Joining a class with friends is a surefire way to burst through a fitness plateau.

Losing Motivation to Exercise? Here’s How to Reboot

If your fitness routine isn’t paying off like it once did in lost pounds or increased stamina, it may be that you’ve hit what experts call a plateau. This is the point in a weight loss or fitness program where the needle on the scale refuses to budge, and you’re just as out of breath every time you climb that hill. Unfortunately the only way out of a plateau is to break through it, which means amping up your routine enough to start making a difference again. Here are some ways to do this that really work.

1. Increase Your Cardio

If your regular routine is a 40-minute walk, try increasing your pace, adding some hills, or breaking into a run every few minutes. If you’re a runner, add some tempo runs or interval training to increase strength and stamina. Another quick cardio pick-up is jumping rope – here’s how to make it part of your fitness routine. If cycling is your sport, pick up the pace, try a hillier ride, or push yourself by avoiding the lower gears. Get the picture? No matter what type sport or activity is your fitness favorite, there are easy ways to take it to the next level.

2. Add Strength Training to Your Routine

No matter how hard you train, cardio alone is unlikely to get you to your goal. Building muscle requires strength training. And building muscle is the secret to sustained weight loss and increasing stamina. Gym equipment is designed for strength training, of course, but you can also work out at home with weights and resistance bands. Aim for at least two weekly workouts and a routine that works all major muscle groups.  If you’re already strength training, boost the intensity of your routine with additional weights, more reps, or by adding some new exercises to your routine. Aim for at least two weekly workouts, and gradually increase the resistance to challenge your muscles.

 3. Try a New Sport or Activity

One surefire way to get stuck in a rut is to do the same thing over and over. Get on a bike instead of a treadmill or substitute Zumba another type of dance for your usual yoga session, and you’re sure to see results. Don’t be afraid to experiment! Sign up for beginning tennis lessons or a ballroom dance class at your local community center and you might just discover a new passion. And don’t be afraid to make it fun – roller skating is a great workout!

4. Take Advantage of Social Support

There’s power in peer pressure, at least when it comes to exercise. Walk with a friend and you’ll walk further because you’re too busy talking to notice it’s time to stop. Join a Pilates class instead of doing your mat routine at home and you’ll push yourself because you don’t want others to see you quit. One of the best ways to make sure your a new high-wattage workout sticks: Recruit a few friends to take a weekly class. Whether it’s spin, hip-hop, or hula, you won’t want to miss out if you’re having fun with your pals.

Melanie Haiken writes about health, wellness and fitness for national magazines and websites. She specializes in discovering and reporting the latest research on diet, nutrition, fitness, weight loss and other health-related topics. Her award-winning stories have appeared in Fitness, Shape, Health, Forbes, and other respected magazines. She also contributes health stories to numerous Kaiser Permanente newsletters and other publications.