Plateaus Help to Gauge your Progress.
Over time, as your body adapts to the intensity and energy required to get through your exercise routine, you may arrive at a state of "Plateau". To Plateau means: You have become efficient at getting through your routine, "efficient" meaning that your body will begin to burn less calories when you do the same activities. You have become stronger and fitter, thus, running 2-miles or, climbing 3-flights of stairs, is not as difficult as it was in the past. The only way to move beyond this plateau would be to change you workout, the intensity, time, or the routine itself.
Plateaus indicate progress ...a milestone!
How to continue making progress:
Intensity: Is how hard you workout. Changing the intensity is simple. Instead of running level on the treadmill, you might try setting it to an incline. However, if you do not feel ready for this, consider running a faster mile.
If your pace is a 9-minute mile, try your best to improve it. This way you will be able to run longer than a mile in 9-minutes and burn more calories. Note however, that running a faster mile alone may not increase your calorie expenditure.
Time: Is how long you work out. You can break your body’s improved efficiency by cycling longer. Instead of cycling for 1-mile, consider gradually increasing your endurance by adding an additional half-mile, or perhaps a mile every week. The time you add would be dependent on the amount of time you can dedicate to your workout. Add what you are comfortable with. For you it may be ½ a mile; for others it may be 1.5 miles. Either way, in time, you should see positive change.
A Goal Achieved!
Be happy and try to view each plateau as a goal achieved! With this in mind, you should not try to prevent the plateau as it helps to gauge your progress. The key is to know when you have arrived at a plateau, and how best to move beyond it.
You've achieved a goal!
IMPORTANT: Dependent upon the frequency/amount of days you workout, the type, order, and intensity of your workout; you may need to change your routine every 4-6 weeks or so. If you are performing your workouts correctly, your body naturally gets used to what you’ve been doing, and eventually will not be (as) effective in meeting your goals, if it doesn't change.
Oftentimes, what’s needed is as simple as changing the order of your workout, as well as using different machines and weights.
SUGGESTION: If you find that you’re having a difficult time giving up a routine; get rid of it all together!!! You’ve gotten so used to it that your mind and body fear the unknown, and the work you’ll have to put into something new. Keep in mind that when you do not change your routine as needed, you might find your workouts boring. "Boring" combined with a lack of additional progress due to a plateau, will almost definitely make you stop working out altogether. We do not want that! Fear not - choose to renew your goals, change your routine and start fresh! ~SG
Merriam Webster Dictionary: Definition of "Plateau"