Starting a new workout regime can be very exciting; the light bulb moment has happened, and you’re full of enthusiasm to lose weight and get fit. For the first few months, all is well – the scales are moving, your clothes fit you better, and you’re no longer out of breath going upstairs or running for the bus. Then everything changes; you’re spending half an hour on the treadmill four times a week and nothing is moving. You’re not losing weight any longer, and you’re not getting any fitter; in fact, you’re noticing that your fitness might even have slipped back a little. In short, you’ve hit a plateau.
Instead of clearing your diary to find extra time in the gym – or worse still, becoming so demoralised that you give up – it’s time to change your workout. Most of us are creatures of habit, so even though we know we should be varying our exercise routines to stop this happening, we stick to our old routines, and we even risk injury by using the same muscles day in, day out.
However, rather than just swapping the treadmill for the rowing machine, you need to switch everything up, not just varying the activities, but the length of time you do them for, the intensity, and even where you’re doing them. It’s the constant adaptation that stops us from grinding to a halt, leading to better fitness and better weight loss.
If this seems too confusing to stick to, then don’t worry – it’s easier than it seems, all it needs is a little planning. If you’re a real stickler for routine, then this is for you, since you will be working out a few plans to rotate over a period of a few weeks. Vary your cardio activity, and also whether it’s for intensity or endurance; the key is to make sure that no two training sessions are the same, and that you never do two workouts designed for the same end back to back. You may want to discuss your initial plans with a personal trainer, and check in with them every month or so to make adjustments – it’s easy to decide on a plan which is either too tough or too easy for your current level of fitness, and if you don’t factor in suitable warm ups and cool downs, including plenty of stretches, you are in danger of picking up a sports injury.
By their nature, sports injuries can be hard for your GP to diagnose. Waiting lists can also be long for hospital scans, so a private MRI in London is a good idea to speed up the process, especially if your workout is crucial to your physical or mental health, or if the injury is such that you are unable to carry out even day to day tasks without pain, let alone follow an exercise regime. A quick diagnosis can help you get the treatment you need to get back to your best.