How to reset your fitness plan and see great results again!

-Oct 15, Caroline Blight, Health -

Making sure you stay active and make time for exercise is as much about positive mental health and the benefits to our bodies as it is giving us the figure we would like. But when you can’t visually see the results of your workouts it can be discouraging. There are things you can do in order to reap all the rewards of regular exercise though as Fran Whitfield, Head Trainer at F45 Vauxhall explains.

Increase your intensity 

If you are no longer noticing a change in your body shape it could be that you have underestimated how fit you have become and the fact your workout is no longer tough enough for you! Try taking things up a notch – run a bit further in the same time period or push yourself to go that bit further. Add some extra weight in the gym or try a faster yoga style.“Incorporating different style of training not only keep things fun but can help with that plateau,” says Fran.“Training styles such as HIIT workouts increase that calorie burn in a short space of time. In addition, HIIT training has been proven to increase your metabolic rate post workout meaning you’ll continue to burn those calories even after exercising.”

Are you doing enough NEAT exercise?

If you have never heard of NEAT exercise you could be forgiven for not knowing if you are doing enough! “Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) plays a key role in results,” explains Fran. “Taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking up the escalator instead of chilling on the side, getting off a couple stops sooner and walking to work all contribute to your daily NEAT.” These simple ‘extras’ all add up over the course of a day and can really make a difference to your overall fitness and calorie burn. This is why just going to the gym is not enough – certainly not if you drive there and everywhere else! These small changes all add up so track your steps out of the gym as well as your effort in it.

Add resistance training

Increasingly women are embracing weight training, safe in the knowledge that it can be done without bulking up or looking ‘manly’. “Lift the weights and lift heavy!” says Fran. “Primarily focus on compound exercises which use multiple joints. These movements, such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, bent over rows, chest press have a much greater ‘anabolic’ effect, meaning you’ll recruit more muscles and burn more calories than sitting on a leg extension for hours!”

Just adding a 15 minute session to your cardio workout every time will have an impact. And you don’t need to invest in equipment if you prefer to exercise out of a gym, just lifting bags with heavy objects from around your home (or even small kids!) while you do the exercises is good. 

More: The ultimate weight lifting guide for women

Check you are in a calorie deficit 

So you workout several times a week, you make sure you are getting in your NEAT and you love to lift – why have you plateaued? Well it could be a simple case of what you are putting in you are not burning up!

“Fat loss results will only occur if we are in a calorie deficit,” says Fran. “If your results have plateaued the first thing to do is to check the calories you are consuming and compare that to your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure).”

As an outline Fran notes that one pound of fat is the equivalent of 3,500 calories so to lose one pound of fat a week you need to be in a deficit of 500 calories a day or an overall weekly deficit of 3,500 calories. “Similarly, if your results of strength and/or mass gain have plateaued you may not be consuming enough calories to fuel your training.” If this is the case then stock up on extra calories though healthy foods like nuts and protein sources rather than adding a bag of crisps!

Read on: Are your weekends to blame for your lack of progress? 

Take time to rest and relax

If you have upped your exercise regime already and wonder why you have seen no improvement then there is a change you are actually doing too much. “Exercise itself is a stressor on the body and will increase the amount of cortisol within the body,” says Fran. “If you have been training hard and for a long time you may need to take a week or two of active recovery such as walking, yoga, steady state swimming to de-load the body and reduce water retention and cortisol levels in the body.”

Give your body the opportunity to heal, relax and reset rather than pounding it even harder. “Do not stress about the apparent plateau, this will only add to your cortisol levels,” adds Fran. “Instead know it will be short lived and incorporate some meditation into your day.”

Find out why strength training will help your brain as well as your body, and how to make sure you don’t lose any days to injury.

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