plateaus happen to everyone working out. the body can become accustomed to certain movements, weights, durations ect... that is why some people change their program every 10 days, they read everything they can about muscle confusion, or worse they give up on their work out when they cant beat the plateau.
well next time you are feeling disappointed about your results, or you are looking for some motivation try out these 5 things.
1. set a goal. make it as specific as possible, using time, durations, dates ect. then write it down, tell your friends, post it on your door, write in or your bathroom mirror. put your goal somewhere where you will be reminded of what you are striving for every day. and don't forget to write down a reward for when you reach your goal!
2. put up a one year calendar. and then get yourself a big red marker. put up your calendar on a very prominant wall. every single day you meet you exercise, go to the gym, or go for a walk (or whatever you are doing to meet your goal) put a big red X through that day. after a few days of exercise you will have a chain of big red X's that you will be proud of and not want to break. - courtesy of Jerry Seinfeld
3.put away the magazine - if you are on a cardio machine and you are able to read your book or flip through the latest magazine you aren't working hard enough. exercise is supposed to be hard, it is supposed to take effort and attention. reading and flipping pages is taking away from the amount of effort you could be putting into your workout
-watching tv or listening to music has been shown to make people less aware of how hard they are working, how fast they are breathing and therefore allowing them to exercise for a longer duration without feeling as fatigued.
4. increase your intensity - either increase the weight you are using, or the duration of time you are exercising. never increase both at the same time. if you increase the weight, you will probably have to decrease the repititions you are doing. if you are doing 8-12 reps, rest only 30 seconds to 1 minute. if you are doing between 5-7 reps, rest about 2 minutes. if you are doing max strength with only 1-3 reps, make sure you are resting 4-5 minutes in between repitions.
if you are keeping your weight the same, try reducing the amount of time you are resting between reps while still keeping those time frames in mind. try doing an extra set, or another type of exercise. or spend an extra twenty minutes on cardio
5. try something new - love biking but arent seeing results anymore? try a spinning class, or try biking outside - there will be more resistance, wind, hills and pretty scenery! find out what fitness or aerobics classes your gym offers, take dance lessons. if you love cardio, try swimming. summer is coming so why not try to get outside. running outside takes much more engery and therefore burns more calories - because of the increased impact of running on pavement, and the natural terrain - just make sure your knees and ankles are up for the challange. try going for a hike, or canoeing on a lake.