'Plateauing' by definition is “a force of nature that lessens the effectiveness of once effective measures over time. The plateau effect is a state that is experienced when the human body fails to respond to exercise that has proven effective in the past.”
Have you plateaued physically and emotionally when it comes to your workout regimen? This eventually happens to all of us. If you are dragging yourself to your workouts day in and out, its a good sign its time for a change.
Mixing it up is not only good for the mind, its great for the body. True athleticism is a balance between strength, endurance and flexibility. Its natural to favor one over the other two. Its also a good indication that whichever one of the three you favor the least is the one that could make the biggest difference in how you feel.
Are you a weights buff? Power through a plateau by mixing in a little balance and flexibility. Unexpected forms of lower impact exercise like yoga and pilates that are often viewed by hardcore gym types as “softy sports” actually teach the best body awareness by toning the core, and building long, lean muscles. Its a well known fact among elite athletes that the mind body connection separates the winners from the also-rans. Switch it up to see what a little more flexibility, mental agility and nuanced muscle memory will do for you.
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." - Einstein
Here are a few popular forms of exercise classes available and their varying benefits. Why not try a few that you feel might suit your needs? Try to be open minded, and perhaps work on an area that hasn't been a priority before.
As mentioned, yoga is great for building core strength, flexibility, balance and posture, and is amazing for stretching and elongating the muscles. A few other benefits are that it really helps to get you in tune with your body, establishing a strong mind-body connection. It is known to help regulate breathing as well, thus having therapeutic and calming effects for those that practice regularly.
Pilates has similar benefits to yoga, but uses machinery in its more advanced forms and can (depending on the type of yoga you are practicing) be a bit more intensive. Pilates also engages both the mind and body, builds amazing core strength, stretches and elongates the muscles, and helps to build flexibility and good posture.
Are you feeling a bit bored with your gym routine, or like you just can’t seem to get rid of that spare tire around your hips? Zumba is an awesome way to spice things up a bit, and drop some L-B’s! Zumba is an fun, upbeat combo of dance and exercise that is a great way to blow of some steam or relieve some stress! So much so that you won’t even realize how much of a workout you’re getting until you’re ready to drop from exhaustion! The Benefits? This form of exercise will dramatically improve your cardiovascular system, coordination, and with regular practice you will see rapid weight loss. (The average person burns up to 1000 calories in just one class!) By moving to the rhythm of the music, your body naturally tenses and flexes muscles all over, making Zumba a great way to tone up as well.
Spinning is fantastic as it really gives you autonomy over your workout. You are in a controlled environment and able to increase and decrease resistance, build and lower your heart rate, and train in intervals with the help of a professional teacher. As such, in this form of exercise it would be very difficult to plateau because you are constantly changing your routine and challenging yourself! The results? Amazingly toned legs and buttocks, improved heart rate and endurance, and a feeling of accomplishment (and adrenaline) at the end of every class!
Kettle Bell Classes
For all you weight lifters that don’t want to stray too far from home, this is a great option for something a little different that’s still in your arena. Kettle Bell training is a more of a full body workout than basic weight lifting, combining cardio and strength training. It also consists of more fluid movements, which avoids the monotony of isolated repetitions and is great for building flexibility and toning several muscles at once. The unique combo of strength training and cardio increases your metabolism exponentially and builds muscle while burning fat, which makes this method ideal for weight loss as well. Why spend hours at the gym doing separate cardio, strength training and stretching when you can squeeze it all into one class?
Swimming & Aqua Sports
Aquatic exercise is awesome for those looking for a full body workout, with little to now impact. Water exercises are deceivingly easy due to buoyancy and lack of resistance, yet swimming is one of the only sports that works almost every muscle in the body, building cardio strength, core strength, endurance, flexibility and muscle strength all at the same time. Due to the lack of stress on your joints and bones, this is also one of the lowest risk forms of exercise for injury. With regular practice, swimming also improves circulation and reduces your blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Water sports are a great option particularly for rehabilitating athletes or for those who have been hard on their bones, joints or muscles and are looking to stay fit without doing too much further damage.