No matter how consistently you stick to a fitness routine, there will always come a time when you feel as if you’ve hit a training plateau. Eventually progress slows and the workouts you’ve always used start to feel less and less effective. It’s time to take your fitness to the next level.
Related: 6 Ways to Break Out of a Fitness Rut
Whether you’re training with a specific goal in mind or just hoping to stay in shape, increasing your fitness is always possible. Living a healthy lifestyle means finding new ways to challenge your body, make healthy choices, and maintain optimal physical fitness.
Once you’ve conquered those goals that used to feel impossible, it’s natural to want to continue improving.
Taking your fitness to the next level might mean conquering that marathon or losing those last 5 pounds – but no matter what your next level may be, there are a few simple strategies you can use to get there with ease.
5 Simple Ways to Take Your Fitness to the Next Level
Increase Your Daily Step Count
One of the simplest ways to take your fitness to the next level is to increase your daily step count. Many people try their best to squeeze in a workout and then forget about their activity for the rest of the day.
While fitting in a workout is certainly beneficial, staying active throughout the day can really do wonders for your health.
The best part is that increasing your daily step count doesn’t have to involve any drastic life changes. Implementing simple activities such as daily dog walks, choosing to take the stairs, or regular walk breaks from your desk can really add up throughout the day.
Incorporate Interval Workouts
If you feel like you’re stuck in a workout rut and haven’t been able to make any improvements lately, you might be focusing on the wrong types of exercise. While walking and basic cardio activities are a great way to burn calories and lose weight, they aren’t the most efficient when it comes to really increasing your fitness level and cardiovascular efficiency.
When your workouts are feeling stale, try incorporating some interval training on a weekly basis. Interval training in the form of HIIT workouts is a great way to quickly burn fat, increase your VO2 max, and gain muscle strength.
HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts involve alternating between short periods of rest and periods of intense exercises that quickly increase your heart rate. This type of training is popular with bodyweight exercises and various forms of cardio, such as running, the elliptical or spin bike.
Switching things up to include one day of interval training each week can really help take your fitness to the next level.
Practice Active Recovery
Recovery days are a crucial part of any training regime – whether you’re a professional athlete or starting from scratch. Recovery days provide our body with the rest it needs to rebuild torn muscle fibers and recover both mentally and physically.
However, many of us mistakenly assume that recovery days have to involve continuous rest with very little time on our feet.
While spending time resting with your feet up is certainly beneficial, recovery days don’t have to be centered around sedentary activities. Implementing various forms of active recovery is a simple way to provide your body with the rest it needs while promoting and enhancing its recovery.
Active recovery might involve a short walk, relaxing yoga session, or some time with your foam roller. These recovery activities can be really helpful during training as they promote blood flow to help enhance circulation and reduce swelling.
Taking the time to schedule in a few active recovery sessions each week might be just what your body needs to make some serious improvements.
Create a Training Plan
One surefire way to quickly take your fitness to the next level is to create a training plan. Staying active or heading to the gym on a regular basis is great for your health, but often leads to redundancy.
Taking the time to create a training plan, whether you’re training for a specific event or not, can help map out your workouts and keep you accountable.
With a calendar in front of you, you’ll be able to visualize the variety in your workouts (or lack thereof), see a gradual build in intensity, and plan easy days after tough workouts.
Scheduling your workouts ahead of time helps you plan around busy days and hectic weekends. You’ll be able to visually map out the next week or month to ensure you are able to fit in all of the activities you want.
Whether your training plan involves a hand-written calendar or extensive PDF, your fitness routine will receive a much-needed boost in structure by creating one.
Mix Up Your Workouts
At some point or another, we all hit a plateau in our fitness. When we first begin a fitness routine, the pounds come off quickly, progress happens fast, and we see improvements each and every day. But once we’ve been at it for a while, it’s common to hit a plateau and wonder why we’re not seeing as much progress with the same routine.
When a fitness plateau strikes, it usually means that it’s time to mix things up. Activities that once challenged your body are no longer providing as many benefits. We suddenly find ourselves stuck in a rut, unsure what to do next.
If this is the case, a simple way to take your fitness to the next level is to mix things up. Vary your workouts each week – alternate between cardio and strength, bodyweight workouts and weighted workouts, active recovery and rest, or running and biking.
However you choose to mix things up, remember that it’s important to include easy days along with those hard days, along with plenty of rest and recovery.
No matter how long we’ve been keeping up with our fitness routine, it’s normal to hit a plateau and find ourselves bored with something that used to be fun and effective.
Taking chances, mixing things up, and continuously challenging yourself is key to taking your fitness to the next level. No matter how much progress you have made, there is always room for new improvements.
Try something new and you just might surprise yourself.
More tips to improve your fitness:
- 30 Ways to Improve Your Health and Fitness
- 6 Ways to Create a Healthy, Fitness Lifestyle
- 10 Healthy Habits to Stay Fit Year Round