When your regular sweat sessions stop showing you the progress you’re used to, it can become difficult to get yourself to the gym for those 6 a.m. Spin classes. On the flip side, when you throw in the towel and stop making it to the gym at all, you’re pretty much guaranteed to see your fitness plateau become less of a plateau and more of a regression. So, it’s a lose-lose, right? Not exactly. The way you handle a fitness plateau makes all the difference. We asked Astrid Swan, a professional trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp, to lay it out for us. Scroll through to find out what the pros say is the best way to break through any fitness rut!
Your first instinct may be to do more, more, more. But longer workouts aren’t the answer. If you start to see your progress coming to a halt, you have to ramp up efforts in an entirely different way. "When you stop seeing results from your current workout plan, I always recommend my clients look at what they have been doing and make small adjustments to get back on track,” Swan says. “The body and the mind need to be consistently challenged to grow and succeed.” What that means is it’s time to step out of your comfort zone. If you’re a cardio queen who’s used to logging long runs on the treadmill, do more strength-training workouts. If you do a lot of strength work, incorporate HIIT into your routine. If your body is used to Spinning, you’ve got to find a different way to push yourself. “Mixing it up is key,” Swan says. That doesn’t mean you have to ditch your favorite workout for good, but you do have to make some changes to see results.
The best way to “find a way to get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” according to Swan, is to follow someone else’s lead—aka take a class. “Try taking new classes—take advantage of the variety of fitness in your city.” Whether that means exploring a class you’ve never considered at your gym or signing up for ClassPass ($99 per month), the app that allows you to studio-hop, newness can be challenging and inspiring. Then again, if you’ve hit the point where you don’t want to go to any class, we recommend picking up some gear. New athletic wear can be surprisingly motivating.
What’s your favorite exercise class? Tell us below!