Friday, March 20, 2009

I Hit A Plateau

What a cruel world! You implemented a new exercise routine and it's working really well. Strength is up, or maybe cardio stamina is much better, or maybe you've lost weight and inches in the trouble spots. Better yet, all of the above has occurred. Maybe it took only three weeks to achieve, or perhaps the progression has taken four months...Either way, NICE WORK!

Congratulate yourself you deserve to celebrate the victories. I know some celebrate by having a certain fitness goal with new workout shoes as the reward, others it's the cruise they've been planning, or maybe just going out for that juicy steak dinner. Remember goals are dreams with a plan.

But wait a minute, what happened? All of sudden the progress stops maybe even regresses. Party's over. Nothing is working anymore.

Here's what happened:
Psychologically, the mission is completed. You did it. No dream, no goal, no plan = no additional motivation to keep with it.

Physiologically, the body adapted. There's a term for this Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands (SAIDs), meaning your body was producing great fitness results because your exercise routine demanded it to make the necessary changes to complete the routine. The body is phenomenal at adapting to whatever you ask it to do. Then it goes above and beyond your expectations and performs your workout more and more efficiently. Eventually, there's no stress or challenge for the body. Simply stated, you're starting to go through the movements with ease.

Here's the solution:
Psychologically, feed the mind and spirit the right "nutrition and exercise." Have a new dream; turn it into a goal by making plans on how to achieve that special new goal. Make sure there's a reward at the end of this new journey. Be creative. Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again while expecting new results. There is no such thing as perfect workout. So stop doing the same routine. Boredom should not define your workout experience.

Physiologically, now that you know that your body does adapt... keep challenging it! Sure consistency is the key to achieving fitness success. I mean researchers tell us it takes about 10 weeks for results to really appear. In other words, significant gains in strength, marked improvement in performing movements fluidly, cardiac and lung capacity to increase and for metabolic response to increased workload and possibly decreased caloric intake to illicit fat loss or muscle gain.

GMA workouts don't work except in very rare cases. (GMA meaning General Milling Around.)

Instead, cycle through heavy lifting days and light or long runs and short runs. I never said have easy days. Sure some days may seem easier than others, but that maybe your perspective due to which days you enjoy doing more. Progress happens in spurts, never linear.

You know what WORKOUT is short for right? WORK your butt off in the gym and get OUT.

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