5 Ways To Break Out Of A Rut

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Starting a fitness regimen is challenging but oh so gratifying. Weight training gives you a tighter look, cardio helps your six-pack take shape, and your nutrition and supplements keep the results coming … fast. Then, something happens. Those once-rapid gains in strength start leveling off. Energy and enthusiasm start to wane, as does that steady decline in waist size. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to get back on track.

1 Intensify
A stagnant routine is a sure way to hit a plateau in the weight room. The remedy? Increase the weight you’re using and reduce the amount of rest between sets. Studies show that lifters who trained in the six-to-eight-rep range while resting fewer than 60 seconds between sets burned significantly more calories during and after workouts than those who rested longer. This can provide the shock to your muscles and heart needed to kick-start new progress.

2 Break It Up
Running for 30 to 45 minutes at 5 miles per hour on the treadmill is enough to drive anyone into a frozen-yogurt-fueled revolt. Shorten your workouts while increasing their effectiveness by using intervals. To start, run as fast as you can for 30 seconds, then walk or do a slow jog for 15 seconds. Repeat that 10 times, eventually working up to 15 or 20. Need a change of scenery? Take your sprints outside. Studies show that feelings of overall well-being increase for outdoor exercisers.

3 Eat!
Low energy levels can be a sign of common dieting disasters. One is skipping breakfast. Missing the first meal of the day not only allows muscle breakdown to go unchecked but also makes blood sugar levels crater. This can lead to huge lulls in available energy while also increasing the risk of binge eating. Another is eating low carb — 150 grams or fewer per day — for too long. Try carb cycling, interspersing two to three days of low-carb eating with a day or two of more moderate carb intake to lose fat incrementally while staying sane.

4 Switch Up Your Supps
Your preworkout supplements are not giving you the manic workout zing they once did? Now’s the time to try betaine or beta-alanine or to switch from coffee to caffeine in pill form. Switch up your creatine — if creatine monohydrate isn’t working anymore, try Con-Cret or Kre-Alkalyn. Or try a different preworkout formula, one with some of these new ingredients in it or with a different ratio of ingredients. And if you’re older than 30 and male, consider adding in a testosterone-boosting supplement.

5 Try Yoga
OK, it doesn’t have to be yoga (though there are quite a few reasons we could offer for why yoga could cure all that ails you). Try spinning, boxing or a TRX class. Take up martial arts or go for a rigorous hike. Try something brand new, even if you don’t know if you’ll like it. One of two things could happen — either you find a new tribe and a new way to work out or you’ll realize how good you had it when you were doing your old routine. Either way, you might just get the jolt you need to get out of that rut.