Has it been two long months of clean eating and regular workout dates with your trainer, yet your results are nowhere to be found? You are not alone. Fitness plateaus are tough to understand, however possible to overcome. So if you’re doing everything you should be doing and no longer seeing results, then check out this advice from exercise coach and author Shirley Archer and get ready to transform!

#1 Workout More Efficiently

Going to the gym a few times a week is not enough unless you are truly maximizing the time you spend there. First and foremost, intensity is everything. I always talk to my clients during our sweat sessions. Partially because I am a “Chatty Cathy,” and mainly because the functional information revealed is crucial.

Talking while sweating is the best way to secretly monitor your intensity. If you can carry a full on conversation during your workout, then the intensity is not high enough. So run your mouth during your next run and aim for 3-5 words per breath. In addition to this Archer suggests, “adding intervals where you work harder than you think you can for short bursts such as 30 seconds or even one minute, followed by a moderate recovery phase-repeating that multiple times.”

#2 Weights Heavier Than Your Purse Only

In regard to strength training, lifting weight lighter than your purse ladies is pointless. I mean if you can toss your new designer satchel from shoulder to shoulder with ease then why would you expect those 3lb weights to reap results?

According to Archer, “the weight that you lift should be heavy enough that you are tired by eight repetitions and that you cannot perform more than 15 with adequate form.” Muscles have to be challenged in order to be changed, so grab those 10lb dumbbells already!

#3 Abs Are Made In The Kitchen

Seriously. Results are the “result” of 20 percent exercise, 80 percent diet and 100 percent commitment. So with that said, Archer recommends checking in with all the “many apps created to help you journal and monitor your diet.” Also, having a nutritional analysis done can help make sure you’re eating the right balance of carbs, proteins and fats. All of these things are an important part of a healthy diet so be sure to “fuel” your results properly.

#4 Relax And Unwind

For sleep and stress management make sure you are getting 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night. Typically, more is better. And, make sure that you manage stress through learning relaxation techniques. “Yoga or meditation can be very helpful” when it comes to unwinding after long stressful days says Archer. High stress means high cortisol levels, and this “highness” dear princess’ and princes will keep your body holding on to unwanted fat. In addition to this, cortisol breaks down hard earned muscle mass, so reducing stress is an important part of effective weight training too.

#5 Examine Your Self Talk

Up your self love. “Do you beat yourself up when you don’t think you’re doing enough or do you praise yourself for making an effort to do the right things for your health?” Archer asks. Not paying attention to these two things can be the missing link between your current state and your desired state. Even if the results are not instant, keeping a positive attitude is very important.

Reward yourself for any job well done, because showing up and making an effort (any effort) is important. “You are awesome. Believe it. Trust yourself and keep on trying.” Add these encouraging words from Archer to your FitSpiration notebook and watch “success” make an everlasting imprint on your life.

Shirley Archer is the author of The Strength & Toning Deck andFitness 9 to 5 (available as an iTunes app) and co-author ofWeight Training for Dummies®



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