These are quite common in most fitness pursuits sooner or later. Whether its weight and muscle gain, or strength at particular lifts- at some point our body seems to start fighting us and refuses to make anymore progress. You are training hard, working consistently, and doing all of the right things. What gives?
The more time at it, eventually most will overcome a plateau (be patient, remember, in the end of the day, this lifestyle is a marathon, NOT a sprint!)
Luckily, there is some stuff you can do to help overcome plateaus that occur in your fitness pursuits. Here are 2 key aspects that you can change or pay closer attention to in your attempt to continue moving forward.
If you’ve been training for about a year, this one of the first major holdbacks that will slow progress down. There is a chance you aren’t giving your body what it needs to recover (enough protein) or enough overall calories to grow or build more muscle. The easiest way to see if this is the issue is to track your overall calories and weight every day for a week. If at the end of the week, your weight hasn’t budged even a small amount, and all other variables (training, sleep, etc) are constant, you need to bump your calories. Now that you have your calories for the past week tracked, you can make a note to bump those calories higher for your next week. A safe 10% bump would be a great starting point, as we aren’t looking to get fat in the process! At the end of the next week, reassess. Has the scale moved at all? Have your workouts/lifts improved? You might need to bump the calories even more!
It’s easy to fall into the habit of doing the same series of workouts over and over again. Over time, your body will become more efficient at the exercises you are performing, and you won’t actually end up working as hard. At the end of the day, you need to change up your routine for a bit of time to give your body a new stimulus or “shock” to respond to. If you have been training very heavy in the 4-6 rep range for most exercises, try a few weeks in the 8-12 range. If you are in the 8-12 rep range, go heavy or vice versa. Try slightly tweaking the activity type as well- if you barbell bench press every chest workout, use dumbbell presses for the next 4-6 weeks. Variation is KEY to continue to push your body outside of its comfort zone. If you don’t continuously push out of that comfort zone, you cant expect to keep seeing results! It is generally recommended that you consistently change your routine every 4-8 weeks to keep your body on it’s toes for what is coming next. If you have been doing the same kind of workouts for the past 6 months, you are well past due!
Overcoming plateaus in fitness are always a challenge. But incorporating these changes will help speed up the process and keep you going in the right direction RYSE UP!