NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

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March 28, 2014

Living Fit: Break through your strength training rut

Are your workouts starting to feel stale? Tired of that body pump class? Going through that same weight circuit making you feel like you’re going to scream? Are you lifting the same amount of weight every session?

Everyone who works out reaches a plateau when training. Even the most conditioned, dedicated athletes need to shake up their routines every once in a while. Here are a few suggestions to get out of that rut and reach a new level of satisfaction in the gym.

Check your stress. Workouts often become stale when we experience increased stress levels in our lives. Not getting your usual eight hours of sleep? Have the kids been sick? Helping out more with an aging parent? Stress has a direct bearing on the quality of your workout. Identify your stress, and create a plan to reduce it. Take a few extra minutes to create a healthy meal, then actually sit down and enjoy it. Try including a relaxing yoga class in your day. It is often helpful to write down what troubles you. You may find that you are handling more than you give yourself credit for, especially when you see it in black and white. Reduce your stress, and watch your workouts become more effective and more enjoyable.

Try periodization. It is not always about the amount of weight you are lifting. Change up the number of sets, repetitions and exercises you perform. Try altering the amount of time you allow between sets and the number of times you train a week. I tell my clients that they should never expect the same workout with me twice — ever. Not only would this be boring for both of us, but also a kiss of death to your training. The body continues to adapt to the load that you provide it. Changing up your workouts keeps the body responsive. I call it the shock-and-awe effect. Place demands on the body, nourish by refueling between sessions, get adequate rest and watch your body transform.

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