Posted on July 07 2015
What is a plateau and why do they occur?
As defined, a plateau is “a state of little or no change following a period of activity or progress,” and they occur simply because our bodies have the amazing ability to adapt to the stress and change that we put it through. When we workout, we are placing stress on our bodies. Have you ever noticed that a new routine or form of exercise leaves you extra sore the next day? I would consider myself well conditioned and athletically advanced, but I know that if I go kayaking or paddle boarding for the fist time all year, my body will be sore regardless of how much I lift during my weekly workouts.
Nutrition is an area that people often plateau in at around the 3-month mark of their fitness journey. They begin losing weight eating a certain amount of calories and following a certain nutritional breakdown, but once they begin to put on muscle, which requires extra calories and energy to maintain, they see a decline in their progress if they’re still consuming the same nutritional values each day. Have you ever noticed your hunger increase when you begin a workout program? Your body is not only burning extra calories during your workouts, but it also requires extra nutrition throughout the day to build and maintain the muscle you’re putting on.
So how do people who have been training for years continue see results and changes in their bodies?
Here are my 3 tips to incorporate into your routines to fight the motivation-crushing plateau:
- Spice up your workout!
Even if you don’t have new workouts to do everyday, there are ways to take a workout routine that you feel comfortable with and tweak it until it is brand new. My workouts are never the same. I am constantly changing it up so that I’m constantly shocking my body during every workout.
- Incorporate new exercises – The beauty of social media is that you can find new workouts and training methods on almost every page. Incorporate some new moves into your workout!
- Change the order that you do each exercise in – If it’s an old routine that you feel comfortable with, go backwards and see how that little change shocks your body!
- Increase the resistance and decrease the number of reps – This type of training is used for muscle growth and strength.
- Decrease the amount of resistance while increasing the number of reps – Test your endurance by increasing the number of reps you do!
- Do burnouts – This involves repeating the exercise with proper form until failure.
- Try circuit training – Circuit training involves 3 or more exercises that are repeated one right after the other with little to no rest in between. It is the preferred form of training in the F+T program and is an efficient way to get a lot out of your workout.
- Change up your workout method once a week!
If you typically train in a gym 5 days a week and you feel like you’re hitting a plateau, it might be time to step outside for a training session! Ride a bike, go run some sprints, or play a game of soccer with your friends. These are stress-reducing ways to burn calories and keep your body guessing!
- Incorporate some new equipment!
Try performing your workout routine on a Bosu ball, grabbing a weighted medicine ball, or trying some resistance bands. One of the drawbacks of training on machines is that they don’t require the use of your stabilizer muscles. In addition, they only focus on your larger prime muscle groups. Mixing in free weights, bands, balls, and steps require you to maintain balance and stabilization, which contributes to increased muscular control and strength.