Unlace your running shoes and slip on the disco skates. Stop climbing the Step Mill and hike the biggest hills in your 'hood. Get creative: If you've hit a common-but-frustrating exercise plateau,
several things may be preventing you from getting past it. For instance, if you're bored with your traditional treadmill fix or not getting new body-sculpting results
, it's time to revamp ho-hum routines to help you burn more fat, sculpt leaner muscles and kickstart motivation.
"If you've hit a wall, you need an exercise makeover in order to vary your workouts and push them to the next level," said fitness expert Tracey Mallett,
star of the new DVD series "Lose the Belly Flab
." Every strategy comes down to this: Try something new!
All you'll need to master our two-week makeover is a pair of 3- to 8-pound dumbbells and a commitment to five weekly workouts!
Each Week, pick one innovative new-to-you workout from this Rut-Busting List:
Rent or buy a new kickboxing DVD
that makes you pant with exertion.
Take a Pilates or Bar Method Class you've never taken before.
Rent or borrow inline skates and skate a new neighborhood for an hour.
Rent or borrow a mountain bike
and spend two hours on a mountain or hilly trail.
Rent one session with a personal trainer and ask her to show you 10 new exercises for your entire body!
Pick two different fat-torching workouts from this Steady Cardio List:
50 to 60 minutes of swimming, walking, hiking
or stationary biking.
30 minutes of high-intensity running at a fast pace or Spinning class
40 minutes of elliptical machine, cross-country ski machine or rower.
Finally, pick two weekly workouts from this Strength and Conditioning list:
A 90-minute power yoga class
or fat-flowing yoga DVD.
30 minutes of weighted moves, including squats,
lunges, push-ups, triceps dips and ab crunches.
Do a 12-machine cardio-sculpt Circuit at any gym moving from an upper-body move to a lower-body one.
Mallett said to choose the rut-busting workout when you're liable to skip a routine due to boredom or time constraints. "Also, try to space out the most intense workouts so you have a lower impact -- say walking or swimming routine -- sandwiched in between the toughest workouts," she said. "More than anything, try something new to you and your muscles and you will see and feel real results very quickly!"
One sample week looks like this:
- Monday: Rent a new kickboxing DVD
- Tuesday: 50 minutes of swimming laps at the rec center
- Wednesday: Off
- Thursday: 30 minutes of weighted strength exercises (squats, lunges, rows, biceps curls, etc.)
- Friday : 30 minutes of high-intensity running
- Saturday: Off
- Sunday: Take that Bikram yoga class you've been dying to try!
We've updated our workouts to include so many newfangled, plateau-busting routines!
Fitness expert Nicole Dorsey Straff is a Los Angeles-based exercise physiologist and author, and frequently writes about diet, health and wellness.