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    Plateau-busting tips for avoiding common workout pitfalls

    That stubborn muffin top that does not want to budge, the extra 20 minutes you can’t manage to add to your workout – when plateaus occur they can leave you feeling frustrated and discouraged, and make it even harder to stick to your get-in-shape goals. What’s the secret to beating a plateau?

    Avoid it in the first place, says America’s health and wellness expert Jillian Michaels.

    “Mixing up your workout routine can help you stay on track and avoid one of the most common, debilitating pitfalls of reaching your health goals,” says Michaels, who has teamed up with Curves to create Curves Workouts with Jillian Michaels. “To avoid plateaus, your workouts need to incorporate the latest fitness techniques that can help to build lean muscle and amp up metabolism to deliver results.”

    Plateaus occur for many reasons, including boredom or too much routine in a workout that doesn’t address all aspects of a woman’s health goals. Michaels offers these tips to help women get an effective workout without any plateaus:

    * Focus on what’s really motivating you. Maybe you want to look better in a swimsuit or are getting in shape for a trip that will involve a lot of walking. It’s important to be specific about your motivations and goals and connect emotionally with them so you have a lasting source of inspiration. Visualize yourself reaching your goal.

    * Commit to a routine that combines resistance training and cardiovascular exercise that targets all major muscle groups. This will deliver the best results. “Remember, it’s how you train, not how long, that produces results,” Michaels says.

    * Don’t give up all your “me-time.” You don’t need a daily four-hour workout to achieve results. It’s possible to find an effective workout that requires as little as 30 minutes of your day. During that workout time, focus on burning calories and fat, and building lean muscle and strength.

    * If you fall off the wagon, don’t waste time beating yourself up over it. “Climb right back on,” Michaels says. Focus your energy on identifying your key motivation so you’ll stay on track, by working out at least three to four days a week for a minimum of 30 minutes at a time.

    * Keep your heart rate up during workouts. Burn as many calories as possible while you’re training, and be sure to stay within your fitness capabilities. Look for options that offer modifications for any fitness level, keep your heart rate up, keep you moving and always push you in new ways.

    * Mix things up and be creative. Too much routine will leave you bored and can slide you into a plateau. Find new ways to challenge your body like Curves Workouts with Jillian Michaels, which include resistance training and cardio and change each month. Thirty minutes and you’re done. 

    * Make eating healthy easier on yourself. Stock your freezer with pre-made meals that have fewer than 400 calories so that on those nights when you need a quick and easy dinner, you won’t be tempted by fast food. Plan ahead if you’ll be eating on the go, and keep healthy snacks like nuts (in proper portion-sized plastic bags) or protein bars on-hand.

    “Plateaus never have to derail your health goals,” Michaels says. “With some creativity, and the right mix of exercises, it’s possible to stay on track and get the results you desire.”

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