How to Break Out of a Fitness Plateau

How to Break Out of a Fitness Plateau
Losing weight and improving my self image was a powerful motivator for me to start running. In this regard, I’m very similar to much of the RunKeeper community, according to a RunKeeper survey from earlier this year: 49% of men and 53% of women indicated that they were running at least in part to lose a set amount of weight (sample size: 1,265 ...

Losing weight and improving my self image was a powerful motivator for me to start running. In this regard, I’m very similar to much of the RunKeeper community, according to a RunKeeper survey from earlier this year:

  • 49% of men and 53% of women indicated that they were running at least in part to lose a set amount of weight (sample size: 1,265 users).  An additional ~11% of both men and women indicated that they were trying to lose or maintain their weight to improve their running performance.
  • 47% of all RunKeeper goals set within the last year were ‘Lose Weight’ goals
  • 4 out of 5 RunKeeper users say that the primary reason they run is either to lose weight or maintain/improve their health and self-image

Even with weight loss as a motivator, it’s pretty common to eventually reach a fitness plateau.  As time goes on, you may no longer get as many surprised looks or compliments when you walk into a room like you did at first. What do you do then, when many of the external motivating factors for working out that you once relied on have faded?

Now you need to spark the internal flame within, to carry your own personal fitness torch. I personally had to figure out ways to address the nagging fear, “I’m going to quit and lose everything I worked so hard to gain.” In some ways leaving the question partially unanswered might be motivational factor for a lifetime of fitness—it keeps pushing you forward. On the other hand you can’t just continue to do ONLY those things that brought you initial success. If nothing else it’s boring. The good news is there’s a solution. Your personal fitness flame can be re-ignited with at least three sparks to give you that burning fire: goals, groups, and new workouts.

Set New Goals

Set it, track it, watch it happen, and talk it up. There’s always a new goal, new mountains to climb, and new opportunities. Use the goal feature in RunKeeper to set something. Maybe it’s as simple as a mileage goal. Once you set the goal in RunKeeper it’s also very easy to publicize it. Why share? Don’t consider this to be self-centered. Sharing your goals and talking it up holds you accountable. Don’t forget to thank your friends, even your non-fitness friends, for allowing you to share.

Join a Group

Linking your workout to social interaction can be a powerful reinforcement for healthy activity and healthy relationships. There are plenty of social media fitness groups such as #RKchat on Twitter where you can connect to others who are working on the same things. Just participating in one social media group can open up many more. If you are looking for a live and in-person group then check your local running specialty store. Many will have training groups, free clinics, and local race calendars to help you connect with other runners. Don’t be intimidated! Every runner was once a beginner and we all like to talk about it! All you have to do is ask!

Find New Workouts

Runners can often be obsessed with running. They jealously guard any attempt to interfere with their running time and consider it an attempt derail their entire lifestyle when suggestions are made regarding activities such as biking or yoga. Try to remember though, what it was like when you first started running. Think about how bad you looked or the terrible mistakes you made. I started running in an old pair of mowing shoes just because I thought I was being frugal. I did not consider the injury risk I was taking, not to mention my own comfort. If learning a new physical skill can boost both physical and mental functions then learning a second one can repeat those same benefits. Don’t consider it an interruption to running but rather an activity that will make you a better runner. Set a yoga or cross training goal and make sure to share your progress. Devote one day per week to rest and one more day per week to learn a new work out such as yoga, running drills, cross-fit, biking, or swimming. The list goes on. Click the log in your RunKeeper app then click activity to a list of other activities to keep that flame burning.

What about you? What have you used to light your fitness fire?

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Source: blog.runkeeper.com