An exercise plateau occurs because our bodies readily adapt to change. If you go on an extreme diet, for example, your metabolism slows (goes into "starvation mode"), making it harder to lose those last few pounds. On the positive side, increased muscle tone and strength are desirable results of the body's adaptive capabilities. In order to continue seeing those positive results, however, you need to make regular upgrades to your fitness routine.
Research shows that approximately 50 percent of new exercisers quit within six months of starting a program -- and lack of results ranks among the top 10 reasons. Instead of joining those who have given up on fitness, evaluate your current exercise program to find areas you can kick up a notch. Here's how:
If your cardiovascular fitness program needs tweaking, try the following:
Add variety to your weight training program to get fitness results and help you stick with it:
Keep in mind that you'll see results fastest when you start out. If you're a seasoned exerciser it's more difficult to notice changes because you're beyond the initial adaptation phase. Don't despair! You'll still experience changes, just not as fast as in the beginning.
In addition, don't use the scale as your only measure of success. If you feel better about yourself, your clothes fit better (or even loosely!) and you've developed healthier eating and exercise habits, you're on the right track. Because after all, the relationship you have with yourself is a lifetime commitment.
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