You wake up, shower, eat a light protein-packed breakfast, and head to the gym. You spend an hour fast walking on the treadmill, bulk up on the chest press machine, do a few sets of curls, lunge to exhaustion, and head home. You repeat that same routine daily. And you—get this—may not even see the results you want. “People who just go through the motions, doing the same workout over and over again each week, don’t make progress,” says Craig Ballantyne, CTT, owner of CB Athletic Consulting, Inc. “In order to see results your body needs a new training stimulus.”
Here’s the key: work out for less time at a more intense pace. “A new program puts new demands on the body,” says Ballantyne. “The body reacts by changing—think muscle growth, increased strength, and improved aerobic capacity.” It’s easy to transition from fitness beginner to a relatively fit workout enthusiast in 8-12 weeks, but for more tone and definition, you’ll need that extra boost. Use the tips below to surpass the plateau and amp up your routine.
1. Max Out Bodyweight Interval Training
Follow the 20 seconds on/10 seconds off method to boost aerobic fitness and muscle endurance. Go all out, doing as many reps as you can in 20 seconds, then take a quick breather for recovery. Repeat for 8 rounds. Make it a total-body workout with bodyweight movements like burpees, jumping jacks, and bodyweight squats. Looking to up your resistance? Try adding equipment-based exercises like kettlebell swings.
2. Increase Weight But Lower Reps
Increasing your weight by 5% and decreasing your reps per set by 2 will increase your strength. “Say you bench press 200 pounds for 8 reps per set, but you’re stuck,” says Ballantyne. “The simplest thing to do is to increase your weight to 210 pounds and decrease the reps per set to 6. It’s a new stimulus for strength and muscle growth, and it’s a safe place to start.”