Dr O addresses plateauing, i.e. not seeing any more noticeable gains from your workout and how to overcome it.
Episode: Change Up Your Exercise Regimen
The following is a transcript from Dr Okojie’s Movement is Medicine podcast. Book your appointment with Doctor O today.
Welcome to another episode of the Movement is Medicine podcast with Doctor Okojie. I'm your host, Doctor O.
I wanted to speak briefly today about intensity with regard to physical activity and to exercise, and how we can potentially get past some of these common plateaus that a lot of people go through and experience when they're trying to lose weight or improve their body composition. I see it all the time with a lot of clients that I work with, and patients as well in my clinic, that they have an idea about what they want to do with regard to weight loss, or with regard to toning up their body, firming up certain areas of their body, and they start an exercise program, and they begin to work at it, they get their diet regimen down, they get their exercise regimen down, they're disciplined about it, and they see results.
And after a certain amount of time, whether it be a few months, a couple of weeks, even they'll hit a plateau. And typically, what people mean when they say plateau is: “I was losing weight, I was getting stronger, I was feeling better, inches were going down and I'm doing the same workout and I can't do it anymore”. So, then that's when they try to change things up. And oftentimes, they'll go from one three-month particular type of exercise regimen, and then switch to another three-month exercise regimen and see if that can improve some of the issues that they're trying to work on.
But what I want to posit today is that rather than switching from one program to another. after you've established a regimen and after you're familiar you familiarize yourself with exercise and working out, rather than switching to another three-month plan or another six-week plan, just change the intensity. Ask yourself this question, when was the last time you just went to a track and just ran as fast as you can literally just sprinted as much as you could sprint it so much sweat the next day, you know, your biceps are hurting because you're folding your arms back and forth, your quads were hurting, your back was hurting, your butt was hurting?
I think that that's something that we often lose in the exercise world, especially for people who are not professional fitness folks, people who just want to lose weight and feel better. We're very much accustomed to the Monday, Wednesday, Friday, three sets of 10 you know, increasing the weight by a certain amount, incremental regimented type of workout, which is great, and it's highly effective. And I know probably many of you have done this type of workout and seeing great results. But especially in the cases where you experience a plateau rather than shifting the entire workout regimen, just increase the intensity. There's been so much research done on high intensity interval training and just increasing the intensity of the workout how it allows you to continue to burn fat post workout, it's very effective in muscle gain with regard to the time spent working out that's greatly reduced if you're doing high intensity workouts.
But during the COVID pandemic, I see a lot on social media people selling their workout plans their six, three to 12 months your workout plans which are great, which again, which can be very highly effective. But if you hit that plateau and you want something different rather than search for a brand-new plan, rather than buy hundreds or thousands of dollars’ worth of weights or bands, just increase the intensity of what you're doing. You've been working out you have the equipment at home already, just turn it up. And you know, maybe you do jump rope. So instead of doing your five sets of one minute jump rope, you do two sets of jump rope but you just go as fast as you can forget about the numbers, forget about counting, forget about rest time, just exert yourself, get your get your body to a place that it hasn't been to for a while.
I mean, I know people who are really highly trained and skilled in a variety of arts and disciplines and exercise regimens, but they haven't sprinted, they haven't jogged backwards up a hill, they haven't crawled you know for 400 meters do something different, do something that pushes yourself and your body will have to adapt. That's the beautiful thing about the human body. Once you give it a different type of stimulus, it will adapt and the stimulus doesn't need to be a brand-new exercise regimen, the stimulus could just be increasing the intensity of what you're already doing.
And we can see this translate in so many different ways. I mean, if you look at someone who eats a particular type of diet all the time, they get bored with it and they want something different. So maybe you add a different spice to what you're eating, maybe you add a different flavor to what you're drinking, and it creates a new stimulus. So, the body acts and reacts in a very similar way. A goal a challenge for the next month or two if you've hit a plateau if you're looking for something different, don't look, just increase the intensity of what you're doing and see if it can garner some good benefit and it's great because this high-intensity type of training, it's not sustainable. You don't want to do it all the time.
So built into this there's already variety because after you know a few weeks of doing super high-intensity work, you're going to want to switch it up because the body needs time to heal and break down so you can do something less intense for X amount of weeks or months and then go back to it so there's already a built in variety there's already built in a ways to adjust the workout just by the nature of it so give it a try and see if you can get some benefit.
I appreciate everybody listening to the podcast. This has been another episode of the Movement is Medicine podcast with Doctor Okojie, visit us at okojiewellness.com or check us out at @therealmovementismedicine. Until next time!