8 Ways to Overcome Fitness Plateaus and Shake off the Exercise Blues

When a person starts their fitness journey, things will go as planned for the first six months. During this period everything is new, workout routines are challenging and your body is constantly adapting. But, at some point, your body no longer responds the same way to the workouts you usually do. Or, you just can’t seem to find the mental strength to pack your gym bag and go to the gym. These challenges happen even to the people who are masters of motivation. If this is the case with your workout progress and motivation, you have probably observed the first sign of training or fitness plateau.

Fitness plateau defined

Fitness plateau is a term used to describe a sudden pause in your workout results. You’ve reached a certain peak in your progress and suddenly came to a halt. Even though you put in the effort, do the workouts, the results remain the same or even start to decline a bit. That’s when you know you’ve reached the dreaded slump. 

But, a plateau can also happen when you no longer find excitement in your workouts. It is when workout boredom sets in. You feel bored even with the thought of going to the gym. The main reason might be the repetitiveness of your workout routine. Varying things up is the key here because your body got used to the same workout intensity, a number of reps, series, and types of exercise.

But, both of these situations are completely normal because gym-goers have their peaks or their lows. When this happens, the most important thing is to not be discouraged and to push through it with the following tips.

Don’t let self-sabotage get in the way of achieving your goals

When people reach a plateau, they get easily discouraged by the lack of results. They think that any continuing efforts are a waste of time so they stop exercising. This is a typical example of self-sabotage. A change of attitude from negative to positive can stop you from giving up. Every process has its ups and downs, so does your fitness journey. 

You need to realize that this is just a phase, a temporary thing that will surely pass. Your body has just adapted to the same routine. Once you change a few things up, your body will react differently. Just fix your mindset, change it from negative to positive and push through this setback.

First, take one week off

When your body no longer responds positively to the amount of stress caused by exercise, it is time to take a break. Your body needs to rest and your muscles need to recover. You work your muscles during exercise, but they repair themselves and grow during recovery time. If you’ve been pushing yourself extra hard lately because of the lack of results, it is time to do the opposite. Overtraining is not the solution for busting out of fitness plateaus. Recovery is. 

At the same time, your mind can also use a week off to let go of stress caused by the lack of results. This seven-day break from exercising can only increase your exercise motivation. SO, once you observe the first signs of the plateau, schedule a seven-day break. Use this time to really relax, destress and get motivated again. 

In order to keep up with your newly founded motivation, aim to repeat this break every 6 to 8 weeks. By doing this you will gain benefits from giving your body the time to recover from strenuous exercise, your joints will recover too and your nervous system can use this time to relax. Moreover, you’ll have more energy in the long run for achieving your fitness goals because you will go hard after each of these breaks.

Plan your workouts dates in advance

Your workout dates are just as important as any other meetings you might have. They are high importance events and should be treated as such. Take a look at your week, include your responsibilities and find the time slots around them. If you can make it to the gym three times a week, make sure to not miss these dates. Respect the time needed to achieve a good workout and plan everything else according to your schedule. 

If your responsibilities throughout the day have changed and you can’t make it to your regular time slot, change it up. This can also be the reason why you got bored and lost motivation. So, change the time you go to the gym and engage your muscles during different times of the day. 

Reset your mental  approach to exercise

The reasons why people exercise vary from person to person. People who have been doing it a while now, say that it has become a regular part of their everyday routine. They feel like their bodies crave exercise just like food or anything else. So, exercise should never be seen as a chore. It isn’t torture as well even though it might seem at times of high-intensity workouts. 

Change your mindset and your body will follow as well. Exercise is something you enjoy and find exciting.  If you want to make it fun in the long run, avoid doing those exercises you’ve outgrown. Think of your exercises as a game you play every day to level-up and achieve more. This new mental approach to exercise will help shake off any exercise blues you might have. It will also help find new motivation to reach new fitness goals.

Challenge yourself with some new exercise goals

Exercise should never be boring if you know how to make it fun and challenging. The same exercises lead to the same results. After a while, the same exercise won’t lead to progress. Instead, you’ll hit a plateau.

Start by changing the intensity to make your muscles work harder. Pick the weight that allows you to do the exercise correctly while challenging your strength. In other words, it has to be comfortable but not too comfortable. Then, vary a number of reps per set. You can do drop sets during one workout session. Also, instead of three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions, try maximizing weight and going three sets of six repetitions. For the next one, try going maximum weight per rep and further test your limits.

Supersets can also challenge you and make a workout fun. If you combine supersets well, your muscles will surely grow.

Switch up your regular exercise routine with something new

Doing the same routine over and over can bore your muscles. Even when you switch things up with drop sets, supersets and maximum weight per rep, your body might need something else entirely. This means that you need to include a completely different type of exercise in your day. 

The easiest way to sneak in something different in your day is by riding a bike. You’ll engage in a cardio exercise and stimulate your muscles differently. This is also an ideal type of exercise when you skip your regular one. You can also commute by bike and reap the benefits of this daily form of exercise. An electric bicycle might come in handy during these times as it will assist you while you pedal. This might come in handy if you ride home after your typical exercise. You’ll save your strength and achieve the additional activity.

You can also join a group fitness class like pilates or functional training and explore the benefits of a group workout. Now only will you challenge your body differently, but you will also benefit from a team spirit. The competitive elements of working among a group of people can push you even further. Maybe this is just what you need to find new workout motivation and overcome workout boredom.

Take into account your other lifestyle habits

Finding the time and motivation to exercise are not the only things that will guarantee success and fitness goals. Other lifestyle factors like sleep and diet matter as well.


  • Sleep


Regular sleep is essential for muscle recovery. You won’t achieve your best results if you deprive your body of sleep. This is especially true if your workouts have been intense and strenuous. If you skimp on sleep and go hard the day after you’ll just be more tired and your muscles won’t read your exercise as they usually do. Make sure you prioritize proper rest especially after your workout days.


  • Diet


Improper diet can also ruin your efforts at the gym. Your muscles need protein to grow so your diet has to be rich in protein. You can add protein supplements to your daily routine to supplement them. However, you should also tailor your diet and incorporate protein-rich foods. Also, snacking away fast food can also stall your fitness goals. Be true to yourself and address your triggers. If a particularly stressful day at work is the reason why you order in, find a different way to cope. The fact that your workout regularly does not mean that you can eat junk and expect the best results. Just the opposite. So, make sure you eat nutritious meals rich in protein and you’ll see the results of your workouts in no time.


Workout plateaus are bound to happen for this reason or the other. But when it happens, you should acknowledge it, give yourself a short break and do things differently for the best fitness results.

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