Fight Fitness Plateau and Increase Fat Burn by Tweaking your Exercise Routine
By Laurel House
Every time a new piece of at-home exercise equipment comes out, throngs of fitness fanatics (as well as those of us who just like to have the latest, greatest) hurry out and swoop them up. Then, after a few months (at most) we tire of our once shiny new toy and toss it off to the side to become yet another dust collector, toe stubber, or uncomfortable chair…ish thing. The reason for our once obsessed enthusiasm turned stale? Two things: Boredom and Plateau.
Boredom- Fact is, the repeat repeat repeat of a fitness routine gets, well, redundant and therefore boring. Once your mind is out of the game, your body tends to follow.
Plateau– Your new piece of equipment may, for a time, yield unbelievable body changes- slimming your thighs and toning your abs like nothing you’ve ever tried. Why? Your muscles are moving in new ways and your cells have yet to memorize the movements. But soon those same muscles no longer feel sore the next am, even after an intense workout. You stop noticing change and instead seem to stay the same (or worse, start to gain!). You have plateaued.
Thankfully, just by slightly tweaking your old routine, you can reawaken your body, perk up your muscles, and see with glee as your body responds to your newfangled exercise program again!
So how can you take a blah routine and tweak it enough to trick your body into thinking it’s something new? By adding additional muscle groups into your workout, you are not only intensifying the movements, burning more calories- remember that working your muscles ups your metabolism (even after you’re done working out). Here are a few exercises begging to be resuscitated:
You know who you are… You have been stuck in your same old walking routine, tracing the same steps along the same path that you paved years ago. You pass the same houses, wave to the same couples, and get barked at by the same dogs… day in and day out. And you wonder why you are gaining weight? If you want to see positive change in your body you have to increase the intensity. Try Leslie Sansone’s Power Intervals 2 below.
How to Tweak It:
One easy fix is to up your exercise duration. But you don’t have time for that. The better option? Add other elements. Use your environment: Walk up and down a set of stairs 5 times. Step up and down on the park bench 25 times. Jog every other or third block. Walk up your neighbor’s steep driveway. Add 20 walking lunges to every 4th . Do ANYTHING to fire a few extra muscles and suddenly a stroll because a workout.
You’ve been stepping up and down on that half moon ball for too long. It’s time to up the ante and add floor exercises.
How to Tweak It:
-Plank- Take advantage of Bosu’s instability and place your hands on the ball for Plank.
-Knee to Nose- Still in plank, lift one foot off the ground, bend the knee of the raised foot, and bring that knee as close to your nose as you can. Repeat 15 times. Switch sides.
-Push-ups- Flip the Bosu upside down (so that the ball portion is on the ground), hold the handles on either side (yes, there are little slits for your fingers to grip) and do push-ups. 15 reps.
Your sit-ups on the ball have become benign. How about doing sit-ups holding the ball?
How to Tweak It:
Fill the ball with a couple of cups of sand (you can pour it in through the air hole) to add a bit of weight and then…
-Sit-Up Ball Raise- Lay on your back in a sit-up position with the ball in your hands resting on your stomach. As you sit up, raise the ball straight up into the air, straightening your arms. As you lay back down, lower the ball back to your belly. Repeat 30 times.
-Play Catch- If you can wrangle a friend to be your workout buddy, sit facing each other in sit-up position (again with the ball in your hands resting on your belly). When you sit up, toss the ball to your friend. Roll back. Sit-up again and have your friend toss the ball back to you. Go back and forth playing catch 30 times.
Stuck in a Pilates rut? Power it up with weights. You can actually add free weights and ankle weights to give more oomph to tired exercises without affecting the muscle elongating effects. In fact, you will see change in your body faster!
How to Tweak It:
-Weighted Hundred- Hold 1-3 lb hand weights during the hundred to intensify the ab workout.
-Weighted Leg Series- For really any of the leg and thigh exercises (particularly those when you are laying on the ground) adding light ankle weights will more effectively and efficiently trim those thighs inside and out.
Yes, an old dog can learn new tricks (I’m not referring to you, I’m referring to the dated equipment).
Whether you’re a Pilates beginner or have practiced mat Pilates for years, adding a ball to your routine will increase your calorie burn, stamina and strengthen and tone your muscles.