated. To get the most out of your workouts and continue to see the results, follow these three pointers:
1. Measure, measure, measure
You need to know where you’re starting from and where you want to end up and how to increase your work outs along the way in order to reach your goal. Too many people workout in limbo without any idea of how much good it’s doing. If you can, invest in a heart rate monitor, or you can use an iPhone with a special app to get a good reading. Whatever you do, measure it so you can be sure to push yourself to see improvements.
2. Plan & Celebrate
Create your plan (there’s great information available free online) or have a trainer help you put one together. Start today and map out four, six or 12 weeks of workouts in advance – whatever you think you can stick to – and set easy to follow, numerical goals. Motivate yourself with your own success. Treat yourself when you hit those milestones.
3. Switch it up
Going back to the first issue, you have to keep your body guessing by changing up your routine and not allowing it to fall into a familiar exercise pattern. Even on an elliptical you change speed, resistance and intensity pushing your heart rate into different zones. Plan to make every workout slightly different so neither you nor your muscles gets bored. F