When it comes to keeping motivated and focused on one’s training schedule, there are 2 main enemies we all need to smite before they dig their claws in:
Boredom and plateau.
OK, so what are they exactly. Well, one of them is simple enough. Or is it? Becoming bored with something may not actually be as straightforward as one might imagine. Subconsciously, you may not realise that you are doing something out of habit and routine. If your attention isn’t dedicated to the task at hand because it has become a routine chore, your mind will probably be set on something else while your body just performs the minimum required action- which could then lead to plateauing.
Keeping a varied training programme staves off the “routine” mentality setting in. By switching exercises for similar alternatives that work the same muscles you can begin to overcome this first hurdle. Naturally this cannot be done with every type of exercise but there are a great many that can be varied. Inventing new ways to do something will keep your mind on the task at hand, whilst simultaneously making it more interesting. Chances are, if you’re bashing out a new exercise, you won’t have much muscle memory to recall which will automatically make it more challenging.
An exercise plateau sinks in when you do the same routine for so long that your body no longer gleans any benefit from it. This is why it’s important to constantly move your goalposts and set new challenges for yourself.
Just like decorating your house, you’re never finished!
New challenges are always exciting. You can either achieve this by setting time trials or counting rounds. A perfect example of a time trial is a bodyweight circuit of 4 to 6 exercises which attacks all areas of the body. Once a rep range is set for each of the exercises, time yourself to see how quickly you can complete one round. Your challenge is now to beat it! Again and again, until it’s time for new exercises – you don’t want to get “bored”!
Counting rounds can also be done with bodyweight circuits. You can set a Time Limit and see how many times you can complete the circuit before the timer goes off. For example, 30 minutes is your limit, in which you must complete as many rounds of the circuit. This battle is won on taking rest. The less you take, the more you can squeeze in.
These plateau busting methods work great by oneself as well as pitching up against someone of a similar ability. You can keep things interesting and challenging with a workout buddy, as you both improve the competition will become fierce – and who likes to be beaten by their training buddy?
Certainly not me!
written by Jim Norfolk At Home Fitness Personal Trainer in Milton Keynes