After following a programme for so long, your body can start to get used to the load and plateau. Cardio may start to build up less sweat and weights will get lighter. As your body improves and gets better with the workout, make sure the workout gets better too. If you are halfway through your workout programme and enjoying it and not quite ready to change, why not make it harder? You can build confidence within your workouts but still be able to make them more challenging; doing this will boost the results.
Running on the treadmill…
Intervals – if you currently run at the same level for 10 minutes, make it difficult at different times. Intervals mean you are able to work harder for different sections of the workout with recovery periods in the middle. So instead of running at speed 6 for 10 minutes, why not do 2 minutes at speed 6 and then 1 minute at speed 10. You will feel the difference by working a lot harder for those few minutes than sticking to the same throughout.
Also try adding an incline. Using the incline on a treadmill makes it a more similar terrain to walking or running down your average road which will help for this kind of situation. Plus walking or running up hill is a lot harder than on a flat surface and will really work those leg muscles.
On the bike…
Intervals are another good workout on the bike. Try a similar experiment by cycling at a steady pace for 2 minutes to going as fast as you can for 1 minute and then repeat until you have finished your bike session.
Another interval to play around with, particularly good on the bike or cross trainer is to play with the resistance. Again, try starting at a level heavy enough to just feel it working your legs for 2 minutes and then whack it up for 1 minute 4-5 levels but try to maintain the speed.
Progression – the easiest way to improve and progress your resistance exercises is either to increase the weight, add a few more repetitions or increase the number of sets. This can be dependent on what you are wanting to achieve, whether it be toning or bulking. When increasing the weight, it is beneficial to aim to increase the weight just enough to push yourself to the limit each time, meaning your muscles will fatigue quicker but be working harder – less can sometimes be more.
Super sets – use your rest and recovery time between sets effectively. If you have just done a set of lunges, whilst resting for the next set, why not do some tricep dips and work the arms. Keep repeating and you’ve done two muscles and saved some time. Alternatively blitz those muscles and do another set of a different exercise working the same muscle group.
Music can be a massive motivator whilst working out. Even just changing or adding a few different songs to your playlist can make a huge difference. A more upbeat dance tune might encourage you to run faster on the treadmill than your favourite power ballad. Use the music to help determine when to work harder…”I will do as many repetitions as I can in the chorus”.
You don’t have to start performing complicated exercises too quickly or straight away Get used to the basics and build on what you know to have confident workouts where you can start to see and feel the results.