Overcoming a Fitness Plateau

Group of multi-ethnic young adults starting a race on the beach

Hitting a fitness brick wall can be frustrating. When that happens, it’s time to take your workout to the next level. 

Get F.I.T.T.

Following the F.I.T.T. (Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type) principle of exercise can help you overcome a lull in your physical activity routine.

The first step is to find out the target heart-rate range for your age.  Be sure you stay in this range most of the time during your workouts.  As you get into better shape, you’ll have to continue increasing your intensity to get into the appropriate target heart-rate range. 

  • Frequency (how often): 3-5 days a week.
  • Intensity (how hard): 64-76% of heart rate max for moderate-intensity activity and 77-93% of heart rate max for vigorous-intensity activity, or within the target heart rate range for your age.
  • Time (how long): 20-60 min/session; 150 min/week of moderate-intensity activity or 75 min/week of vigorous-intensity activity.
  • Type (what exercises): walking, jogging, running, biking, swimming, etc. 

Change it up

Beyond F.I.T.T., simply adding variety to your workout will help you overcome being stuck.  If you’ve been walking for weeks or months on end, why not try jogging?

Aerobic activities should always make up the biggest chunk of your workout, but you should also include muscle-strengthening activities, such as working out with weights or resistance bands.

Cross training, which means doing a variety of different exercises or activities, is another good way to keep exercise boredom at bay. For example, you may want to alternate between walking, swimming and strength training. Cross training also reduces the risk of injuring or overusing one specific muscle or joint.