There are no shortcuts on your fitness journey. You can’t simply reach a goal out of sheer will and will alone. While mentality is great and gets you in the gym, real success and visible results rely on hard and often gruelling work. Like most things in life, willpower must be paired with focus, determination and most importantly, commitment. Even when the going gets tough.
But let’s say you've been focused, you’ve been determined and committed, and now you’re in a position of stagnation. You feel the same, the numbers don't seem to be changing even though you’re working just as hard if not harder than in the beginning. It’s frustrating and that can make it mentally difficult to remain consistent. You might be wondering whether it’s even worth it if you’re not seeing improvements…
The short answer? DO NOT GIVE UP!
You hitting a slump in your fitness journey is not an indication that you’re going backwards. We tend to see it like this because workout journeys begin with big successes, whether that be losing a few pounds in just two weeks or being able to run 30 minutes instead of the usual 10. These are wins and big wins if you’re new to the exercise world, so definitely pat yourself on the back and celebrate them for what they are. It is important to remember however, especially when these big wins seem to dwindle, that they were significant because you were new. If you’ve never ran on a treadmill before, a success could simply getting on the treadmill. This doesn’t make it any less of an achievement but it may appear that way because, inside your head, the goal has been reached and you’ve moved on.
Okay so, you’ve moved on. You are at a different place and you’ve worked hard to get here. It wouldn’t be fair to measure your progress now to your progress then. We got that? Good.
But that still might not calm your mind. Hitting a wall is both emotionally deflating and physically draining. You might feel more fatigued than usual, less inclined to make the trip to the gym. Perhaps you were ill for a little while and now getting back on the gym floor seems like a monumental task. We’ve all been there. In terms of short term solutions, the best thing to do (ironically) is actually step back from your usual routine. If you’re used to lifting a certain weight for example, go for one that is lighter to mix up on your reps. Not only does this allow a bit of variety within your usual set, it also allows you to try different exercises that might be less familiar or which you generally avoid. Remember that mentality of being a beginner? A new exercise could give you the big wins you need to feel revitalised. If you’re not sure what to try then it may be time to consider incorporating a Personal Trainer. PTs can vary in their specialisms but at Village we take the time to match you up with a trainer best suited to your goals. Could be just the thing for smashing through that wall.
Alternatively, perhaps one or two new exercises isn’t enough of a challenge. Perhaps it feels like you’ve tried mixing things up and you’re still stuck at a wall. In this case, maybe you need to move away from the gym floor and spice it up with a class.
Now your options really are varied and the choice can seem overwhelming. Best thing to do is to think of your current long term goal (e.g. couch to 5K, toning up, etc) and then switch out one of your gym sessions for a lead workout, in person or virtual (again, you’ve got options here!) Are you a big fan of those immersive rides at theme parks? Les Mills THE TRIP could be just the thing. Imagine entering high techno worlds, the future of ‘exertainment’ (exercise - entertainment) all from a static spin class. Pretty neat. Or maybe, you want to incorporate an entirely new skill? In which case, our Boxercise class is a great way to add a little 'punch'.
The most important thing to remember when you meet your own wall is that you’re not alone. Everyone will eventually meet it and it will often pop up a few times within your fitness journey. The main thing is that you meet it head on and recognise the feelings it may provoke. Are you disappointed? Frustrated? Shamed? Consider where these reactions emanate, consider whether these emotions are conducive to your own improvement. Likelihood is they aren’t. These barriers must be met with more than willpower. They must be met with focus, determination, commitment, and adaptability.
If you can’t go over it, and you can’t go under it, then it’s time to blast through it! Break down the wall!