That time when you did a thousand sit-ups everyday for a month and you didn’t get a six pack…
It’s called a fitness plateau when you are doing the same amount of work but are no longer seeing results; your body has adapted to your fitness and diet routine. It can be frustrating and discouraging but can also be overcome. Currently I am struggling with making squatting gains, I have been using the same amount of weight for about a month and just can’t seem to lift anymore. I figured if it happening to me, it must happen to other people as well.
What I learned is the best way to start mastering your plateau is to surprise your body, change up your routine in a way that will challenge your body in a new way forcing it to work harder. There are two areas that you can challenge to push your body to move past the plateau and to start seeing results and gains again: Fitness and Diet
My biggest problem is I get stuck in a fitness rut. For example, when its lower body day I have a set routine that takes me about an hour and a half, offering little room for change. For day to day workouts there are a few things that you can do to challenge your rut:
- Less rest time between sets. Giving you muscles less time to restore themselves and breathe will cause greater muscle breakage.
- Isometric holds. Hold the weight for about thirty seconds at the peak of the rep. For example, hold the squat position for a time period before you go back up. Muscles are the weakest when at the shortest or longest point and therefore will stregthen faster when forced to hold the weight for longer.
- One more rep: When you think you can’t lift anymore, do one more. The last few reps are when the muscles breaks down the most.
- Switch it up. Add a variety of workouts to your routine. If you always are at the gym lifting weights, try a cross-fit class. Does your cardio consist of a thirty minute treadmill run? Try out a spin class to increase calorie burn and up your heart rate. Yoga is always a great addition as well to increase flexibility.
Often times when your eating clean and healthy you don’t realize that eating a set meal plan or the same foods can cause a diet plateau which can affect your your muscle gains as well. Again, surprising your body with a switch up is the most beneficial way to break the plateau. The best way to do this is include a cheat meal once a week to make your body work harder at breaking down the extra fat, sugar, and calories. If this doesn’t work for you, you could try changing your calorie intake in longer time periods. For example up the calories for two weeks (not with cheat meals, but with more of your regular meal plan) and then lower it back down for two weeks. This keeps your body on its toes.
Have you overcome a fitness plateau? Share you success story in the comments!