Have you ever felt that your workouts are just not doing anything for you anymore? You aren’t losing the weight you want or gaining the muscle? This is because you have hit a wall, or the exercise plateau. Hopefully this can help you in breaking through that wall and continue to lose weight and accomplish your goals.
Plateauing is something that is natural. It is not because you are doing something wrong. It is your bodies natural to hit a plateau because the body is trying to regulate itself. When you plateau, your body has finally become used to the workout routine you are doing and has mastered it. Once your body is used to it, it is not going to give you the same results as it did when it was not used to the workouts.
How Do I Avoid Hitting A Plateau?
The most important thing you need to know when trying to avoid hitting a plateau is to always mix up your workouts. Always keep your body guessing what is coming next. If you are always lifting weights, add in some cardio. If you have the same routine every day, change the routine a little.
This idea of keeping your body guessing is why many workout programs are broken into stages. They have a Foundation Phase which builds your base fitness. Then you move into an Adaptive Phase where you master the movements. After this phase, there is a Growth Phase. Once your have mastered the workout you make accelerated progress. Lastly, there is a Recovery Phase where you back off a little and allow your body to recover from the stress of the previous phase.
Plateauing is going to happen when you spend too much time in one phase or you are not pushing yourself hard enough.
- Back Off: the most common reason for plateauing is overtraining. The Recovery Phase is built in because, if it is time for your recovery phase or not, when you over train you need to back off (this doesn’t mean to stop exercising completely, it means to lower the intensity of your workouts to promote recovery).
- Plateauing also happens when you are bored, preoccupied, or not working as hard as you could be. The easiest way to change this is to add resistance; bands or weights that increase the intensity of your workouts. This should force your body to adapt and you are back into a new phase. You will know if this is the right tactic because you will either respond and feel energized or you will hardly be able to finish the workout (if this is the case try backing off a little).
- Streamline you diet. Try to stop giving yourself all the little “rewards” for a job well done. Instead, try eating ultra strict for a week and see what happens.
- Add a little cardio in the mornings (20 minutes or easy to moderate cardio). This will boost your metabolism. If you do it on an empty stomach, you get the added benefit of training your body more efficiently a it uses stored fat for fuel.
- Add or Subtract a few hundred calories each day. You might have miscalculated your caloric intake, which is common as your body composition changes and you get into shape. And yes, you might need to add calories. Click here to read my blog about how adding calories can help you lose weight.