Pushing Past Your Gym Plateau

Whether it's at the start of the new year, a new month or a new day, many of us will make the resolution to get our shit together, put on our activewear and actually head to the gym in it. I personally love heading to the gym and doing a workout. While at the time it can suck hardcore, the feeling you get as soon as you're done knowing you made it through, and the feeling that will last with you for the rest of the day knowing you've smashed a good workout that day, is addictive.

Before we go any further I want to stress I am not a fitness expert in any shape or form, anything expressed or talked about here simply comes from my own personal experience.

If you're heading to the gym to start your fitness journey, of course it's going to be hard at first. Whether you're trying to do cardio, lift some weights, stretch out your body or take on some body weight exercises, if you're new to the fitness game it's going to feel weird and tough.

I find that when you're first starting out however, it doesn't take long for your body to become accustomed to the workouts you're doing, and in the beginning you'll see improvements quite quickly. You'll find you can run for longer, lift heavier weights and hold a plank for longer.

What can happen though, once you've gone through that beginning stage and got your body use to working out, is that you can hit a plateau.

This is when you struggle to take your fitness to the next level. For some reason you can't seem to handle those heavier weights, you can't seem to get your body to push to that next level. I've had this recently and it can be super demotivating and disheartening. When you've been consistently putting in the effort and no longer seeing results as quickly, you can be left wondering what you're doing wrong. One thing to remember is this is completely normal, you're not the only one going through the struggle.

It's the same thing that happens with many things; whether you're learning a new skill, losing weight or trying to improve fitness, when you start off at the beginning with a blank canvas you have a lot to learn, a lot to gain, so you rapidly pick up all the bits and pieces you've been missing. Once you improve to a certain level, to a point your body is comfortable with, it can be hard to make it go that step further.

So how do you get yourself over this little bump in the road? Honestly the answer isn't anything mind blowing or life changing. The answer is simply you need to really push yourself. If you want to improve your cardio further you have to push your body and make it run for that little bit longer. If you want to lift those heavier weights you just have to make yourself pick them and pump them out, even if your body is screaming that it doesn't want to. Obviously when you are trying to push your body, you do need to keep in mind to not push your body to far to the point that you do some damage to yourself.

Something that I do when I'm doing my own workout is, if I'm doing weights or some sort of body exercise, when I think I'm done, I push myself to just do another five reps. Even if it takes you a little longer to push them out, just do five extra. If you get yourself to do that each time for each exercise you'll slowly start to notice that those extra five are no longer that hard to push out. Then you start giving yourself another extra five on top of, etc.

The same works for cardio. If you're coming to the end of your session on the treadmill, the bike or some other machine, try to keep going for an extra minute or two. Maybe bump up the speed at which you're going for that extra time as well. Again, it will be tough, but that minute will go super quick, and before you know it that extra minute won't seem like such a challenge.

Everyone has their own fitness journey, everyone has their own path and everyone's body is going to need to take a different route to get to wherever it is you want to be. The key is to not let yourself get discouraged, whether it's by your own progress or watching other people around you at the gym. Especially when it comes to watching other people at the gym, remind yourself that they all started just like you and at some point in time where in the exact same spot on their journey as you are now.

If fitness is something you want to really make an improvement on in the new year, remember these little bits of advice for when times get tough, remember to just push yourself that tiny bit further than you feel you want to, and I promise you, you'll feel great afterwards.

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