We’ve all been there. You’ve been training for months on end but haven’t seen any change on the scale (or in the mirror) in weeks. Your motivation has vanished, and you’re beginning to prioritise Netflix over dumbbells. Basically you’re in a rut, and we’re here to bust you out of it with these five tips.
Tip #1. Evaluate your Current Situation
Before making any drastic changes to your workout routine, you need to decide if you actually are in a rut. Weight loss is not linear. You don’t lose the exact same amount every week. This is why recording your progress is an excellent idea. Check your measurements from week one and compare to your current measurements. This will give you a much more accurate representation of how you’re doing.
If you’re still not happy with your progress make sure that your diet is in order, and critically analyze your current workout routine.
Are you exercising hard enough?
Are you training both the upper and lower body sufficiently?
Could you fit in an extra 20 mins HIIT in to your week?
If so, then you can get out of a rut without having to make too many changes to your lifestyle.
Tip #2. Change your Goals
Another way to break out of a rut is to change your goals. If you’ve been training for weight loss for 6 months you might be in need of a new goal. You might be surprised to hear this, but training for strength might actually help you to get the body you desire.
So instead of filling your program with circuit training, TABATA, and HIIT, you could reset your goals to trying to deadlift your bodyweight, or improve your squats. This will give you a specific target, and the added intensity of weight training may actually transform your physique!
Tip #3. Find Upgrades for Common Exercises
This is a really easy way to bust out of a rut without having to make too many changes. Look at your current program and find a similar alternative (or progression) for the exercises on it. For example you could exchange press ups for incline bench press, seated shoulder press to push press, box squats to barbell squats.
Tip #4. Change your Training Program
One thing needs to be made clear before we look at this tip. Chopping and changing your training program every 3 or 4 weeks is one of the biggest mistakes that you can make. You need to follow a training program for at least 10-12 weeks. However, many people follow the same routine for 10-12 months!
Changing your regular 3 sets of 10 reps per exercise program to something like German Volume Training (GVT) where you perform 10 sets of 10 reps on 2 or 3 exercises per session could really shake things up. Alternatively, you could try super-setting exercises, for example training bench press and bent over row at the same time (1 set of bench immediately followed by 1 set of bent over rows).
You could also experiment with circuit training or TABATA, or go in the complete opposite direction and follow a 5×5 strength program. When properly planned, a change in program can really make a big difference.
Tip #5. Train With a Partner
Training with a partner is a great way to improve motivation, and increase the intensity. You probably read that and decided that your friend who is in amazing shape would be the best training partner – but is that always the case?
Consider that you might benefit from training with someone less experienced than you. Teaching someone else can force you to increase your own training intensity to set a good example(or show off!). Find out which one works for you, or try a combination of both by training with different partners per week.
One thing you should try to avoid is overly-chatty training partners. A good workout buddy will increase intensity, but a bad one will lower it. Just because you’re best friends with someone, doesn’t mean that they are the right fit to be your training buddy. Picking someone who is competitive, or who inspires you may be the best solution.