If you’ve been working out consistently, let me be the first to say – way to go! Consistency is probably the biggest issue for people beginning a new workout plan and who frequently get on and off the workout wagon. Frankly, it’s probably the most important variable for initially seeing results. In those first few weeks and months, people are generally focus on just getting to the gym and are not overly concerned about the quality of their workouts.
But invariably, once you’ve mastered consistency, there will come a time where the dreaded plateau hits. There is nothing worse than putting in the time and not seeing any movement on that scale when you know you’ve got at least 10 lbs. left to go. What gives?
Well, from a physiological standpoint, what usually happens is that we get into a routine and initially, that routine challenges our muscles for about 4-6 months. However, our bodies are smart and they get more efficient at doing the exercises that they’ve become accustomed to doing. So, the same amount of work no longer produces the same results.
Solution: switch it up using the F.I.T. principle. F.I.T. stands for three things –
F = frequency. If you’re in a rut, increase the frequency of your workouts. Kick it up from hitting the gym 3 days a week to 4 and you’ll see improvements.
I = intensity. Run faster, cycle harder, lift heavier weights. By increasing the intensity of your workouts, you’re shocking your body into action.
T = time (or duration). If you’ve been riding the elliptical for 30 minutes, bump your time up to 45 minutes.
As you level of fitness increases, you can mix up the different variables above (for example, increasing both your intensity and time) to maximize the time you spend working out. While it’s definitely a simple concept, it’s a surefire way to jump start your progress again. So go ahead and challenge yourself, you have nothing to lose…but weight!