Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fighting through a Fitness Plateau

By Natalie Smith
Group Exercise Team Leader, LifeBridge Health & Fitness

Ever feel like you're working out like a fiend, but no longer experiencing results? You may be at a plateau, a common concern of many fitness enthusiasts and even athletes. A change in intensity may be just what's required to take you to the next level of weight loss, toning or performance.

In fitness, there is a level of intensity that trainers and instructors call the "edge of discomfort." This refers to working at a level that challenges, but doesn't overwhelm you. It is the place where you feel like you're testing your limits, your heart rate is pounding, your muscles are fatigued, and your breathing is heavy. If you were to work any harder, you'd be quite uncomfortable.

Many people work up to their edge of discomfort which, in general, is good. But if you're facing a plateau, it's not always good enough.

During my CycleFit classes, I often encourage participants to push themselves past their edge of discomfort. This doesn't sound like much fun, but pushing yourself over that edge is exactly where you need to go from time to time if you want to see continued improvements. When your body consistently performs at the same level, it puts you a risk for that all-too-frustrating plateau. Working harder, even if only for brief intervals, helps you achieve more than you originally thought was possible.

Pushing past our perceived limits can strengthen the not only our physical muscles, but also the mental muscles we need to achieve amazing results every day. All it takes is making regular, small steps past that edge of discomfort. It may be uncomfortable to take the risk, but it's often the only way to grow and bring more of what you want into your life.

If you are interested in starting on your way to fitness, please call 410-484-6800 or visit us at www.lifebridgehealthandfitness.com

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