4 Ways to Bust a Workout Plateau

My HiiT Quickie Workouts provide plenty of variety, intensity, and full-body exercises, but any workout can get old, and at some point you might feel like you’re not seeing as much progress as you were before.

Welcome to Plateau, the land of frustration.

original weight

First off, let me tell you that I don’t see a plateau as a bad thing. I know, living in the cornfields for too long has made me lose my mind, it’s true, but stay with me here….

You began an exercise routine. You cleaned up your diet. (You cleaned up your diet, right?) You lost some weight, you built some muscle, you feel stronger, you look stronger. BOOM.

:::bicep flex::: Kiss, Kiss. Which way to the gun show, bitches?

So you kept going.
And life was good.
And suddenly… one day…. the workout didn’t seem so challenging.

And that was exciting!

But soon after came….  stagnation.

The weight isn’t coming off as quickly. You’ve got muscle but you don’t seem to be getting bigger or stronger. You’re not getting your ass kicked by every single workout.

Fun fact: I’m there. Right now.

And it’s tempting to get frustrated and wonder why you’re doing this to yourself if you’re not seeing progress. But wait! You DID progress! Your endurance and strength improved. Your body changed. 

And now your body is all like, “We got this, yo. Come AT me, bro.” And now, your lovely new muscles are kicking back, hanging out, preening, taking selfies, and being all nonchalant n’shit.

Time to up the awesome, y’all. Time to change it up. Time to raise an eyebrow at complacency and plan a sneak attack on stagnation.

Time to catch the first ride outta Plateau.

A plateau simply means you gotta shake things up.

Just like your relationships get all routine and predictable and severely lacking in weak-in-the-knees-swooning, you gotta get creative to keep the love alive.


I can’t help you in the romance department. But I got you in the fitness department, bitches.

Have you been giving it all you got? I mean, really giving it all you got? At your peak of intensity, you should be reaching an 8 or 9 on the Rate of Perceived Exertion scale (of 1-10, 1 being zzzzzz-easy).

An intensity of 8 or 9 means you are uncomfortable, you can’t talk, and you wish it would stop. As in, “10 seconds never felt so long” kind of intensity. 

My Quickie Workouts are designed to be 5 exercises, 3 rounds, 50 seconds on, 10 seconds rest, but you can hack those suckers.

* Throw in a 50-second sprint after every exercise.
* Run up and down your staircase for a 6th interval.
* Increase the amount of weight you’re using.
* Increase the work portion to up to 2 minutes, increase the rest portion to 20-30 seconds, and do the Quickie only 2x through.


Have you been doing some modified versions of the exercises? Maybe you’re ready to do more advanced variations! Maybe you can do them faster. Maybe you can add resistance.

* Rather than regular push-ups, do inverted push-ups or plyo push-ups.
* Wear a weighted vest, ankle weights, or wrist weights.
* Squat lower, add plyometrics, change your stance or arm position to something you don’t normally do.
* If you always do HiiT, work in yoga, straight-out weight lifting, or go for a run.


I can’t stress enough how important rest and recovery is, especially if your workouts are high-intensity. It’s during the rest and recovery that your muscles repair and rebuild. That’s when the magic happens, gahdammit.

If you’re repeatedly pounding your body and exhausting your muscles, how do you expect them to grow?

I take two days off every week, sometimes three. Because of my work schedule, Fridays are always a rest day, and often Saturday AND Sunday. (Yes, way.) You know what happens when I come back on Monday?

I kick some serious ass in the gym. 

I’m rested, I’m not sore, I’m not fatigued, and I kill my workout. RAWR.

Those people at my gym who exercise twice a day and never rest? They often exhibit the same symptoms of those who don’t train enough. They’re tired, and they aren’t seeing much progress.

And you know what else? They look tired. Not exactly what we’re going for, is it.

Get some damn rest.

sleepAlso, if you’ve been working out for months on end? Take a week off. Seriously. Take an entire week off. If you just can’t fathom a week without exercise, then do something radically different but low-intensity. Long walks. Stretching. Leisurely bike rides or hikes. A swim. Hooping.

Come back better than ever.


Get enough protein to support your level of training. (.6g/lb up to 1.0g/lb of bodyweight)
Get enough water to support bodily functions.
Cut the crap.

Unless you’re one of the select few who truly have their diet dialed in, you could improve on it in some way. My #1 suggestion would be to cut down (or eliminate) added sugars. That includes simple carbs like breads, pastas, rice, cereals and crackers. That also includes your beloved protein shake or bar, especially if you’re consuming more than 1 per day and/or your training isn’t intense enough to require added protein. Read labels. Aim for 9g of sugar or less per serving.

Maybe dairy bloats you but you don’t realize it because you’ve never eliminated it long enough to find out.
Maybe you’re so panicked about losing weight that you don’t get enough calories.
Maybe the food you eat isn’t providing the nutrients you need.

If you expect your body to perform, you need to take good care of it. No, you cannot out-exercise a bad diet. No, “I exercise so I can eat whatever I want” doesn’t fly either. You can do that, sure. But then adjust your expectations.


All that said……


Please know that you don’t have to do any of these things. I have no expectations of what someone should or should not aspire to when it comes to fitness. I do care, however, that you feel successful and satisfied and healthy and well. I want you to be your own kind of fit – whatever that means to you.

Notice I tell you to hack my workouts. Even stop doing them for a while to break your plateau. That’s because I want YOU to do what’s best for YOU. My workouts are one option. There are many others.

Maybe not as awesome, but whatever. 😉

If you are feeling frustrated, these hacks might be just the change you need to fall in love with working out again and see the progress you’re looking for.

And if this isn’t ringing true for you, I’m happy to help in any way I can. HiiT me up and let’s chat!



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